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Nigerian government refutes wiretap allegations

Nigeria , 19 Apr 2017

Nigerian government refutes wiretap allegations

The Nigerian government has refuted reports swarming social media that it is monitoring and recording telephone calls and social media posts of citizens through the Ministry of Interior Affairs.

The country's Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, described the claims as "classic disinformation".

"There is no regulation, old or new, from the Ministry of Interior or any federal government agency requiring the recording of all calls or the monitoring of social media platforms like WhatsApp, Twitter or Facebook," said Mohammed.

The Minister described those spreading the accusation as individuals who want to depict Nigeria as a country opposed to freedom of speech.

"We thank all Nigerians who have reached out to us in an effort to confirm the authenticity or otherwise of this information, which is now being widely circulated on the social media. This is the best way to ensure that the purveyors of false news do not dominate our media space," Mohammed added.

This is not the first time that the West African country's government has been accused of eavesdropping on its citizens.

When the government announced plans to launch two new satellites in February this year, there was widespread concern over the potential eavesdropping capabilities of the satellites – and this prompted organisations like the Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) to issue strongly-worded statements.

"We believe that the Ministry understands this to be an erosion of the fundamental human rights guaranteed by Section 37 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). With this belief, we are sure that these published allegations are just what they are and contain no truth," said Boye Adegoke, PIN Program Manager.

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