Over two weeks after the federal government suspended the operation of Twitter, a social media site, in Nigeria, experts in the telecommunication sector are still divided over the situation.
The government had on June 4, suspended the microblogging platform for disrespecting President Muhammadu Buhari by taking down his tweet considered to be violent.
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But some experts have argued that the suspension sent the wrong message to foreign investors who might have shown interest in Nigeria.
An Abuja-based economic expert, Samson Simon Galadima said by suspending Twitter the Nigerian government is sending the wrong message that it is a bad place to do business and it does not respect human rights.
“It will scare investors, reduce FDI and increase the perception and even reality of Nigeria as an uneasy place to do business,” Galadima said.
He said Nigeria businesses had lost a platform to advertise, engage and monitor competition, hence, possible reduction in both topline and bottom line for the business.
Although Twitter is losing revenues that it could have generated through advertising in Nigeria, Nigeria and Nigerians are losing more, he noted.
Another tech expert, Lekan Martins, said Nigeria which needs FDI as much as possible suspending a company worth $50 billion is like a man on fire suspending a water company
“Twitter is injecting $250 million into Ghana’s economy. This is Nigeria’s loss. All the foreign investors that were still heading to Nigeria to invest just made a U-Turn after hearing of Nigeria’s suspension of Twitter. Joblessness, crime, insecurity will increase,” Martins lamented.
Another IT expert, Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, said many small Nigerian companies would record revenue losses because of the thousands that depend on Twitter for their daily sustenance.
“It (the ban) will no doubt put us on the bad side of investors. The question would be what would happen to start-ups if the Government wakes up to just block their apps and solutions without following due process”, Agbata said.
To reduce effects of the ban, Agbata said tech business owners must begin to have a fail-proof strategy by ensuring that their businesses are not put in a similar situation.
“Everyone must join hands to get the government to rescind the decision,” CFA said.
However, there are other experts who support the ban. Mr Okon Moses, an IT consultant in Abuja, said: “Government reserves the right to bar platforms that could fuel a crisis especially at a time when the government is battling with forces of insecurity.”
On his part, John Olomu, a telecom analyst, noted that the ban should not be a challenge but considered as an opportunity. “Nigerians are tech savvy; this is the time for them to be creative and get something bigger for the social media space.”