The presidency has reportedly met with the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) to discuss building an internet firewall for Nigeria.
According to FIJ, the officials at the meeting include Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to the President, and Lai Mohammed, the 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.
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”.