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Mixed Reactions Trail Federal Govt’s Lifting Of Ban On Twitter

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Mixed Reactions Trail Federal Govt’s Lifting Of Ban On Twitter
Mixed Reactions Trail Federal Govt’s Lifting Of Ban On Twitter

Following the announcement by the federal government on Wednesday that it has lifted the ban on Twitter operations in Nigeria, mixed reactions yesterday trailed the decision which came after about seven months of the suspension of the United States (US) micro-blogging site.

The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, who also chaired  the Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement,  made the announcement on Wednesday in a statement, saying that the approval was given following a memo written to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim.

According to Netblocks.org Nigeria lost about N 596,487,416,444 to Twitter ban in 7 months. The NetBlocks estimates the economic impact of an internet disruption, mobile data outage or app restriction using indicators from the World Bank, ITU, Eurostat and U.S. Census.

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Speaking to LEADERSHIP yesterday, President of the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) Engr. Ikechukwu Nnamani, said “It is a welcome development and one that will move the country forward.  Nigerians that depend on Twitter for their business will be able to get back to using the platform while those that use it as a social media platform will also be able to do the same.

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“There is a need for constant communication among parties to ensure we don’t have this kind of problem in the future. We in ATCON call for responsible use of the various platforms by all.”

Also, President of The Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) a nonprofit organisation, Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, said that the ban on Twitter affected the businesses of the young generation who are internet savvy and have found employment opportunities using Twitter.

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He said, “When you have a high level of unemployment and you block the platform that gives opportunities for the youth, there are consequences.”

He, however, noted that the government has reason to ban the platform “to exercise some kind of control on the content Twitter is putting out which was creating a security crisis.  Secondly, as an organisation with significant presence in Nigeria Twitter needed to pay taxes. So, to that extent I don’t think anybody can quarrel with the government’s decision. No country opens itself to everything and anything in the world.”

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He also said that there should have been some dialogue with Twitter if the government disagreed on some of its content instead of shutting down the platform.

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“The lessons we have learnt from this experience have come down to all of us and we can accelerate the platform for the benefit of Nigerians,” he added.

Similarly, Demola Aladekomo, chairman of Chams Group and an avid Twitter user, said the losses are difficult to quantify as they run into several billions on both Twitter and Nigeria.

He said although the government has the right to make decisions, it should not hurt the business interest of its people.

“Twitter lost a lot of revenue but the greater loser is Nigeria, which lost a lot of businesses.

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