Avocats Sans Frontieres (ASF) France has launched a new e-Rights Project aimed at protecting the digital rights of Nigerians. During the launch event in Abuja, the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) expressed their readiness to support the initiative.
ASF France is also known as Lawyers Without Borders France, and the project is aimed at promoting the rights of individuals to information, freedom of expression, privacy, and data protection while engaging online.
The NCC and NITDA emphasised the need to protect digital rights as the country works towards becoming a leading digital economy. With over 84 million Nigerians having access to the internet, stakeholders must collaborate to safeguard the digital space.
During the launch, Prof. Danbatta, represented by Chidi Dingwu, the Head of New Media and Information Security, explained that in order to transform Nigeria into a leading digital economy providing a quality life and digital opportunities for all, it is imperative that the people’s confidence in the use of digital technologies is strengthened, as stipulated in the soft infrastructure pillar of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS 2020-2030). This pillar addresses the importance of cybersecurity, digital rights, data protection, and privacy frameworks and guidelines that encourage citizens to embrace the opportunities offered by digital technologies, with the aim of repositioning the Nigerian Economy.
As technology advances, the digital and other user rights in communications and electronic media are becoming more significant in society. Therefore, there is a need to protect these rights. Prof. Danbatta acknowledged the drive of ASF France to promote the rights of individuals to information, freedom of expression, privacy, and data protection as they engage online. He stressed that as the country continues to boost confidence and trust in its digital economy through fruitful deliberation and conversations, all hands must be on deck to safeguard the people’s rights to information, freedom of expression, privacy, and data protection, in the context of digital technologies, especially the internet.
The Executive Secretary of NHRC, Anthony Ojukwu, expressed his inclination to associate with any program aimed at protecting human rights. He stressed the need to address the challenges and harness the potentials of the digital space. He also called for legislation that would help safeguard the digital space.
Alexandre Borges-Gomes, Deputy Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Nigeria and ECOWAS, said that new technologies can contribute significantly to the protection and promotion of human rights and democracy and make public participation easier and more effective.
ASF France emphasised that all rights respected offline should be respected online.