On the 4th of June, 2021, the Nigerian government announced an indefinite suspension of Twitter’s operations in the country.
As expected, the citizens did not fell to express their displeasure over the matter.
Many were worried because of the impact the ban will have on individuals and businesses.
Gladly, there is a way out. Nigerians can still tweet and in this post, I’ll show you how.
I also talked about the reasons behind the ban and the implications.
Let’s jump right in!
- What Led To The Nigeria Twitter Ban?
- How The Nigerian Government Banned Twitter
- Implications Of The Twitter Ban
- The Way Forward – A Step By Step Guide On How To Use Twitter Through Proton VPN
A click on any item above will reveal its details immediately.
If you prefer, you also watch this 9 minutes video ? It has all the information in this post.
1. What Led To The Nigeria Twitter Ban?
As mentioned, the Nigerian government suspended the operations of the Social Media giant indefinitely on the 4th of June, 2021.
Prior to the ban, Twitter had deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari for violating its rules.
Have a look:
“Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Biafra war. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”This is the tweet that was removed.
The President made this statement in response to the sudden unrest in a region of the country.
His tweet violated the “Abusive policy” of the Twitter platform hence, its removal.
We can’t blame Twitter for taking the required action, can we?
According to the announcement, Twitter was banned because of “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.
But the ban appears more like a revenge action from the president because his tweet was removed.
There’s no doubt that Nigerians do not hesitate to speak their minds on the platform but their intention is not to relegate the country as the government has concluded.
Rather, they hope that their voices will be heard and possibly influence the desired change.
Now, with this ban, the government has indirectly silenced the voice of its citizens on Twitter.
This looks calculated because for a while now, the government has been trying to regulate social media.
Besides, the president is not the first to have his tweet deleted.
A more severe measure was given to former US President Donald Trump earlier this year.
To say the least, the Twitter ban was uncalled for. ?♀️
Let’s see how the government succeeded in banning Twitter.
2. How The Nigerian Government Banned Twitter
First of all, the account of the federal government released a tweet on the subject:
It’s funny how the government banned Twitter via a tweet. ?
After that, Information Minister Lai Mohammed directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to demand an application of permits from all social media companies and other over-the-top (OTT) media services.
Then the commission went on to instruct all broadcasters to suspend the use of Twitter as an information disseminating platform.
Local mobile networks like MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and 9mobile followed suit to block traffic to the site.
Ironically, NBC’s Twitter account was still active a few days after the ban.?
As it stands, Nigerians cannot access Twitter as Nigerians.
This is sad news because a lot will be affected.
Let’s talk more about that in the next section.
3. Implications Of The Twitter Ban
a. No more foreign investors
The Twitter ban will discourage foreign investors. Nobody wants to invest in a market with a threat of sudden regulatory disruptions.
This will make the technological sector suffer and eventually affect the economy of the nation.
So far, Nigeria is the highest-performing African country in attracting investments for technology start-up businesses.
This status is certainly about to change. And this damage could be permanent.
b. Infringement of fundamental human rights
Twitter is one platform where young Nigerians air their views on the country.
Plus, several campaigns for justice have been promoted on the platform. Nigerians were fulfilled as they contributed to societal change.
With this ban, it will be difficult to achieve a similar feat.
Most folks suspect that the ban was imposed to prevent the mobilization of a protest against the high level of insecurity in the country like what happened during the 2020 #EndSARS.
c. Confirmation that Ghana is better suited for Twitter HQ in Africa
A few months back, Twitter chose Ghana over Nigeria as the location for its headquarters in Africa.
This decision was made on the note that Ghana supports “free speech, online freedom, and the open internet.”
Initially, it was a bit insulting as Nigeria has more Twitter users than Ghana’s total population.
But this ban confirms that Twitter made the right choice.
d. Prosecution of Violators
Thanks to technology, Nigerians can still access Twitter through VPN – Virtual Private Network (more on than later).
But that is not without risk as Nigeria’s attorney general, Abubakar Malami, has promised to prosecute anyone that violates the ban.
So, Nigerians must tread carefully.
On the other hand, targeting VPN users will also incur costs for the government. Oops!
e. Transition to other social platforms
Apart from Twitter, there are other social platforms (e.g. WhatsApp, Facebook, etc.) where the citizens can still share opinions though not as effectively.
The Twitter ban will foster more traffic on these platforms.
Even, the Indian microblogging service Koo has declared interest to expand into Nigeria.
This may be the next Twitter for Nigerian folks (LOL)
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f. Outstanding effect on the economy
Many Nigerian businesses can trace a part of their success to their presence on Twitter.
These too, have been affected by the ban.
How about social media influencers and digital marketers who thrive on Twitter?
Their jobs may be affected too.
The government obviously did not have them in mind before placing the ban.
Not just that, the Nigerian government cannot deny that it has benefited from Twitter.
Else, why would it tweet the ban? ?♀️
Now, it can bid farewell to the revenue generated from the platform.
According to NetBlocks, Nigeria will lose over 2 billion naira daily following the Twitter shutdown.
Thus, the ban will slow commerce, reduce productivity, and lead to job loss.
Already, Nigerians are expressing their exasperation over the ban all over the internet.
Non-Twitter users are opposing the ban too.
Following current News trends, the last thing Nigeria needs is a people that will turn against its government.
Sadly, this ban is contributing to that a great deal.
Also, there is an ongoing trend of African governments restricting the access of the masses to social media.
This is already the case in Uganda, the Republic of the Congo, and Senegal.
It will be discomforting if Nigeria joined in.
And this Twitter ban is a huge pointer in that direction. Hmm!
I will now show you how to access Twitter through the Proton VPN.
4. The Way Forward – A Step By Step Guide On How To Use Twitter Through Proton VPN
As mentioned, Nigerians will switch to using VPNs to hide their locations and access Twitter.
Here’s a breakdown of how to use the Proton VPN, one of the safest options:
i. Go to Protonvpn.com and click on ‘Get ProtonVPN free’
ii. Next, you choose a plan
iii. Then you enter your email and set a password to create your account.
iv. Choose how you want to be verified (via email or SMS)
v. Enter the verification code you received and hit ‘Verify’.
vi. Now, select your device type
vii. Go ahead and download ProtonVPN
vi. Open the app and turn on the button for the country you wish to browse from
Yay!. You can tweet away! ?
Alternatively, you can download the ProtonVPN app from AppStore or PlayStore. Then follow the similar steps to launch it.
- If you’re using Binance.com don’t select the United States because only BinanceUS users are permitted to tweet from that location
- Also, if you want to use the VPN for Twitter alone, you can go to the ‘Settings’ of the Proton App and disconnect other phone apps from the ‘Split Tunneling’ option.
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No matter how the Nigerian government tries to justify the Twitter ban as a means of national security, it limits democratic freedom around information and expression.
Plus, the implications of the ban as we saw earlier will have a heavier blow on the government than on Twitter.
Following a later announcement that the ban was temporary (which contradicts the ‘indefinite’ tag on the first tweet), there is hope.
Also, Twitter as the sixth most used social media platform in Nigeria promises to work towards restoring access.
So, fingers crossed.
Feel free to share your thoughts on the Twitter ban in the comments section below.