It’s been a month since the Nigerian government announced that the team to negotiate with Twitter over the suspension of the microblogging site in Nigeria. The team comprises of Minister of Information and Culture — Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Federation and Honourable Minister of Justice —Abubakar Malami, Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy — Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs — Geoffrey Jideofor Onyeama, and more appointed ministers.
Since that team was set up, we haven’t heard much from them even though the Minister of Information Lai Mohammed was in Germany with the Edo State governor Godwin Obaseki to solicit for the return of stolen artefacts to Nigeria. This simply means that if he had gone to the United States at any time, the public would have known and one thing we can make of this is that they haven’t publicly sat with any member of the Twitter leadership team since their assignment. The obvious result of this that the ban will continue and could likely continue until the end of this year or may not even be lifted in the remaining two years in the life of the Buhari administration. Don’t be surprised if this becomes a campaign subject in the coming year as politicking is expected to start from 2022.
When Nigeria suspended Twitter, the social media site had a market capitalisation of about $46b but Twitter shares have been rising and this month, that figure is $55b. Nigeria on the other hand reportedly lost 24b Naira in the first ten days of the ban and some even put the figure close to 50b Naira now.
According to the Council of Foreign Relations, “one estimate is that the ban costs the Nigerian economy $6 million per day—and it is likely that the government will rescind it as part of a face-saving deal with Dorsey. The capture of Biafran separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu is likely to increase government self-confidence, thereby facilitating an end to the standoff with Twitter.”
For a struggling economy, the government should not be stifling growth as many companies rely on Twitter for their daily business.
It’s been well over two weeks since the capture Nnamdi Kanu and we still haven’t heard anything from the government on this matter. As for the team set up by the administration to negotiate with Twitter, many of them have been in Nigeria and have in particular kept mum on the matter.
My prediction on this matter is that the ban on Twitter would be called off next month as a face saving measure eventually.