The uproar among Twitter users, media, experts, businesses has been deafening, with several analysts saying the Buhari’s administration is reminiscent of his 1984 military regime where he imposed draconian legislation that allowed the government to imprison any journalist or members of civil societies found guilty of “embarrassing” the country’s military leader. Experts have also explained that the ban will keep investors away, as global tech companies that want to have a presence in Africa are now more likely to invest in Ghana than in Nigeria.
The move has also attracted international condemnation. Amnesty International, the Embassy of Sweden in Nigeria, as well as the British and Canadian missions in the country have spoken up against the suspension by Nigerian authorities, all highlighting the importance of freedom of speech.
According to NOI polls, more than 39 million Nigerians have a Twitter account, and issues of public concern are frequently debated on the app. Nigerian businesses also use the platforms to reach customers, expose their brands and communicate with various stakeholders. To understand the issue and how it affects different segments of the Nigerian audience, Culture Intelligence from RED engaged its national focus group to get their thoughts on the issue and the effects on their personal lives.
About 69% claim to ‘absolutely disagree’ with the suspension of the platform by the government, 27.1% say they do not agree. 3.3% say they agree with the indefinite suspension of Twitter use by the Buhari administration. Interestingly, while those who agree with the suspension are smaller in comparison to others in the focus group, all of them are either Twitter users and non-Twitter users between 40 – 49 years.