“The larger number of our youths is being put out of business over the ban. It does not portray Nigeria in good democratic light. We urge the government to therefore take urgent steps towards resolving the conflict, because Nigeria, a very vulnerable economy and democracy currently enmeshed in insecurity, cannot afford to face the Bretton Woods in a trade war

Tit is no longer that the Nigerian government is currently embroiled in a diplomatic spat with Western powers over its controversial ban of Twitter for allegedly stepping down a presidential statement about the Nigerian Civil war considered offensive. But officials listed the sins of the social media platform: “persistent use of the Twitter platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”. The latest is the conditions the government reeled out for the social platform, Twitter, to comply with before its operations are allowed in Nigeria.

According to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, “Our conditions are already laid out: one, to do business in Nigeria, they must register as Nigerian companies; two, you must be licensed. Three, they will have to refrain from using the platform for activities that are inimical to the growth of Nigeria, to the corporate existence of Nigeria”. Besides, Twitter sponsored #ENDSARS in the country last year; it spite Nigeria by locating its African headquarters in Ghana with less followers and income potentials for the company. Mohammed added that “So, whether he donated money himself or helped to raise money, the Twitter owner is one of those who helped to fund the #EndSARS protests that were later hijacked leading to loss of lives and massive destruction of property.”

He continued by saying that ”On Friday, also the government directed the regulatory body, the National Broadcasting commission, to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT, Over The Top social media operations in Nigeria”. ”It may interest you to know that most of the OTT and social media platforms operating in Nigeria do not have any office in Nigeria and do not pay taxes to the Nigerian government for the billions they earn here.

That is not the best practice globally, and that is why we are insisting that for you to operate in Nigeria you must first be a Nigerian company and be licensed by the broadcasting commission”, he said. Economically, the argument of the government might sound logical, but it is hard for this government to take on world powers and win the political, diplomatic and the larger economic war. It is like shooting itself in the foot. Like many organisations and groups have noted, democracy is nothing without the freedom of speech which Twitter has become a key player, a rallying point for democratic advocacy for Nigerians and the masses around the world.

The larger number of our youths is being put out of business over the ban. It does not portray Nigeria in good democratic light. We urge the government to therefore take urgent steps towards resolving the conflict, because Nigeria, a very vulnerable economy and democracy currently enmeshed in insecurity, cannot afford to face the Bretton Woods in trade war.


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