The federal government has set aside N4.8 billion for the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to monitor WhatsApp, an encrypted messaging application, and Thuraya, a satellite telephone.
The was contained in the supplementary 2021 budget recently passed by the national assembly.
This won’t come as a surprise to many Nigerians because the Buhari regime has been looking for means to regulate social media.
The regime banned Twitter from operating in Nigeria for deleting the president’s tweets that fell foul of the social media platform’s policies.
This was what the regime had always wanted since the #EndSARS protest against police brutality. Twitter served as a viable platform to project, spread, and promote the message of the protests that gripped the country in October 2020.
The money budgeted to monitor WhatsApp and Thuraya might be for security purposes. However, many Nigerians do not trust the regime due to its antecedents. It might just be used to clamp down on opposition and silent dissident groups.