A nongovernmental organization, Media Rights Agenda, MRA has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to speedily sign into law, the Digital Rights and Freedom bill.
The group claimed that the bill, if passed, it would protect the digital rights of Nigerians in accordance with what is happening in other parts of the world.
The Executive Director of MRA, Edetaen Ojo, said in a statement that the bill would ultimately has impacts on the personal and professional lives of every Nigerian who is connected to the internet as well as those who will be connected in the future.
MRA argued that Nigeria has contributed immensely to the development of digital rights at the global stage when in 2012 Nigeria led in co-sponsoring the landmark Resolution on the Promotion, Protection and Enjoyment of Human Rights on the Internet at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, alongside Sweden, the United States, Brazil, Turkey and Tunisia, wherein it was affirmed that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online.
The organization noted that Nigeria’s participation as sponsor of the resolution brought the country tremendous respect and acclaim from around the world.
MRA thus urged the President to speedily give his assent to the bill as it would help in keeping with the groundbreaking direction and guidance which the resolution provided to the global community on human rights online.
Speaking further on the bill, Edetaen expressed that the bill would help in protecting human rights in the digital space.
He said, “The bill when it becomes Law, will bring Nigeria’s domestic law, policy and practices with regards to the protection of human rights on the Internet into conformity with this international norm that we were central as a nation in developing and bequeathing to the global community.”
In addition, Mr. Ojo said, the Digital Rights and Freedom Act will help boost innovation in Nigerian, as well as accelerate the country’s development in the digital age by allowing all Nigerians take maximum advantage of emerging opportunities,
This, the group said, will be beneficial to the government its efforts to ensure the economic growth of Nigeria, including its recent Enabling Business Environment initiative.
The MRA Executive Director also called on stakeholders, especially in the media and civil society actors, to lend their voices to the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill by advocating for speedy presidential assent and subsequently monitor its implementation to ensure that its provisions are applied in practice.