Amidst Debt Crises, Nigeria Lose Up to N220bn Over Twitter Ban

According to Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission, the Twitter ban is still in effect in Nigeria.

The Ministry of Information had not communicated that the embargo will be lifted, according to Adinde.

For the ban ordered by the Federal Government to take effect, the NCC dispatched a letter to Mobile Network Operators and Internet Service Providers instructing them to block access to Twitter.

On Wednesday, some Nigerians reported being able to access the app without using Virtual Private Networks on their PCs.

Our source clarifies that the alleged access to Twitter was only through the networks of Internet Service Providers, not through mobile networks.

“The way blocking works when it comes to the network is that a specific site, server, or URL is put on a blacklist,” an ISP insider explained. Alternatively, an instruction will be sent to prohibit traffic to or from a certain server. As a result, rather than acting as a go-between, a router that sits in the middle acts as a barrier.

Depending on the technology deployed, there might be loopholes. A problem could be as regards implementation. It can create a loophole, a human error.”

On June 4, the Federal Government banned Twitter indefinitely, days after the microblogging service removed a message by President Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) that breached its rules.

Since then, the Federal Government has notified a Federal High Court in Lagos that Nigerians are still using Twitter.

The President formed a committee of five ministers to negotiate with Twitter, with Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, as its chairman.

Mohammed recently stated that the committee talking with Twitter would reach an agreement soon.

“Within a few days or weeks, everything will be straightened out with Twitter,” he had added.

Twitter must register with the Companies and Allied Matters Act and establish a physical presence in Nigeria as one of the government’s prerequisites for lifting the ban.

The FG also seeks to get the corporation to collaborate with the Federal Inland Revenue Service. “If you make money in Nigeria, you pay taxes according to Nigerian laws,” Mohammed had added.

Twitter gets money from a variety of sources, including advertising, data licensing, and others. Outside of the United States, the corporation generated $556.15 million in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2020. It made $479.79 million in the first quarter of 2021. Outside of the United States, it generated $537.35 million in Q2 2021.

Nigeria has roughly 33 million active social media users, according to Statista, with about 26% on Twitter.

Nigeria has lost N220.36 billion since the embargo began. The NetBlocks Cost of Shutdown Tool was used to calculate this number.

According to the tool, banning Twitter costs the Nigerian economy N103.17 million ($250,600) every hour. The FG’s Twitter ban has been in effect for 2,136 hours.

“Social media allows the brand to connect directly to consumers,” financial planner Kalu Aja said in a story by The PUNCH. It’s a form of direct marketing that’s really particular and targeted.”

A number of Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs told The PUNCH in the first month of the ban that no other network enabled the level of engagement that Twitter provides today.

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