Nigeria to lose N65.3bn on Twitter ban in 30 days - NIGERIAN NEWSORBIT


Monday, June 07, 2021

Nigeria to lose N65.3bn on Twitter ban in 30 days

Nigeria is expected to lose N65.3 billion or $180.4million per month and N2.18billion or $ 6.01million per day for blocking the operations of Twitter, a social networking platform, in the country, as estimated by NetBlocks.

NetBlocks also estimated that the nation’s economy is to lose N90.7million or $250,600 per hour as total cost impact on twitter ban in Nigeria.

According to NetBlocks data, if Nigeria shuts down, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp and Twitter, it will lose N326.56 billion or $902.16 million monthly.

Checks on the COST platform show that a single-day total internet shutdown will cost the country about N48.6 billion in economic value relating to the global digital economy.
NetBlocks, a data-driven online service, estimated the economic cost of internet disruptions on its cost of shutdown tool (COST) platform.

Responding, the Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), Mr. Muda Yusuf in a statement obtained on Sunday stated that the Twitter saga raises a major issue of proportionality on both sides of the divide, stressing on the need for the federal government and stakeholders concern over its collateral damage to businesses that could result from the Twitter’s ban.

According to him, “Many businesses, especially SMEs, leverage this digital platform for marketing and other promotional activities.

“The implications is that this group of businesses are being deprived the use of the platform. Some even have ongoing contractual obligations in this regard.

“The outright ban is disproportionate,  having regards to the wider implications for numerous small businesses that derive significant value from the use of this digital platform. My view is that other channels of seeking redress should have been explored.”

He added that “But there is a flip side.  The reality is that the platform could also be used as a tool for the dissemination of information that could be harmful to the society.

“This imposes a major responsibility on Twitter to ensure an effective self regulation. The saga also underscores the need by Twitter to have a deeper contextual understanding and insight of tweets before drawing conclusions. Such contextualisation would enrich its judgement and enhance its credibility.”

The President Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Engr. Gbenga Adebayo  said national Interest outweighed the economic implications, reacting to Twitter’s ban in Nigeria.

Adebayo said this when our correspondent contacted him on the economic implications of the ban on SMEs and Nigeria’s economic.
He, however, noted that ALTON will continue to provide advisory to all stakeholders regarding the matter.

According to him, “We have expressed concerns about the economic implications, but unfortunately, National security interest considerations certainly outweigh such views at a time like this. However we are providing the necessary advisory to all stakeholders.

“We are unable to put an estimate to such economic losses at this time but at the appropriate time the figures will be made known by all stakeholders.”

The platform, built on Brookings Institution and CIPESA methodologies, estimates the economic cost of internet shutdowns, mobile data blackouts, and social media restrictions using public economic indicators relating to the global digital economy.

Adebayo noted that the association has confirm that its members had received formal instructions from NCC, the industry regulator, to suspend access to Twitter.
ALTON has also conducted a robust assessment of the request in accordance with internationally accepted principles.

“Based on national interest provisions in the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, and within the licence terms under which the industry operates; our members have acted in compliance with the directives of NCC, the industry regulator.

“We will continue to engage all relevant authorities and stakeholders and will act as may be further directed by the NCC,” Adebayo said.
He said the association remains committed to supporting the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and upholding the rights of citizens.

He, however, said as an industry, ALTON endorsed the position of the United Nations that the rights held by people offline must also be protected online.

He noted that this included respecting and protecting the rights of all people to communicate, to share information freely and responsibly, and to enjoy privacy and security regarding their data and their use of digital communications.

On Friday, the federal government announced the “indefinite” suspension of Twitter over “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”

On Saturday morning, network access to the Twitter platform and backend servers were blocked by MTN, Globacom, Airtel, 9mobile, and other networks — the development made Nigerians move to alternative means of accessing the micro-blogging site.

Although it is not yet sure the number of days the shutdown will take, the impact on businesses, tech communities, civil space, and government-to-citizen communication disruptions are enormous, according to experts.

Paradigm Initiative, in a statement, described the blockage of Twitter as an abuse of the rights of Nigerians, not just to freedom of expression but many other rights guaranteed in the 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,” the digital rights group said.

“It is evident that shutting down Twitter is illegal and illegitimate policies such as this are unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, the Buhari-led government has described the suspension as “temporary.”

A statement issued by Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, noted that the suspension of Twitter is not just a response to the removal of the Buhari’s post, but to address the “litany of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real-world violent consequences.”
Culled from Nigerian NewsDirect.

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