The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has expressed its support for the Avocats Sans Frontiers (ASF) France and its project – supported by the European Union – to enhance digital rights in Nigeria, known as e-RIGHTS.
During a meeting with the organisation’s delegation led by the ASF vice president, Ivan Paneff in his office, the director- general of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi emphasised the need for regulations to evolve as technology advances in order to establish an enabling environment for the enjoyment of digital rights in Nigeria.
Abdullahi expressed concern about the alarming rate of risk and threats that technology poses to humanity. He noted that data is being gathered on our lifestyles and choices, which is used to project options for further searches. He argued that big tech companies have become more powerful than sovereign nations, which poses a threat to democracy. He emphasised the need to regulate cyberspace to prevent big techs from having unaccountable power over individuals.
Abdullahi emphasised that connectivity should be a right, not a luxury.
He stated that NITDA is focusing on providing regulatory instruments that will help increase accountability, such as the code of practice for interactive platforms.
Paneff elaborated on the e-RIGHTS project, which aims to promote the rights of Nigerians in the digital space, address challenges posed by new technologies, and harness opportunities. The project is expected to respond directly to the needs of Nigerian youths, activists, journalists, online news platforms, bloggers, social media influencers, human rights defenders and active citizens to have access to free and open internet.
Paneff noted that digital rights are human rights that are applicable in the digital sphere. He agreed with Abdullahi that government, businesses, and individuals must demonstrate uttermost respect for human rights offline and online.
The e-RIGHTS project will provide a safe online platform for human rights defenders to report and monitor issues of digital rights breaches, including data privacy breaches, cyber threats, internet shutdowns and threats to the social media space.
The project will be implemented in partnership with Spaces for Change and Centre for Information Technology Development (CITAD) in four implementation areas, including the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Imo states.
In conclusion, the support of NITDA for the e-RIGHTS project is a significant step towards protecting digital rights in Nigeria. The project will provide a safe online platform for individuals and organisations to report and monitor digital rights breaches, and it will help increase accountability among stakeholders.
The implementation of the project, in partnership with Spaces for Change and CITAD, will ensure that the project responds directly to the needs of Nigerian youths, activists, journalists, online news platforms, bloggers, social media influencers, human rights defenders and active citizens.