The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, has said that Nigerians and other nationals flouted the Federal Government’s ban of the social media platform because it is a tool for their business and social development.
The AfDB President said this during a lecture delivered in Lagos on the theme, ‘Social Media, National Security and Social Change: Bridging the Gap for Development in Africa.’
The Federal Government had restricted access to Twitter in Nigeria after a tweet made by President Muhammadu Buhari against the Indigenous People of Biafra was deleted by the media giant.
Four months after the ban, Buhari announced during his Independence Day speech that agreement had been reached with Twitter and that a Presidential directive had been issued with respect to lifting the ban.
The announcement was followed by jubilation among individuals and business owners who relied on platform for survival.
Adesina said, “Social media is here to stay. It will continue to influence politics, connect people, and shape our future. The role of leaders is to anticipate the future before it arrives and to create an enabling environment with robust infrastructure, the right policies, rules, and regulations.”
He explained that the government may want to strike a balance between freedom and national security through restriction of access to social media platforms.
The AfDB boss said, “Even in countries where governments have clamped down on social media platforms, users have simply masked their identities and bypassed denials of access by using Virtual Personal Networks, otherwise known as VPNs, to protect their data and online privacy.
“For now, young, savvy, and empowered youth have leveraged the amazing power of social media platforms to fashion together networks for information, business, and social interaction.
“Many influencers, or young entrepreneurs have been able to scale their businesses and break into global value chains.
“Social media is nothing short of a revolution. It will equally play a definitive role in Africa’s transformation and economic evolution.
“To reap the benefits of this revolution, countries, including Nigeria, must work on the ‘analog complements’ by strengthening regulations that ensure competition among businesses, by adapting workers’ skills to the demands of the new economy, and by holding institutions to account.”
Adesina noted that by leveraging on technology, social media and communication platforms, Nigeria will be more prosperous.