It Will Not Happen – Internet Blackout After Election in Nigeria

It Will Not Happen – Internet Blackout After Election in Nigeria

What do you think? Many are postulating that Nigeria can experience digital blackouts (internet will not work, cut off by MTN, Glo, Airtel and 9Mobile) after the presidential election this Saturday.

With less than a week until the Nigerian election, there are mounting fears that access to the internet and social media services could soon be restricted.

The run-up to the vote, which will be held on February 16th, has been plagued by rumours that there are plans to shutdown the internet while the election takes place.


The press release goes on to state that the NSA “remains committed to protecting the rights of the public to access Information and Communication Technology facilities.”

Whether or not this will appease those concerned is unclear. However, with international monitoring and rising domestic political pressure, any attempts to limit internet access in the coming weeks are likely to be met with widespread condemnation.

Honestly, I do not believe it – I think we have gone beyond Cameroon, Congo DRC, Angola, etc on that one. Yet, my colleagues in my office are asking me to approve for contingencies in case Nigeria goes offline.

I do not see digital blackout as a possibility as Nigeria is relatively advanced to do that nonsense they do in some African countries. I believe our government on this one.


Meanwhile, from TC Daily newsletter, we learnt of this link from Quartz on things to do to stay online in case we have internet blackout.

What are you thinking – and planning?

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Prof Ndubuisi Ekekwe, I’m surprised that you think Nigeria’s beyond that. I hope you’re correct, but I never put anything past anyone and any country in this day and age. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Having said that, my reasons for being marginally optimistic are as follows:

* It’ll require a massive coordinated plan for the mobile operators to simultaneously cut off service to the entire country as there’s no single company that controls everything.

* The telcos like their monies and it’ll require so much money for them to be influenced by the political operators to do such a thing. Fortunately for us, the politicians are busy spending those monies in their bids to rig the elections that I doubt that they’d have the appetite to spend the inordinate amounts that might be required to pay off all the telcos if it were doable.

* Even if one or two telcos are paid off, many people have multiple SIM cards and it may not affect the country as significantly unless the companies involved are MTN and Globacom. Then, we’re in trouble.

It’s not impossible, but it’s highly improbable. So, there’s no need to think that a digital blackout is imminent. Besides, what contingency will you put in place? Satellite phones?


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