It is 100 days today since the federal government suspended the use of Twitter in the country costing the Nigerian economy about N247.61 billion, so far.
On June 5, the Federal Government through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) suspended Twitter a few days after it deleted a post made by President Muhammadu Buhari, which was considered to be offensive to the Igbo tribe.
Since the ban, the Nigerian economy has lost N103.17 million ($250,600) every hour, according to NetBlocks Cost of Shutdown Tool. reports Ripples Nigeria.
It has been 2,400 hours since the FG banned Twitter which puts the total amount lost at an N247.8billion ($601,439,044) using the exchange rate of N412/$.
In a bid to bypass the ban, the use of Virtual Private Networks has risen with many Nigerians almost forgetting that a restriction currently exists.
A firm, ExpressVPN had said that it recorded an increase of over 200 percent in web traffic from Nigeria since the Federal Government banned Twitter.
However, the Nigeran government is not the only country that has banned its citizens from accessing the microblogging platform; governments of China, Iran, and North Korea have also done so.
Last month it was reported that the Federal Government is still awaiting Twitter’s response to its three demands before the microblogging platform it will be allowed to operate in Nigeria.
The regime did not specifically state the three demands but referred to them as “grey areas.”
During his interactions with Reuters, Washington Post, and Bloomberg Quicktake, a live streaming news service, the minister said there was an end in sight of an amicable settlement of the ban.
“As recently as last week, we exchanged correspondence with Twitter, and when I left home a few days ago, we are expecting a reply from them,” Mr Mohammed added. “It is rather more left with Twitter to respond to grey areas that we asked them to look into.”
Mr Mohammed further explained that the Twitter ban had been effective, claiming there have been less dangerous content on social media.
He said other social media platforms had been more conscious and alert to injurious content likely to threaten national security.
The minister asserted that it would not be business as usual from the talks they had with Twitter when the platform resumed operations.
“Twitter operation was suspended because they were threatening national security, pitching one ethnic group against the other, interfering recklessly in the internal affairs of our country,” Mr Mohammed claimed.
“It renders its platform as a platform of choice for those who are preaching separatism and lend their resources to protesters against the police without understanding the nuances of our culture.”
Lai Mohammed also says the online media report that he “sneaked out of Nigeria to meet with Twitter executive’’ in the U.S. is fake.
The minister said his official visit to the U.S. has nothing to do with the microblogging and social networking platform.
Mohammed said he was in the U.S. to meet with international media organizations and think tanks on the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and efforts made so far in tackling insurgency, banditry, and all forms of criminality.
He said the online report was an example of the danger fake news and unregulated social media portend for the country.
He said, “Can a minister sneak out of Nigeria without people knowing?
“When you say I sneaked out of Nigeria, are you saying I went to board at a terminal where nobody is or I travel to Republic of Benin to fly out of the country.
“I was at an international airport, where I presented myself openly and I was checked in at the counter like every other travelers of the airline.
“I boarded and passed through the checks by the Immigration service and Customs.
“How can you come and say I sneaked out of the country?’’.
The minister who had so far engaged with the BBC Radio and TV, Bloomberg, and Polico during his visit to Washington DC, said he had no mission with Twitter on his trip.
“When you talk about fake news and its danger, we need to take it seriously and I am happy that the entire world is now seen what we saw more than two years ago.
“I can assure you that we will not rest until we regulate the social media, otherwise, nobody will survive it,’’ he said.
The minister reiterated the position that the Federal Government suspended Twitter operations in the country not because it deleted the tweet by the President as being propagated in some section of the media.
He said the operation of the microblogging medium was suspended because of its persistent use of its platform for activities that were capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
He also underscored the need for the organization to register as a business entity and obtain a license from the National Broadcasting Commission to carry out its activities.
Mohammed said the engagement between Twitter and the Federal Government on how to resolve the issue of the ban had reached an advanced stage.
Specifically, he said the end for the amicable settlement of the ban was in sight.