It’s been six months since the federal government banned Twitter from operating in Nigeria, which happened two days later on December 5.
Although the federal government claimed last week that Twitter had fulfilled all its requirements before it resumed operations in Nigeria, Nigerians are concerned that the ban has not been lifted.
Recall that after the social media giant deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s post on the grounds of “violating the company’s abuse policy”, the federal government announced the suspension of the country on June 4 Twitter operations.
On June 5th, when Nigerians woke up to find that Twitter on all platforms had been shut down, the telecommunications company implemented a suspension.
But in a speech to mark the anniversary of Independence Day on October 1, President Muhammadu Buhari sounded as if all outstanding issues had been resolved, and if the organization met the government’s conditions, the suspension would be lifted. Many headlines mislead readers into believing that the lifting of the ban will take effect immediately. But about 64 days after Buhari’s statement on October 1, Twitter was still banned, and costs were spiraling upward.
Affected companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and governments at all levels have felt the pain of the ban. When the economy is hit, they continue to bear the brunt. It also brought unspeakable suffering to Nigerians, especially those in online communities.
According to NetBlocks, a regulatory agency that monitors network security and Internet governance, the suspension caused losses of US$250,000 (102.5 million South African Rand) per hour to Nigeria, bringing daily losses to 2.46 billion South African Rand. What remains unchanged is that this means that in the last six months of the ban, the economy may have lost approximately 447 billion naira due to the suspension.
On November 28, Festus Keyamo, Minister of State for Labor and Employment, stated that Twitter had agreed to lift all conditions of the suspension.
Keyamo, a member of the committee set up to deal with Twitter’s suspension, said that Twitter has “agreed to all conditions.”
“The reason the president took this step was to re-adjust our relationship with Twitter, not to drive them out of our country. Re-calibration, we have started, and the president generously added me to the committee,” he said.
The Guardian’s survey shows that most Nigerians, especially those who run the business through the Weibo platform, have switched to using platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Telegram for transactions.
At the FG’s Twitter conference, Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of the Association of Chartered Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said, “We don’t understand the understanding between the parties, but it is said that such an agreement may not be plugged and play.”
Adebayor said that Alton hopes that the parties will reach an agreement as soon as possible to minimize the economic losses to users and the reputation and social impact of the Nigeria ban.
“The longer the time, the more we lose because Nigerian users feel more impact than the traffic and revenue losses experienced by Twitter as a provider,” he emphasized.
From his point of view, Olusola Teniola, Coordinator of the Affordable Internet Alliance (A4AI) in Nigeria, said: “I think the problem may be with the timeline of when Twitter will exist in the country and how the tax may still be approved. This is now It may allow FG to reach out to Twitter and make them satisfied with the favorable business environment that the government is concerned about.”