A new crackdown by the Nigerian government has left internet users exposed to online attacks and even death threats.
The new policy, announced on Sunday, is aimed at curbing the online expression of anti-government sentiment and other forms of extremism in the country.
The government has imposed a total of five new “anti-terrorism” measures since the end of March, and in recent days, it has also imposed restrictions on social media and online news websites, as well as news channels and websites that publish videos and images, according to Nigerian news outlet News24.
The most prominent measure was the ban on social networking sites and mobile phone apps, which was initially imposed on Twitter and Facebook but was later extended to YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites, as News24 reported.
It has also barred some online news sites from running in the evening and on weekends.
The ban also targets news websites that provide links to videos and pictures.
It is unclear how the government plans to implement these measures, but it has previously imposed restrictions in the name of fighting terrorism.
In a statement, the government said it was taking all necessary measures to protect citizens’ rights and security.
“The government is making every effort to safeguard the safety of its citizens,” the statement said.
“As part of the efforts to combat terrorism, the Government has decided to impose strict measures on the internet.
We are working to protect our citizens from cyber crime.”
The new restrictions are designed to protect internet users from potential attacks, the statement continued.
The new measures include:• banning the sharing of news and information on social networks, websites and video sharing platforms, including Twitter and YouTube, which are used to distribute videos and photos;• banning online news and news-related information and publications on social platforms, such as Facebook and Google;• restricting access to certain websites and media outlets, including Al Jazeera and CNN;• prohibiting the use of the internet for any activity that would incite violence, and prohibiting access to websites and content on social platform platforms that promote or encourage violence;• blocking access to specific news websites and websites based on their content, including news websites based in Nigeria, Al Jazeera, Aljazeera English and Al Arabiya English;• limiting the ability of certain social media platforms to operate;• curbing access to social media content from certain news sites based in the United Arab Emirates;• requiring certain media outlets to remove certain content from their websites, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter;• mandating that news websites publish more often than once a day, and posting a warning on the front page, and on their website, and making the content available on YouTube and other video sharing websites, and social media websites;• and requiring that certain news websites provide additional content, such in-depth analysis, and the ability to comment on the content.
“In order to preserve the safety and security of our citizens, the authorities have imposed these measures to combat the spread of extremism and to safeguard against cyber crime,” the government statement continued, citing the country’s cyber crime task force.
“They are also trying to maintain public confidence in the state’s efforts against terrorism and extremist activities and to curb the spread and use of social media to spread extremist messages,” it added.
The announcement comes as Nigeria is currently in the midst of a massive national security campaign that aims to combat a wave of terrorism, including the deadly attack on the country on March 16, 2016, that killed more than 150 people.
Nigeria is the latest country to see a crackdown by President Muhammadu Buhari, who has taken to the media to assert his authority and to criticize opposition politicians, and critics say he has gone far beyond the authorities’ stated aims to stamp out violent extremism.
Buhari has repeatedly accused the opposition of seeking to destabilize the country, and has promised to crack down on terrorism.