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Two months after Twitter blackout, Nigerians lose N150bn


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BUSINESS enterprises in Nigeria are estimated to have lost N150.5 billion, since the Federal Government’s ban on Twitter took effect in the country on June 5.

The loss in revenue was arrived at, using NetBlocks Cost of Shutdown Tool which measures the economic impact of an internet disruption in a country, based on indicators from the World Bank, International Telecommunication Union, Eurostat and US Census.


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According to the tool, Nigeria’s economy loses N102.7 million per hour to the Twitter ban, which translates to an N150.5 billion revenue loss within 61 days, since the ban was announced.

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Telecommunication companies in the country enforced the shutdown of Twitter on June 5, after receiving directives from the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, to block Nigerians from accessing the application.

US consul-general, Claire Pierangelo, described the ban as “worrisome” at the “Conversation on Press Freedom, Freedom of Expression and Civic Space in Nigeria” which was held in Lagos.

“Nigerian government’s ongoing suspension of Twitter and stated intent to introduce registration requirements for other social media platforms is deeply worrisome.

“Banning or significantly restricting social media, including under threat of prosecution, undermines Nigerians’ human rights and fundamental freedoms,” she said.

Following the ban, human rights activists and groups had dragged the Federal Government to the ECOWAS court.

In a counter-affidavit, the Federal Government told a Federal High Court in Lagos that it had not stopped Nigerians from using Twitter, adding that many Nigerians still used it every day.

“The applicant (Effiong) and the class he seeks to represent can still operate those Twitter accounts from anywhere in the world and even from Nigeria.

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“Nigerians are still tweeting, even at this moment as the ban on Twitter is not aimed at intimidating Nigerians or an infringement on the rights of Nigerians to express their opinion,” the motion read.

Since the ban, some Nigerians have migrated to the use of Virtual Private Networks, VPN, as it works by changing the location of devices they run on.

ExpressVPN stated in June that it recorded an increase of over 200 per cent in web traffic from Nigeria since the Federal Government banned Twitter.

Nigeria has about 33 million active social media users, with about 26 per cent on Twitter, according to data from Statista.

Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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