By Constance Imasuen
The African Civil Society for the Information Society (ACSIS), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has urged
government to pay more attention to the development of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) in the country.
Mr Peter Akinremi, the ACSIS West Africa Regional Coordinator, made the appeal in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.
Akinremi made the call against the backdrop of the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to decline assent to the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill in
a letter he wrote to the National Assembly, read on the floor of the house on March 20, 2019.
The bill is basically to protect the rights of Nigerian online and internet users from infringement of their fundamental freedoms.
The major objective of the bill is to safeguard the digital liberty of Nigerians now and in the future.
President Buhari, however, said: “I am declining assent to the bill because it seems to cover too many technical subjects in
one text and in the process, it fails to address any of them exhaustively.
“These areas include Surveillance and Data Protection, Lawful Interception of Communications, Data Protection and Retention,
which are currently the subject of various bills pending at the National Assembly.
“We, therefore, suggest that the scope of the bill should be limited to the protection of human rights within the digital environment
to reduce the challenge of duplication and legislative conflict in future.”
But the ACSIS West Africa regional coordinator said that without enabling digital environment and proper legislation put in place,
it would be difficult for the country to compete with counterparts outside the country.
He said “signing the Digital Right Bill will create trust in the digital eco-system because we need to ensure
integrity in the Nigerian Digital environment for people to invest into the country.
“I will say that the decline to assent the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill by the President is a major setback for Nigeria.”
Akinremi, however, appreciated the president “for having the time to read the bill and his willingness to sign, but for the reasons he gave.”
He added that the bill brought greater awareness on digital rights among Nigerians and prompted discussions on
He said “it also gives opportunity for Digital Rights advocates and internet users in the country to come up with
comprehensive bill to address the president’s technical subject.
“However, we are going to work with relevant stakeholders and originators of the bill to address the issued raised by