Twitter Ban: Buhari Government’s Recklessness Could Cost Nigeria Over N350billion In One Week—Report

An Africa-focused research organisation, SB Morgen Intelligence says one day of the Internet shutdown can cause Nigeria an economic upset of N51.1 billion.

 

The organisation said this while reacting to the adverse economic impact of the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria by the government of the country. 



Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed on Friday announced an indefinite ban of Twitter’s services in Nigeria in response to what it called, ‘the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.’

 

Barely 24 hours after the suspension of Twitter, Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation said those who flout the order will be prosecuted.

 

The decision of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has been criticised home and abroad, as citizens have lambasted the President and his cabinet members for oppressive rule in their bid to suppress freedom of speech.

 

SB Morgen Intelligence said the country loses N2.4 billion on a daily basis as a result of the ban.

 

It also stated that those in the start-up businesses will feel the anguish, which is reflective on the economy of the country.

 

“According to a tool by Netblocks that measures the impact of total or partial internet shutdowns for many countries, the cost of this Twitter ban is over $6 million (N2.4 billion) every single day.

 

“About 26% of the roughly 28 million social media users in Nigeria had a Twitter account at the end of May 2021, according to StatCounter. That amounts to 7.28 million potential offenders.

 

“As context, there were 652, 923 persons in Nigeria’s 240 prisons and correctional institutions in the middle of May 2021 according to the World Prison Brief.

 

“The economic implications of such a shutdown could be catastrophic for Nigeria. Tech Cabal estimates that a “one day of internet shutdown in Nigeria could cost the economy $134 million (N51.1 billion).

 

“A week-long shutdown could cost $939.7 million (N358 billion), which is more than the 2020 budget for the Power (N135 billion) and Agric (N183 billion) sectors combined,” the tech group revealed.

 

SB Morgen Intelligence further disclosed that the ban invoked on Twitter users in the country might force global technology companies to choose Ghana ahead of Nigeria for their business.

 

The group expressed worry that such an embargo on Twitter services could offer Nigerian government the freedom to silence the whole cyberspace in the country. It claimed that such sanctions have been invoked in some countries.

 

“As a result, the jobs and investment that would typically follow the establishment of such a presence in Nigeria, has been lost. Moreover, other global tech companies who want to establish or deepen their presence in Africa are now more likely to look to Ghana rather than Nigeria.

 

“There are general concerns with allowing this Twitter ban to stay indefinitely. On a wider scale, it could be a leeway for the government to expand the ban to not just other social media platforms but to shutting down the entire cyberspace.

 

“This is not an uncommon practice in Africa as countries like Uganda, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Guinea, Algeria, Burundi, Chad, Mali, Sudan, Togo, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe have all implemented full or partial shutdowns between 2007 to 20215,” the cyber expert group said.

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