July 5, 2013
The Federal Ministry of Information on Friday announced that it had fought off an attack, on Thursday night, on the nation’s official web portal, Nigeria.gov.ng , by a group of gay activists.
In a statement signed by the press secretary to the Information Minister, Joseph Mutah, the ministry revealed that the same group was responsible for recent attacks on other countries’ official websites.
The attack, the ministry said, was meant as a blackmail, to pressure these countries into legalising gay activities.
Mr. Mutah stated that the Information Ministry is stepping up security on the web portal to prevent future attacks while liasing with security agencies to investigate Thursday’s security breach. He admonished those seeking to impose gay rights in the country to legally and constitutionally express their opinions as the Nigerian government will not condone any violation of the law in the name of activism.
He emphasised that Nigeria is a full fledged democratic state with a healthy guarantee of freedom of opinion to all citizens; hence, it is criminal for anyone within or outside the country to use criminal means to express their opinions.
“Nigeria is a highly cultured and religious society whose people remain overwhelmingly opposed to the imposition of gay rights and gay marriages as practised in some countries,” he added.
An Irish hacker, angered by Nigeria’s stance on homosexuality, has attacked Nigeria’s official government website in an attempt to coerce President Goodluck Jonathan to veto a bill seeking to jail homosexuals.
The attack happened on Thursday night and normalcy only returned to the site at about 11.00 p.m. on Thursday. It is not known whether it was the government that regained control or whether the attackers simply suspended the attack.
The anti-gay bill, passed by Nigeria’s National Assembly and generously supported by Nigerians, seeks to jail convicted homosexuals for 14 years.
“Nobody should live in fear of being jailed, when their only action is loving another consenting adult, regardless of gender,” the Irish hacker, Paddyhack said.
A message left on the defaced website gave the president 72 hours to “renounce and veto this Bill…”
“Failure to follow our order will unleash a torrent of fury aimed directly at the direction of your administration, starting with some startling but unsurprising evidence of corruption in your ranks,”the hacker, who also claims to be a member of the global Anonymous group, said.
“No need to start destroying evidence. I already have it,” the hacker declared.
The hacked website, Nigeria.gov.ng, is Nigeria’s official website. It is the equivalent of UK’s gov.uk and U.S’ USA.gov. It is managed by Nigeria’s information ministry.
The Thursday night attack was a continuation of an #opNigeria the attacker launched on July 1. Despite announcing his intention hours before hijacking the website, Nigeria’s Information Ministry’s web administrators appear unable to avert the attack.
“Just over two hours to launch of #OpNigeria,” the attacker announced in his twitter diary.
The spokesperson of the ministry, Joseph Mutuah, could not explain the attacks when pressed for reasons the government is unable to provide appropriate security for its web infrastructure.
He likened it to armed robbers breaking into one’s property. “They are hackers,” he said.
The ICT department of the Information Ministry received N63.5 million from the national treasury this year. Of this amount, N10 million was set aside for the management of the website.