The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) have indicated readiness to partner with Avocats Sans Frontieres (ASF) France to protect Nigerians’ digital rights.
This is in line with the soft infrastructure pillar of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS 2020-2030), which is part of the efforts to strengthen consumer confidence in the use of digital technologies and digital economy.
The Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta and Malam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director-General/CEO of NITDA, gave the assurance Wednesday, March 29, 2023, at the launch of e-Rights Project by ASF France, in Abuja, FCT
Olatunji who was represented on the occasion, said as countries across the globe march to the ever-increasing tempo of technological advancement in the 4th Industrial Revolution, the need to safeguard the rights of citizens must be addressed with the keenest sense of equity and justice.
The Deputy Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Nigeria and ECOWAS, Alexandre Borges-Gomes stated that the new technologies could contribute significantly to the protection and promotion of human rights and democracy and make public participation easier and more effective. He also noted this could also be abused in the process.
“In this context, the e-Rights project is strategic because it aims at promoting people’s rights in the digital space in Nigeria, he added.
According to him, digital rights are all about freedom of expression and privacy and an extension of human rights for the internet age.”
The Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) assured that the regulatory agencies would support ASF France, also known as Lawyers Without Borders France, on achieving the objectives of the project, agency report said.
The event was organized by the Lawyers Without Borders France in partnership with Centre for Technology and Development (CITAD) and Spaces for Change (S4C).
Speaking at the project launch, Prof. Danbatta, represented by Mr. Chidi Dingwu, Head of New Media and Information Security at NCC, said the project was the latest intervention in promoting the fulfilment of human rights in Nigeria.
Angela Uzoma-Iwuchukwu, Country Director of ASF France, referred to the project as the latest human rights initiative of the organisation funded by the EU.
She said the organisation “is canvassing that all the rights that are respected offline to equally be respected online.
On the Protection of consumers’ digital rights imperative, Malam Abdullahi, represented on the occasion by Mr. Emmanuel Edet, Head of Legal Unit at NITDA, referencing recent statistics, said about 84 million Nigerians had access to the Internet.
The DG, NITDA the statistics indicated that the number of Internet users in the country had grown astronomically.
He noted that the need for the protection of consumers’ digital rights could not be over-emphasised.
Abdullahi also advocated the need for every stakeholder to collaborate to ensure that digital space is safe in Nigerian cyberspace.
NITDA is working with NCC and others to develop child rights protection in the digital space, he stated.
Abdullahi also declared that he aligned totally with the e-Rights Project towards ensuring that this is adequately and properly applied in the country.
Also speaking at the event, Mr. Anthony Ojukwu, Executive Secretary of NHRC, said he was always inclined to associate with any programme aimed at protecting human rights.
“So there is the need to address the challenges and annex the potential of digital space,” stated he.
Ojukwu agreed there is a need for legislation that will help safeguard the digital space in the country.
In his address at the event, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, CEO of NDPB, was quoted to have said with the huge population of Internet users, effort must be made to safeguard consumers’ rights in the digital space.