FG to shutdown online newspapers, blogs and websites identified as threat to national security

There is an alleged attempt by the current administration to gag the press in Nigeria, according to reports.

A report from Nigeria’s newspaper Tribune indicated that there is an agenda to shot down personal blogs, online newspapers, and websites perceived to constitute “threat to national security”. Sunday Tribune can reveal authoritatively that the government, through the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), has engaged the services of a firm in Lagos to block the domain names of “several identified websites threatening national security.” The Office of the National Security Adviser drew the list of the offensive websites and the number is in excess of 21, a memo written by NCC, a copy of which Sunday Tribune got said. The letter, which was dated 20th October, 2017, is a reminder memo to the firm, indicating that other letters had earlier been written to the firm by NCC. The memo was entitled: “Re: Request to Prevent the Commission of an Offence under Section 146 of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003.” It was signed by NCC’s Head, Legal and Regulatory Services, one Yetunde Akinloye, while an official of the agency co-signed on behalf of Engineer Haru Alhassan who is the Director, New Media and Information Security. Reference is made to another letter dated 27th September, 2017 on the aove subject matter, directing the contracted firm “to restrict access to several identified websites threatening national security as identified by the Office of the National Security Adviser.” Further to the said directive, the said firm “…is hereby required to immediately take steps to restrict access within the Nigerian cyberspace in respect of 21 (twenty one) additional websites by blocking the domain names. (The list of websites is attached).” When Tribune contacted Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, the minister said he was not aware of any memo originated from the Nigerian Communication Commission instructing any firm to gag the press, particularly the online newspapers, Internet and social media users or shut them down. Shittu told Sunday Tribune that no instruction would be given to the NCC without such passing through him as the Minister supervising the NCC. “I am sure NCC will never ever write such a memo. I am sure it never happened. “President Muhammadu Buhari or any of the people working for him will never do or encourage anything that will amount to gagging of the press,” he said.

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