DIGITAL-RIGHTS-390x220

Juliana Francis

The project partners of the EU-funded Enhancing Digital Rights in Nigeria (e-RIGHTS) Project on the 30th of May, 2024 convened a high-level technical session on digital rights and policy in Abuja, Nigeria.

The activity organized by Spaces for Change, in partnership with Avocats Sans Frontières France and the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), was aimed at analysing Nigeria’s existing legal framework on digital rights and developing a comprehensive policy guide for legislative considerations.

 

The technical session on digital rights and policy brought together over twenty-five (25) digital rights experts from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), government regulatory agencies, telecommunications companies, fintech companies, the legal profession, the press, and the academic community.

 

Digital rights and data protection are pillars of modern democracy, thus, ensuring that our personal information remains secure and our online freedoms are preserved is essential for maintaining democracy. Safeguarding these rights is not just a legal necessity but a fundamental human right. With the swift evolution of the digital world, the necessity for robust regulatory frameworks has become crucial.

These frameworks play a vital role in curbing harmful activities that jeopardize the well-being of internet users.

Just like physical environments, the digital space requires controls that promote responsible internet use. Nevertheless, there is increasing concern about the potential negative effects regulations could have on the digital rights of citizens in Nigeria.

 

The technical session on digital rights and policy provided an avenue for digital rights experts to review the current deficiencies within Nigeria’s digital legal framework amidst reports that the current legislations are inadequate in dealing with emerging digital technologies and trends, making them more regressive than progressive.

 

Expert opinions gathered from the review will be fused into a comprehensive policy guide. This guide will lay the groundwork for a new legal framework on digital rights, designed to encompass emerging technologies and robustly protect citizens’ digital rights in tandem with national, regional, and international standards.

 

Highlighting the importance of the technical session and the need for improved digital rights policies in Nigeria, the Country Director of ASF France, Mrs. Angela Uwandu Uzoma-Iwuchukwu said “Enhanced digital rights legislation in Nigeria is essential to protect the freedoms and privacy of citizens in online spaces, promote innovation, and ensure equitable access to information and digital services in our rapidly advancing digital society.”

Speaking at the end of the activity, Mr. Kehinde Adegboyega, a member of the digital rights experts and the Founder of the Human Rights Journalist Network expressed his appreciation and support for the project “Our society is in dire need of robust digital rights policies that protect and preserve the rights of Nigerians in digital spaces. I must commend ASF France and the e-RIGHTS project partners for trying to bridge this gap. We expect that this process would contribute to the enhancement of digital rights in Nigeria”

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