Paradigm Initiative, a digital advocacy organisation, has put the cost of suspending Twitter operations in Nigeria at $250,600 per hour.
“Exactly 24 hours ago, the government of Nigeria announced the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria. Since then, the country has lost N2,177,089,051 ($6,014,390) based on the cost of Shutdown Tool. The loss continues at a rate of N90,712,044 ($250,600) every hour,” it said on Saturday.
The company used the NetBlocks Cost of Shutdown Tool to arrive at the estimate. The tool estimates the economic impact of internet disruptions, mobile data blackouts or app restriction using indicators from the World Bank, International Telecommunication Union, Eurostat, and US Census.
A finance officer at Greenville LNG, Ogidiaka Ovie, said, “Government policies, over time, have discouraged investors. Many multinationals will continue to withdraw from Nigeria like Shoprite. The business environment is harsh in Nigeria.
“The ban on Twitter will surely affect the economy as many businesses now thrive on the Internet. Nigeria may risk denial of loans from multilateral creditors as the majority of these institutions are controlled by the United States, and they have a way of protecting their businesses.”
A finance officer at Vedic Lifecare Nigeria Limited, Okorie Iheanacho, said, “A lot of business transactions are being carried out on Twitter. As a result of the ban, there may be a temporary loss of activities there. Unemployment may occur if it lingers for long as companies would reduce their admin expenses.
“The ban sends a negative signal to both prospective and existing investors on the economy as they would not like to have a physical presence in Nigeria. This will lead to reduction in income flow to the economy in the form of tax.”
Lift ban or be sued, PDP Reps threaten FG
The Peoples Democratic Party caucus in the House of Representatives asked the Federal Government to lift the ban or it would take legal action against it.
Leader of the PDP caucus, Kingsley Chinda, made this known in a statement on Sunday and titled ‘Press Release on Suspension of Twitter in Nigeria.’
On his part, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, said that the ban had no solution to any of the myriad of problems confronting the nation.
Ortom described the ban as an ill-advised diversion from the core issues of insecurity and injustice plaguing the nation.
According to the statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, Ortom said, “The Twitter ban offers no solution to any of the myriad of problems facing the country.
He stressed that the move was only capable of heightening tensions and fuelling suspicions among Nigerians.
You can’t prosecute Nigerians for unknown offence, lawyer tells Malami
A lawyer, Dr Kayode Ajulo, said the order of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, for the prosecution of violators of the Twitter ban was contrary to provisions of the nation’s constitution.
Ajulo made his position known in a statement titled, ‘Legality or otherwise of the directive to prosecute violators of Twitter ban in Nigeria – Ajulo.’
He was responding to Malami’s directive to the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation to prosecute all those found to be violating the Twitter ban.
Nigeria not open for Investment – Yiaga Africa
A civil rights movement under the aegis of Yiaga Africa also condemned the indefinite suspension of Twitter services.
The organisation said the directive that all Over-The-Top services must be licensed by the National Broadcasting Commission before they could operate within Nigeria had sent “a dangerous signal to the world that Nigeria is not open for investments, particularly in the technology and entertainment sector.”
“To this end, we call on the Federal Government to reverse this decision immediately, and to refrain from further assault on press freedom, freedom of expression and free speech”, YA said in a statement by its Director of Programmes, Cynthia Mbamalu.
The Centre for Social Justice in its reaction stressing that various sub-sectors in the information and communication would suffer economically.
Lead Director, CSJ, Eze Onyekpere, said the ban was a gross violation of Nigerians’ human rights and economic obligations to respect already accrued economic and social rights.
He urged the government to refrain from taking steps that would prevent Nigerians from accessing services provided by third parties which did not violate laws enacted by the respective legislatures.
He said, “The contribution to aggregate real Gross Domestic Product as at Quarter 1 of 2021 by the information and communications sector where Twitter and other social media platforms belong is valued at 14.91 per cent, being one of the largest contributors to the total output of the country.
“The information and communication sector is composed of the four activities of telecommunications and information services; publishing; motion picture, sound recording and music production; and broadcasting.
“Recall that the Nigerian economy grew by less than one per cent specifically by 0.51 per cent in Quarter 1 of 2021.”
Onyekpere noted that the contributions of the major sectors to aggregate real GDP showed that the oil sector accounted for 9.25 per cent; agriculture, 22.35 per cent; manufacturing, 9.93 per cent; trade, 15.61 per cent; construction, 4.12 per cent; etc.
He said, “The overall growth pattern of the economy in the first quarter of 2021 was tepid and did not match population growth.
“It failed to respond to stagflation – high unemployment, slow growth, inflation, and other macroeconomic challenges facing the nation. That Nigeria is just struggling to exit recession even compounds the scenario.”
Onyekpere added, “Twitter as part of social media platforms is a veritable medium for the outreach of enterprises in the ICT and other sectors.
“Banning Twitter will retard investments, productivity, employment generation and the overall output and outcome of the economy.”