An activist and social media commentator, David Hundeyin, on Wednesday, hit the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for lifting the suspension on Twitter operations in the country, effective from 12 am, January 13, 2022.
According to Hundeyin, Buhari’s ego has succeeded in massaging his ego for over seven months since he suspended the micro-blogging platform on June 4, 2021.
But in a press statement on Wednesday signed by the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency and Chairman Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement, Kashifu Abdullahi, the Buhari regime said the suspension on Twitter has been lifted.
Reacting in a chat with The PUNCH, Hundeyin said Nigeria needs Twitter and not the other way round, adding that millions of dollars in revenue and productivity have been lost to the about eight-month suspension.
He said, “The removal of the ban itself is not unexpected, because regardless of the Buhari regime’s posturing over the past seven months, it is in fact Twitter that always had the bargaining position. Nigeria needs Twitter and not the other way around. We have wasted seven months of our time as a nation pursuing an imaginary outcome against a global tech giant with a market cap bigger than Nigeria’s annual federal budget.
“We have essentially lost millions of dollars in revenue and productivity resulting from the completely ill-conceived and unnecessary ban for no other reason than to assuage the wounded ego of a septuagenarian who happens to be president. Now that he has eventually run through his extended temper tantrum and political reality of next year’s elections are upon him, it is no surprise that it has been lifted.”
The PUNCH had earlier reported that Nigeria’s economy lost N499.32bn to the shutdown of Twitter as of December 2021.
According to the NetBlocks Cost of Shutdown Tool, Nigeria’s economy loses N104.02m ($250,600) every hour to the ban on Twitter. It has been 4,800 hours (200 days) since the social networking site was blocked.
Twitter had deleted a post by Buhari in June 2020.
Consequently, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who had accused Twitter of double standards, announced the suspension of the microblogging site on Friday, citing the “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.
Nigeria had about 33 million active social media users as of January 2021. WhatsApp is the most popular platform used in the country, with over 90 million users according to Statista. According to Statista, about 61.4 per cent of Nigerian social media users use Twitter, 86.2 per cent use Facebook, 81.6 per cent use YouTube, 73.1 per cent use Instagram, and 67.2 per cent use Facebook Messenger.
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