After the heat of the ENDSARS protest, Nigerians woke up on June 5, 2021, to the worrying news that the government officially banned Twitter. This was the country’s first real encounter with an internet clampdown since the controversial bill seeking to regulate social media. The ban was lifted on January 13, 2022, after six months, and Twitter operates freely in Nigeria today. 

But a similar event is currently happening in another African country.

Senegal Is Going Through an Internet Ban. Here’s What You Need to Know

What’s this internet ban in Senegal about?

There’s been a temporary suspension of internet services in Senegal since June 1 due to recent civil unrest and protests in the country. 

The internet ban was part of the government’s effort to maintain stability and security following the unrest that broke out after the sentencing of leading opposition figure, Ousmane Sonko. Sonko was handed a two-year sentence for “corrupting the youth” after getting acquitted on charges of the rape of a masseuse. His supporters, however, protested the sentence while suggesting it was a ploy to prevent him from contesting in the presidential elections scheduled for February 2024.

At the moment, citizens have restricted access to social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram.

How does this affect the people of Senegal?

As of 2023, Senegal is home to an estimated 14.7 million internet users

, representing an 80% penetration. Imagine waking up one day, and suddenly, can’t access your favourite social media platforms, websites, or even communicate easily. Lives and businesses have been affected by the internet ban. The internet ban costs the country over $300k every 60 minutes. 

Are citizens completely shut out?

At the moment, some citizens have managed to stay connected by using paid and free Virtual Private Networks (VPN) services.

Is an internet ban legal?

In some cases, the governments may enforce such restrictions temporarily. For instance, during Nigeria’s Twitter ban, information minister Lai Mohammed in a statement accused the platform of promoting “activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.” In such a case, it’s the government’s prerogative to take actions deemed appropriate to maintain stability and avoid chaos in the country. However, it’s essential to balance these actions with the rights to free speech, access to information, and digital freedom.

What can we do to support those affected by the internet ban in Senegal?

At this moment, it’s important to show solidarity with the people of Senegal by staying informed and spreading awareness about the situation. Senegalese citizens in the diaspora and citizens of other African countries can be involved by amplifying the situation on social media and drawing the attention of the global community. #FreeSenegal is a trending hashtag.

Has the internet ban been lifted in Senegal?

At the time of reporting, the internet ban is still in effect. Zikoko reached out to Camir, a 31-year-old Senegalese resident of the Kuer Massar area and he had this to say.

“Everything is calm at the moment, but the internet hasn’t been fully restored. We still need VPN to access social media, including WhatsApp.”



Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.