Following the suspension of the microblogging platform Twitter by the Federal Government on Friday, experts have revealed that the already “hung” economy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will suffer further setbacks.
The FG through the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, announced on Friday the indefinite suspension of Twitter for an alleged “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining the corporate existence of Nigeria.”
But the government later referred to the suspension as temporary. The UK state’s position on Twitter suspension in Nigeria The shocking news that fell on Friday night devastated all social media platforms as the suspension was rumored to include Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and others as Nigerians enraged and berated the president and his advisers for taking such a decision.
The Federal Government’s decision to freeze the activities of social media users was not unrelated to the recent outrage of Nigerians at the alleged threat of President Muhammadu Buhari against the population of the Southeast.
Buhari had threatened on Tuesday, June 1, while receiving a report from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC President Mahmood Yakubu with cracking down on some elements in the southeast for allegedly destroying government facilities in the region.
According to him, the attacks on security operations and government facilities in the region were sponsored by his rivals who desperately want his government to fail and emphasized that they will soon receive the impact of their lives. He also referred to the 30-month civil war in the country, saying that the young people who cause problems in the southeast were not born then, threatening to respond in the “language they understand.”
The president’s comment spurred relatively uncontrollable outrage on social media Wednesday from concerned Nigerians, including some political heavyweights who attacked the Nigerian leader for threatening war against those he was chosen to protect.
Following scandalous tweets on Wednesday from some Nigerians, Twitter management removed the controversial president’s tweet, prompting further reactions from Nigerian citizens, as many praised the platform for the removal while the president’s supporters criticized the platform, accusing her of playing with a double standard.
Some Nigerians who spoke to the correspondent lamented the negative effects that suspending Twitter would have on average Nigerians, particularly young people who depend on the platform for their survival, citing the employment crisis that has so far rocked the nation.
Recall that the unemployment rate in Nigeria jumped from 4.31% in 2015 to 7.96% in 2020. Meanwhile, the recent increase in insecurity across the country has also left a number of Nigerians, particularly farmers and traders, due to the activities of bandits, insurgents of Boko Haram. , unknown shepherds and gunmen.
On Wednesday, the Onion Producers and Marketers Association (OPMAN) announced its decision to suspend the supply of onions to the southeast due to insecurity, stating that truckers with their goods were recently kidnapped by unknown gunmen.
Farmers and traders may have lost their jobs due to the devastating security crisis Following the threat of the endless job search in the country, some Nigerians have turned to online businesses where they buy and sell products using social media platforms, in particular, the suspended microblogging platform Twitter, to market their products.
One user, Margret Femi, who spoke to our correspondent in Abuja, said that she used the medium (Twitter) to market her fashion, a small business that she established to make ends meet. “Since I started my fashion business in 2019 after my one-year mandatory service, I have been making sales through Twitter.
“I could have used other platforms like Facebook, but we meet our target customers on Twitter and most customers believe the information it contains more than any other medium.
“The Federal Government should give us a job or restore the platform with immediate effect. It is not a crime to be born in Nigeria.
“I have been looking for work everywhere and it seems that to be employed in this country, you must come from a wealthy home or from the family of a politician. We have been helping ourselves. They shouldn’t get the best of us, ”she said.
Similarly, a talented singer who simply identified himself as Wiz Money said that he and other emerging artists used the platform to promote his tracks, stating that it was easier to meet superstars through the medium.
“Whenever we release a new track, we usually tweet the link and tag some superstars in hopes that one day we will get noticed.
“Besides that, I have more than two thousand followers on Twitter, so I also use it to advertise products for whoever needs it. This is how we get the money to propel ourselves, ”he said.
Thousands of Nigerians employed by different private organizations to manage Twitter control of their companies may soon be relieved of their jobs following the Federal Government’s ban on the platform.
An economic expert, James Adoga, speaking with the Lagos State correspondent, identified some areas where FG’s move may affect the economy.
According to him, “Social media as a whole is a new buzz in the area of marketing that includes small businesses, organizations, and brands, helping them create news, make friends, connections, and followers.
“The world has gone digital and the market is also gradually moving from the usual physical meetings to the buying and selling that happens through social networks like the suspended Twitter.
“Some private organizations, such as the telecommunications industries and banks, use social media to improve the performance of their companies in various ways, such as achieving business objectives by increasing annual profits from sales and services.
“It provides stands as a communication platform that facilitates two-way communication between the company and its shareholders.
“Many businesses in the country have been promoted through a social medium such as the suspended Twitter. Many organizations achieve this by advertising on the platform to attract the maximum number of users or customers.
“Through this medium, customers can connect and interact with their suppliers without a transportation fee. Therefore, the importance of the environment for the Nigerian economy cannot be overemphasized considering the many benefits it has for people.
“After the Twitter ban, the performance of many companies will decline and several people will join the pool of unemployed youth.”
Another expert, Onome Akogba, said the suspension could further worsen the already deteriorating security situation across the country.
According to him, the outlet has helped to keep most of the unemployed young people busy, claiming that closing it can force them to take to the streets, posing a greater threat to the safety of their lives and property.
He added that police and other security officers have always received security alerts from the outlet that enhance swift action against criminal elements.
“Social media makes it easy to spread the word about criminal activities every time they occur, as all you need to do is click a button and the security operative will respond quickly. This has saved many lives in the past.
“I can tell you without fear that banning the operation of Twitter in the country will aggravate the crisis that has spread throughout the country.”
However, contrary to Lai Mohammed’s earlier announcement that the platform was suspended indefinitely The censoring seemed based on a misunderstanding of the challenges Nigeria faces today.
“Major tech companies must be alive to their responsibilities. They cannot be allowed to continue to facilitate the spread of religious, racist, xenophobic, and false messages capable of inciting whole communities against each other, leading to the loss of many lives. This could tear some countries apart ”, Garba added.
But experts are of the opinion that the Nigerian government failed to look at the negative effects of the ban as many influencers on the platform and others who depend on Twitter campaigns for survival would be hit hard by the ban. According to them, the already deteriorating economy will further suffer for it and the unemployment rate will shoot up.