The economy and the situation for political rights in Nigeria have experienced a slight improvement in the last few years, but the country still faces big challenges. Human rights and security are still major concerns in this prominent African nation. Nigeria is the most populous country in the continent and its largest city Lagos, has become a modern center for industrial development with a great variety of businesses and even a vibrant arts scene. The nation also has the highest percentage of internet users in Africa, with over 46% of the population using this technology. While Nigeria is ranked only as partly free by the Freedom House , at the moment there are no blocks on social media websites.
A law that intended to control and monitor social media platforms was received with protests and it was eventually withdrawn in 2016. However, the government restricts freedom of press and journalist often face harassment and arrests, particularly if they are covering stories related to corruption scandals and human rights violations. The Cybercrime Act of 2015 provides the framework that allows government officials to attack the position. In spite of this, the organizations and activists that focus their efforts on online freedom and privacy rights are generally not targeted. They even succeeded in moving forward a proposal for the protection of privacy in Nigeria. The Digital Rights and Freedom Bill in 2016 is a law that falls within Nigeria’s constitution, which guarantees Freedom of Speech and the right to privacy.
However, the law has yet to be implemented and with the increasing concern regarding security and the separatist movement in south-east Nigeria, the government is now introducing legislation that could actually undermine freedom of expression. An example of this is the Terrorism Amendment Act, a response to the secessionist movement, which is a popular topic of online discussions. The Ministry of Justice has also presented a draft executive bill on hate speech. Although the laws are meant to tackle security threats and hate speech, they raise concern about how they could impact the situation of online freedom in Nigeria. Towards the end of 2017, it emerged that the government is planning to block websites and blogs that are deemed as a “threat to national security”.
Even if you are not a journalist or a blogger who expresses political views, there are good reasons to use a VPN to safeguard your connection in Nigeria. Accessing the internet in Nigeria is still difficult, although some progress has been made, the infrastructure remains unreliable and underdeveloped. You may find public WiFi hotposts and this is when you need to be particularly careful and use a VPN. With a VPN, your online traffic is encrypted, which prevents scammers to get access to your financial information. When your traffic is encrypted, the data is scrambled and impossible to read. As such, a VPN is a valuable tool to defend yourself against cybercrime, which is rampant in Nigeria. With a VPN, you can also enhance your online anonymity.
Online anonymity and security are crucial, specially when you consider that the laws against copyright infringement are enforced in Nigeria. The country has a thriving entertainment industry and there is a dedicated police force, as well as a board of prosecutors that focus on tackling online piracy. While they are mainly concerned about large cases that involve content produced in Nigeria, even individual users who download content from a different country, could be prosecuted. A VPN allows you to keep your traffic and your identity protected. Your IP address and location are changed when you connect to a VPN server, which allows you to be very difficult to trace. Just make sure that you opt for a VPN that keeps no logs of your activities. Another benefit of using a VPN in Nigeria is that you will be able to unblock content that is only available in other countries like the United States. Here are the best options for internet users in Nigeria who want to enjoy online freedom and privacy.
Top VPN Services for Nigeria
NordVPN offers a high level of security and it has a zero logs policy. They don’t monitor or record any information about your connection or activities. NordVPN offers strong encryption to keep your data protected and it supports security features like double VPN and Tor over VPN. NordVPN has servers in some countries in Africa and it offers ultra fast servers. Like the other providers you will find in the list, NordVPN allows P2P, you just need to connect to the servers that are optimized for that.
One of the fastest, most reliable and secure solutions available in the VPN industry is ExpressVPN. This provider has extensive experience offering high quality service and its software offers advanced technology, as well as all the features needed to secure your traffic and defeat online restrictions. ExpressVPN has servers in over 90 countries and its high level of encryption will allow you to keep your information protected from hackers, eavesdroppers and online surveillance organizations. ExpressVPN doesn’t keep logs of your internet traffic and it offers great speeds.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access has over 3000 servers in 25 countries and while they don’t have options in Africa at the moment, the high security and good selection of features supported make it another option worth considering. Private Internet Access is also one of the most affordable solutions that you can get. Its yearly plan costs only $39.95 USD, which means that you only pay $3.33 per month. PIA doesn’t keep logs of your online activities and it supports features like Kill Switch, which is designed to ensure that your real IP address is not exposed, even if the VPN connections suddenly drops.