After about three months (94 days) of internet shutdown in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions, the internet has finally been restored.
Tears of joy today #BringBackOurInternet now history. Millions and millions of tweets to show solidarity for those disconnected for 94 days
— Rebecca Enonchong (@africatechie) April 20, 2017
The shutdown occurred after protests by North-West and South-West regions over the imposition of the French language in their schools and courts.
Though the government of Cameroon has had the internet restored, it still claims that it has the right to “take measures to stop the internet once again if becoming a tool to stoke hatred and division among Cameroonians”.
Earlier before the internet was shut down, authorities had informed mobile phone users that they would face jail time for spreading false information.
Several organisations such as the United Nations(UN) and individuals had appealed to the Cameroonian government to restore the internet. One would wonder if the decision to restore the internet is in response to these cries and appeals or rather it is because the economy was already facing loss.
Anglophone Cameroon makes up about 20% of the total population and certainly contributes to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
— Judith Nwana (@judithnwana) April 20, 2017
It is quite instructive that the internet can be used as a manipulation tool by government. This goes to show the immense value which the internet provides. Other facilities such as electricity and water supply, which have alternative self-sustainable means of access, could not have been used to the same effect.
In an interview with Channels TV, two Cameroonians expressed delight at the restoration of the internet:
My god! I am so excited, I feel like am back alive — Cliff Ekinde
It’s like sunshine has come after living in darkness for a long time…..Internet is life — Henry Aduma
For many Cameroonians who run internet-dependent businesses as a source of livelihood, the restoration of the internet, after 94 days of shutdown, must be the best news of the week.