By Myke Uzendu, Abuja
Netblocks, a site which estimates the economic impact of a single hypothetical internet disruption of the specified type, location and duration has reported that Nigeria loses an estimated $6,014,390 (N2,177,089,051) every day that Twitter is shutdown in the country.
Nigerian government had suspended the US based microblogging site, Twitter, accusing it of working against Nigeria’s interest.
The social media company attracted the wrath of federal government when it deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari, reminding indigenes of South East of the horrors of civil war following series of vandalisation of public infrastructure, burning of police stations, courts, separatist agitations and senseless killings that had been going on in the region recently.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, citing the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
The Minister said the Federal Government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.
Tweeter had described the reaction of the federal government to its action as shocking.
In a statement, Twitter said: “Today, the 4th of June 2021, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced its suspension of Twitter operations, that the application can be used as a platform for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
“Many Nigerians read the announcement of the ban on Twitter as a reflection of the importance of the platform and other digital (social media) platforms to Nigerians in accessing information and disseminating the same.
“The directive by the Nigerian government is at its core, an abuse of the rights of Nigerians not just to freedom of expression, but many other rights guaranteed in the Nigerian 1999 Constitution (as amended), the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This suspension, which is a reaction of the Nigerian government to the company’s enforcement of its platform rules, is aimed at insulating the government from criticism, especially by Nigeria’s youth who are over 70% of the country’s population.
“It must be noted that Nigeria’s President has notably been insulated from every form of public accountability. He is perhaps the only president since the country’s return to democracy in 1999 who never grants live interviews or holds media chats. This move is therefore aimed at making him unaccountable to the people of Nigeria who constantly take to social media platforms to share their views on the actions and policies of the government.
“It is evident that shutting down Twitter is illegal and illegitimate policies such as this are unacceptable!
“A 2016 United Nations resolution affirms that the rights that citizens have offline must apply online. Coincidentally, this resolution was co-sponsored by Nigeria with others. We urge the Nigerian authorities to respect and enforce citizens’ fundamental rights as provided for by the Nigerian constitution and International human rights treaties that Nigeria is a party to.
“We will further contact the Ministry of Information to get exact details of this announcement, and the legal framework that supports such undemocratic pronouncement.
“We advise all users of twitter and other social media platforms in Nigeria to download virtual private networks (VPNs) to enable them continue to use the platforms for their economic survival and social and political engagements while we all push back on this draconian order by the Nigerian government.”
The Government of the United States has condemned the ban on Twitter by the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government of Nigeria, describing the move as sending a negative signal to both Citizens and investors.
The US Mission in Nigeria stated that the Nigerian constitution provides for freedom of information.
Twitter is a social media site, and its primary purpose is to connect people and allow people to share their thoughts with a big audience.
The Twitter platform allows the famous users to get information to fans in an efficient manner. It is also a fantastic way of promoting events, new releases, or even interviews that are available online. Once a piece of information is published on Twitter it is then available for millions of people to see.