Accountability Lab Nigeria launches policies to address data and digital rights issues

From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

Accountability Lab Nigeria, a Data and Digital Rights Coalition, on Monday, launched four policy briefs that were designed to assist stakeholders in addressing Nigeria’s crucial data and digital right issues.

Ehi Idakwo, Programmes and Learning Manager, Accountability Lab Nigeria, told journalists at a press conference, in Abuja, on Monday, that the four policy briefs were designed to provide insights into the work of protecting access to information in Nigeria.

She added the policy briefs would, expectedly, enhance accountability in surveillance practices, implementing data protection measures to safeguard against surveillance abuse in Nigeria, thus strengthening data protection.

She said the highlight of the policy briefs include combating online censorship; enhancing accountability in surveillance practices; strengthening data protection; and implementation of data protection measures to safeguard against surveillance abuse in Nigeria.

“These policy briefs are critical to taking control of our data, while shaping Nigeria’s safe and inclusive digital future and commemorating Data Privacy Week, which is a global effort to empower citizens and businesses to respect privacy, safeguard data, and enable trust,” she said.

Country Director, Accountability Lab Nigeria, Friday Odeh, in his remarks, explained that the policy briefs shed light on the growing adoption of unregulated digital technologies and policies in Nigeria, particularly section 24 of the Cybercrimes Act. “These amplify the threats to freedom of speech, the erosion of data protection and digital privacy rights, as well as civil liberties.

“The policy briefs further advocated an urgent and comprehensive review of existing legislations, and the formulation of new laws such as the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill, emphasizing the need for well-informed judicial oversight to govern and rectify digital practices that impede civil liberties.”

He described the Nigeria’s National Data Protection Act 2023 as a commendable legal framework for safeguarding personal data. “However, with its principles for responsible provisions on individual data rights, the legislation will instill trust in the digital ecosystem and align the nation’s data protection practices with global standards.”

He highlighted the need for a balanced economic growth, as targeted by the National Data Protection Commission (NDPC), with revenue goal of N125 billion and job creation objective of approximately 500,000 jobs under a new data protection strategy, and upholding citizens’ data protection and privacy rights.

Meanwhile, Blessing Anolaba, Communications Officer, Accountability Lab, Nigeria, in her remarks, said the issue of data protection is huge and critical to the accountability organization.

“This is because we support the global effort to empower citizens and businesses to respect privacy, safeguard data and enable trust, thus shaping the future of data,” she said.



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