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Twitter Ban in Nigeria Leaves Some Businesses in the Lurch

by Mary Sewell

Lagos-based entrepreneur Ogechi Egemonu sold more than NGN 500,000 (roughly Rs. 88,760) worth of watches, shoes, and handbags on Twitter per week. With the site suspended by the Nigerian government, Egemonu does not know how she will cope.

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

Scores of small and medium-sized businesses across Africa’s most populous nation – and largest economy – are reeling from the indefinite suspension of the social media site.

Nigeria announced the suspension on June 4, days after the platform removed a post from President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to punish regional separatists. Most telecommunications sites have since blocked access.

NOI Polls estimates that 39.6 million Nigerians use Twitter – 20 percent for business advertisement and 18 percent for looking for employment. Experts warn its lack of ready availability – it is accessible using Virtual Private Networks that mask location – could ripple across the economy.

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

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