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How Twitter ban suffocates SMEs, hampers healthcare donations

Before the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration suspended the use of Twitter in Nigeria, it was the favourite medium for sharing and receiving information, as well as an online outlet for enhancing Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

But this is no longer possible as vendors, who normally display their wares and take orders through the platform, are now finding it difficult to do business.

Even those that were able to bypass the ban and access it through Virtual Private Network (VPN) to keep sales ongoing say most of their buyers have abandoned the app for fear of being arrested and prosecuted following the Nigerian chief law officer’s order on anyone who violates the ban.

Social media marketers otherwise called influencers, who assist to promote or market products to prospective customers, are not exempted from the pains.

Recently, Twitter became an avenue where scholarship opportunities for doctoral and postdoctoral studies are shared, and for rallying people to contribute to a pool and pay medical bills of some Nigerians who are unable to afford quality healthcare.

All these are now a thing of the past as Twitter ban enters its fourth day, affecting small businesses and stifling Nigerian voices who use the platform to air their grievances about the country’s predicament.

Read Also: Twitter ban increases Nigeria’s investment hostility profile

Some of the businesses that are advertised through Twitter include mobile phone accessories, perfumes, food vendors, fitness products, fabrics, foot-wears and custom-made clothes, among others.

“Undergraduates, graduates and unskilled Nigerians use Twitter to eke out a living by advertising their crafts, with the hope of getting positive feedback from buyers. But this is all gone. Our government always finds a way to make us suffer,” says Mike Efe, a mobile phone accessory vendor.

Efe said the action would push more people into hunger and affect potential investors.

Nonso Egemba, a medical practitioner popularly known as Aproko Doctor, while responding to the benefits of the platform, said,“Twitter NG has raised over N15m through @_ The100kclub that has helped a lot of families in Nigeria pay for medical bills that they couldn’t afford.”

Another tweep, Henry Femi, urged the Federal Government to have a rethink and consider lifting the ban for the sake of its burgeoning youth population who use the platform as a major source of livelihood.

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