“Nairaland is trying to recover from an attack that led to data loss. Please bear with us.”
That is the message displayed on the home page of Popular Nigerian forum and online community, Nairaland which went offline on 22 June, 2014 leaving a lot of users loyal to the site very frustrated. Nairaland was created by Seun Osewa in March 2005 who did not reveal much on the outage. Seun Osewa simply said on both his Facebook and Twitter accounts: ” I am sorry” when the site went offline which sparked a lot of comments from Nairalanders asking for the site to come back.
Later on, Osewa dropped a bombshell via a tweet saying Nairaland might not be back online anytime soon which increased more fear among lovers of the forum.
It may be worse than you think. It may take much longer than you expect.
— Seun Osewa (@seunosewa) June 23, 2014
Osewa has been very vague and non responsive to all sorts of questions, but judging from his tweets, the current situation of Nairaland is beyond him. Osewa later tweeted another apology to Nairaland users, apologising for letting them down.
We failed to protect what you entrusted to us. We tried, but we failed. We wish we would have been the only ones affected by our failure.
— Seun Osewa (@seunosewa) June 24, 2014
Speculation about the cause of the site going offline has been wide and mostly, unfounded. Some users speculate that Nairaland is a victim of a hacker attack, while some pointed out the site went offline just after the Ekiti gubernatorial election results were released and it might be a government takedown. One user wrote on the Facebook page of Nairaland: “I think Nairaland has been reported as a fraudulent site and has been blocked. It will probably take a long while for the site to come back. This blockage may not be unconnected with the Ogapatapata visa racketeering case”
Judging from the message on the homepage, it will seem the cause might be closer to a hacker attack than any of the other speculated reasons. As of the time of this writing, the posts on the site were outdated with the latest being posts from January 2014
Nairaland has over 1,229,600 registered accounts (April 2014), and is ranked as the 7th most visited site in Nigeria (and the most visited indigenous site) according to Alexa.com.