Nigeria’s government restricts staff on social media use

Lagos State Government in Nigeria has issued a stern warning to civil servants who spend much of their time browsing and interacting on social media during office hours. The government Internet servers within the State Secretariat, Alausa have now been cut off social networking sites.

Internet browsing, provided to the staff for free by the state government, is said to have interfered in the productivity of the civil servants.

Lagos government staff members’ practice of spending much time on social Internet is reported to have attracted the Lagos State Government attention.

Some of the staff members would report to work at 7a.m. and spend much of the day browsing rather than carrying out their official duties, according to reports.

Government officials, led by the heads of Information Technology unit, had last week offered a directive that the access to social networking sites be cut off.

With effect from Monday, the staff would no longer be able to access their social networking sites’ accounts using the government issued computers as the system has been programmed in such a way that “if a user tries logging into their personal account either on Facebook, Twitter, an option asking for your user name and password pops out.” This will make it difficult to log in without being identified.

The move does however not restrict access to email accounts such as Gmail and Yahoomail.

Critics to the move however argue that the directive would not hinder the staff from accessing the sites as a large portion of them own SNS-enabled smartphone devices. The sites can in addition be accessed by staff owning Internet modems.

Last year, the government issued a directive that access to cable television in government offices at the Alausa Secretariat be restricted citing similar reasons.

Nigeria is a federal constitutional republic comprising of 36 states in West Africa. It is Africa’s most populous country with over 170 million people.

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