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Can Nigeria afford China’s internet wall to silence online critics?

By Jude Michael
Posted on Friday, 11 June 2021 15:08

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang shakes hands with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, September 5, 2018. Parker Song/Pool via REUTERS

The great internet firewall of China remains the most prominent example of state internet filtering used to control what happens online. President Muhammadu Buhari's administration reportedly wants to take a cue from China to build a similar infrastructure in Nigeria, raising questions as to whether it can afford one and why it wants such a digital blanket in the first place.

Long before the #EndSARS protests, which forced the Nigerian government to commit to initiating security reforms, citizens in the most populous black nation in the world had become used to seeking justice online, as it’s a more efficient avenue than turning to the police or other constituted authorities.