Lagos entrepreneur Ogechi Egemonu sells watches, shoes and handbags worth more than NGN 500,000 (approximately Rs 88,760) on Twitter every week.

Now, because the website has been suspended by the Nigerian government, Eggonu does not know how she will respond.

“Social media is where I eat,” she told Reuters. “I rely on social media for my livelihood.”

Many small and medium businesses in Africa’s most populous country—and the largest economy—are being affected by the indefinite suspension of social media sites.

Nigeria announced its suspension on June 4, and a few days ago the platform deleted a post by President Muhammadu Buhari threatening to punish regional separatists. Most telecommunications websites have blocked access.

NOI Polls estimates that 39.6 million Nigerians use Twitter-20% of them are used for commercial advertising and 18% are used to find work. Experts warn that its lack of ready availability—it can be accessed using virtual private networks that obscure its location—may affect the entire economy.

Muda Yusuf, director-general of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, said: “The ban has significant collateral damage,” he said. “A considerable number of citizens” use Twitter to make a living.

Loss of income

The minority party caucus in the parliament warned that the suspension would cost Nigerians “billions of naira every day.”

Dumebi Iyeke, a research analyst at the financial derivatives company, said that this has hit the young Nigerians the hardest-the unemployment rate is as high as 45%.

“We are considering the potential loss of their income,” Ayek said, adding that in the context of high inflation, this may further reduce the standard of living.

See also  Russia’s largest bank Savings Bank launches a cryptocurrency plan to comply with upcoming regulations

Information Minister Lai Muhammad said last week that all social media sites must register with local entities and obtain operating permits. He cited complaints about the loss of money as evidence that the ban was effective, but said that other websites are still available.

© Thomson Reuters 2021