Nigeria Meets China For Help With Internet Censorship
On Saturday morning between 11 am and 12 pm, as Nigerians woke up to the reality of a Twitter ban, and downloading Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to access Twitter, the Nigerian government, through the office of the Presidency, reached out to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) to discuss plans to build an internet firewall, FIJ has learnt.
The government officials present at the meeting include Ibrahim Gambari, the Chief of Staff to the President, and Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture.
The internet firewall is a way of having a separate network for the Nigerian Internet that will give the government control over social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. This is similar to the internet filtering system China operates, called the Great Firewall.
According to CFR, “the Great Firewall, is the centre of the government’s online censorship and surveillance effort. Its methods include bandwidth throttling, keyword filtering, and blocking access to certain websites.”
The Reporters Without Borders states that the firewall makes large-scale use of Deep Packet Inspection technology, an advanced method of examining and managing network traffic. The Nigerian government seeks to establish the Nigerian Internet, which it will also control likewise.
A digital security expert told FIJ that China is the only country that deploys total Deep Packet Inspection over its cyberspace. The technology involves making use of lots of manpower.
The internet firewall will also give the Nigerian government power to block VPN, which many Nigerians are using to access Twitter. The CAC is the central internet regulator, censor, oversight and control agency for China and answers to the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, headed by Xi Jinping, China’s President. Since its existence, the CAC, which also gives approval to data by Chinese companies outside of China, regulates usernames on the Chinese Internet, licences news information services, and bans comments that “harm national security” or “harm the nations honour interest”.
The Nigerian government has in the past few years sought a way to control freedom of expression online. Towards the end of 2015, the Frivolous Petition Bill targeting online and print media as well as regulating social media posts was introduced into the Senate just 10 months after Buhari’s ascent to power. In 2019, lawmakers introduced two bills: the National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech bill and the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation and other Related Offences bill, prompting public outcry that meant they were not passed into law.
Twitter Ban: US, UK, EU, Others Are Hypocrites – Lai Mohammed
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has slammed the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and other countries that criticised the suspension of social media giant, Twitter.
Mohammed, who described the foreign countries as hypocrites, said their views were purely based on economic reasons and not because they loved Nigeria.
The minister said this on NTA’s ‘Good Morning Nigeria’ programme on Friday.
Mohammed said both the EU and the UK were already working on social media regulations and wondered why Nigeria was being accused of stifling free speech.
He added, “The EU has recommended the same thing and Britain only on Wednesday spoke about a law that would regulate the social media. This is why I say they are being hypocritical. Like I said, I don’t like commenting on issues that have to do with relations with Nigeria and other countries but clearly speaking, they are being less than honest.”
Mohammed said the Federal Government had constantly reached out to Twitter to bring down divisive comments like those of separatist leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who was fond of calling Nigeria a zoo.
He asked Nigerians not to be deceived by foreign missions condemning the suspension of Twitter.
Mohammed added, “We have seen so many foreign missions come up to condemn the action of Nigeria. Nigerians, please, make a distinction between countries that are trying to protect their economic and commercial interests from those countries that genuinely love you and talking about freedom of speech and don’t forget for one minute that it is because there is a country called Nigeria that there is freedom of speech.”
The minister maintained that the Federal Government did not suspend Twitter because it deleted a tweet by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), which many found repugnant.
On the issue of Nigerians losing money to the Twitter suspension, Mohammed downplayed the complaints, saying that the Nigerian government was not generating any money in tax from the social media platform.
He said Nigerians must note that it is only when there is peace that business can take place.
Respect Your Citizens Rights – Reverse Twitter Ban US Gov Warns Buhari Again
When we talk people say we are talking again. You do not mess around with US businesses , they have powerful lobby groups and can sink your administration. Who is India ?
Sanctions are coming soon, Pompeo former CIA Director has made his statement about Buharis deception ; people now understand this regime and they are watching.
The United States government on Thursday kicked against last Friday’s decision of the Federal Government to suspend operations of the microblogging platform, Twitter, in Nigeria.
It also expressed concerns over threats of arrest and prosecution of violators issued by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
The US government’s position was contained in a press statement by the spokesperson of the US Department of State, Ned Price.
It advised the Federal Government to respect the right of its citizens to freedom of expression by reversing the suspension.
The statement read, “The United States condemns the ongoing suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian government and subsequent threats to arrest and prosecute Nigerians who use Twitter.
The United States is likewise concerned that the Nigerian National Broadcasting Commission ordered all television and radio broadcasters to cease using Twitter.
“Unduly restricting the ability of Nigerians to report, gather, and disseminate opinions and information has no place in a democracy.
“Freedom of expression and access to information both online and offline are foundational to prosperous and secure democratic societies.
“We support Nigeria as it works towards unity, peace, and prosperity. As its partner, we call on the government to respect its citizens’ right to freedom of expression by reversing this suspension.”
Most Used Social Media Platforms In Nigeria – Top 12
MOST-USED SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS IN NIGERIA – Top 12
5 FB Messenger
NIGERIANS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
As at Jan 2021, Nigeria had 33 million active social media users.
Social media users make up 15.8% of Nigeria’s population.
99.2% of social media users access them via mobile.
NIGERIA: SOCIAL MEDIA POTENTIAL ADVERT AUDIENCE
1 Youtube: 30.8 million
2 Facebook: 29 million
3 Instagram: 8.4 million
4 FB Messenger: 4 million
5 LinkedIn: 5.7 million
6 Snapchat: 6.65 million
7 Twitter: 3.5 million
MOST USED SOCIAL PLATFORMS WORLDWIDE – APRIL 2021
1 Facebook: 2.8b
2 YouTube: 2.29b
3 WhatsApp: 2bn
4 FB Messenger: 1.3b
5 Instagram: 1.29b
6 Weixin/Wechat: 1.23b
7 Tiktok: 732m
8 Douyin: 600m
9 Qq: 595m
10 Telegram: 550m
11 Snapchat: 528m
*16 Twitter: 396m*
NIGERIAN GOVTS’ TOP HANDLES ON TWITTER & FOLLOWERS
NAIRALAND VISITORS – last 9 months
Sep 2020: 33.09 million
Oct 2020: 34.67 million
Nov 2020: 29.78 million
Dec 2020: 28.41 million
Jan 2021: 29.45 million
Feb 2021: 25.99 million
Mar 2021: 27 million
Apr 2021: 26.79 million
May 2021: 29.17 million
NAIRALAND TRAFFIC STATISTICS
_Number of Unique Visitors_
Jan 2021: 4.84 million
Feb 2021: 4.29 million
Mar 2021: 4.49 million
Apr 2021: 4.31 million
May 2021: 4.33 million
MEMBERS: 2.69 million
TOPICS: 6.33 million
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