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Digital Rights: Surveillance, Interception Must Be Lawful- PIN

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Participants at a workshop on Digital Rights and Cybercrimes have called for increased capacity building for law enforcement agencies on handling issues related to cybercrimes in Nigeria.

The workshop, organized by Paradigm Initiative in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Justice recently, focused primarily on section 24 and 38 of the Nigeria’s Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015 and called for respect of the citizens’ digital right especially with regards digital surveillance and call interceptions.

According to Adeboye Adegoke, program manager at Paradigm Initiative, “the focus on the two sections was deliberate. We focused on those sections because they are prone to be misapplied to infringe on the digital rights and freedoms of citizens, especially freedom of expression and privacy online.

“Section 24, in particular, has already been cited in more than ten documented cases of alleged illicit arrest and abuse of rights. Provisions of Sections 24 and 38 of the Act were examined at the workshop as they are believed to be threats to digital rights in Nigeria.  Section 24 poses a threat to freedom of expression online while section 38 gives security agencies the right to hold on to citizen’s information, thereby violating their rights to privacy of their information online.”

The workshop which provided an opportunity for participants to review cases of arrests related to sections 24 and 38 of the Act and the effects of these arrests on citizens. Participants were drawn from the Nigerian Police Force and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from various states in Nigeria and the FCT.

Mr ‘Gbenga Sesan, executive director, Paradigm Initiative while introducing participants to Digital Rights, highlighted the importance of the internet to democratic participation in Nigeria, and stressed that though rights in the digital realm exist, they are not respected. He spoke on the provisions in the Cybercrimes Act 2015 that give law enforcement agents access to citizen’s data and how these provisions are prone to abuse.

He illustrated with examples of ways in which files in government offices and Nigerian courts are currently being handled.

According to him, “Surveillance and Interception must be lawful, with clearly stated procedures and clear judicial oversight to avoid abuse. Respect for human rights in the day to day activities of law enforcement officers helps to foster citizen and security agency cooperation. It is well known that countries that focus on innovation rather than clampdowns avail themselves huge economic opportunities. This can be seen through the relationship between the GDP of those countries and the level of internet penetration and internet freedom”.

Also speaking to participants at the training, Mr. George-Maria Tyendezwa, head, Computer Crime Prosecution Unit at Federal Ministry of Justice stressed that we must differentiate between libel and slander from cyberstalking, and that one-time acts don’t constitute stalking mentioned in Section 24.

He advised anyone that feels defamed not to use the apparatus of the state to oppress anyone but to go to court for remedy

According to Tope Ogundipe, director of Programs at Paradigm Initiative, “we believe that law enforcement agents who participated in the workshop are better equipped in handling and managing cases involving Cybercrime as a result of this workshop. Our objective is to ensure that the Cybercrimes Act 2015 does not become an instrument of oppression in the hands of the powerful using security agencies as tools.”

The workshop was attended by operatives from Abuja, Bauchi, Gombe, Nasarawa, Rivers, Kano, Lagos, Enugu and the FCT.

Participants at the recent workshop on Digital Rights and Cybercrimes by Paradigm Initiative in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Justice recently.

 


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Kashifu Abdullahi Blazes the Trail at NITDA as Director General

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National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is a federal government agency saddled with the responsibility of developing and ensuring the growth of information technology in the country. The agency formulates policies and programmes to achieve this mandate which is supervised by its director general.

Over the years, the agency has witnessed several director generals who during their tenure have made impacts towards the growth and development of information technology. But, the current director general in the person of Mallam Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi has distinguished himself with several accomplishments within the short period of taking over as the helmsman at the agency.

Come Wednesday August 20, 2020 will mark his first 365 days in office, having been appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR  on August 20, 2019, Mallam Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi has been able to implement notable regulatory instruments: like Nigeria e-Government Interoperability Framework (Ne-GIF); Nigeria Cloud Computing Policy (NCCP);Nigeria ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vision (NIIEV);Framework and Guidelines for ICT adoption in Tertiary Institutions; Guidelines for Nigeria Content Development ICT as amended; and Data Protection Implementation Framework.

Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi is a Technology expert with over fourteen years of working experience in Information Technology operations, business transformation and solution architecture, across both private and public sectors.

He graduated with Bachelor of Technology degree in Computer Science from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi State, Nigeria and was Massachusetts Institute of Technology trained as MIT Sloan strategist.

As the world and Nigeria grapple with the effects of COVID-19 and its attendant dire economic impacts on the global economy, the agency under Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi leadership has embarked on strategic projects to ensure that our economy recover from the effects of the pandemic.

The landmark initiatives launched to cushion the effects of the pandemic and ensure that technology continues to enable business continuity were:

Tech4COVID19 Initiative – This initiative was launched to measure the impact of COVID-19 on the tech ecosystem and proffer solutions especially for startups. The Committee set-up by the agency came up with a Strategic Plan to ensure that the country retains about 100,000 ICT Jobs and create an additional 30,000 in the Post COVID-19 Era.

Virtual Startup Clinic – This initiative was setup to gather Startups, mostly young people to meet with mentors, successful entrepreneurs, investors, industry specialists, business consultants and hub operators with the goal of solving problems and challenges they were facing.

Nigeria COVID-19 Innovation Challenge– This is an online innovation challenge held to meet the challenges the country is facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the inaugural challenge 5 startups with highly innovative ideas were selected for the final challenge and 3 of them were selected for further incubation. A support of ₦1 000,000, ₦750,000 and ₦500,000 were won by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd winners respectively.

NITDA Technology Innovation & Entrepreneurship Support Scheme– This is a scheme to support startups and hubs across the country. With over 120 hubs in Nigeria, NITDA is finalizing plans to ensure rapid intervention is provided for hubs and startups based on competence and carefully selected criteria.

SMART Agric Project- This is an initiative by the agency which aims to engage farmers and focus on using precision/smart farming to ensure significant improvement in crop yield, quality of farm produce, efficiency and productivity; increased profit margin, harvest forecast, sales of farm produce and eco-friendly agriculture practice. During this pandemic, we have engaged 130 farmers on this Project.

NITDA Academy– This is a platform for virtual learning where thousands of young Nigerians can have access to a wide range of educational courses and tools online, this basically addresses challenges students face in assessing educational materials.

Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi at recent event said that his administration will focus on implementing a strategic roadmap for the development of Nigeria’s IT sector, which consists of 7 pillars that are in alignment with the 8 pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy & Strategy.

According to him, “The 7 key pillars of our Roadmap are IT Regulation, Capacity Building, Digital Inclusion, Digital Job Creation, Government Digital Service Promotion, Local Content Development, and Cybersecurity.

“We have rolled out several policies, regulations, and programmes, focusing on those areas.

“However, as the roadmap is set to expire this year as the Nigeria Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which it draws from.

“We have already commenced reviewing it as well as developing the next plan, which will soon be launched.

“It is in alignment with and takes cognizance of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) and other important plans and policies of this administration”.

Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi will no doubt leave an indelible footprint at NITDA and the Nigeria IT space. His unprecedented records of achievements within first one year in office are a testament of his contribution and support to the growth and development of the ICT Sector in Nigeria.


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NCC Says COVID-19 Presents Opportunities and Challenges

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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that the Covid 19 pandemic has also drastically changed communication and interaction with digital platforms becoming the norm for carrying out official and personal activities.

NCC Says COVID-19 Presents Opportunities and Challenges

Prof Umar Danbatta, EVC, NCC

Dr. Ikeckukwu Adinde, director, Public Affairs, NCC, who stated this during a virtual meeting with online media journalists yesterday, also said that the digital media environment has brought about new opportunities and challenges for online journalists.

Adinde, said that “One of the many benefits of what you do as an online journalist is the real-time dissemination of information and the immediacy it involves.

“The availability of online news 24/7 and its accessibility and availability to consumers make your work very important, you are therefore constantly faced with the challenge of not only reporting events real-time, sometimes, but balancing that need for speed with the accuracy and integrity demanded by your profession.” He added.

According to him, “the communications sector and telecoms, in particular, is indeed the most vibrant and dynamic sector of the economy  and requires excellent leadership and stewardship, no wonder  President Muhammadu Buhari recently approved the reappointment of Prof. Umar Danbatta as the EVC/CEO of the NCC for another term of five years which has since been  confirmed by the Senate.“

The fate of Nigeria’s telecommunications industry has yet again been entrusted to a tested and trusted hand and you have a role to play to ensure factual reportage of the Commissions activities and initiatives.

He said that the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), the New National Broadband Plan (2020-2025), the NCC Strategic Management Plan (2020-2024), creation of the Digital Economy Department all underscore the policy directions of the Federal Government which the NCC is expected to drive working with the supervising ministry and other relevant industry stakeholders to extend the frontiers of the digital economy for Nigerians.

The director also solicited the  continuous support of the journalists in the area of enlightening the general public on the various consumer-centric regulatory initiatives of the Commission.

“As our online media partners, I urge you to constantly visit the NCC’s official website (www.ncc.gov.ng) which is a repository of information and necessary latest statistics on the performance of the telecommunications industry” headed.


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Mondia Pay Records 5.3Bn Transactions as More Telcos Join

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Mondia Pay, Mondia’s digital payment entity, announced that it recently onboarded a series of new clients and is fast becoming the preferred digital payment solutions provider for telecom operators across Africa. Mondia Pay registered 5.3 billion transactions on its platform last year with telcos across the continent.

A leader in digital platform services, Mondia Pay enjoys partnerships with operators in South Africa, Botswana, Liberia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Sudan, Guinee, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal where it provides telcos with the best billing integration, bundling deals, user engagement and subscriber acquisition services.

Mondia Pay’s success with African telcos can be attributed to the flexibility of its business model which caters to different operator requirements. Subscribers can access premium content, customise their bundle offers and select the payment options that work for them in a fast and secure environment.

Mondia Pay is in the process of onboarding several new partners in Nigeria and the company is now working on launching solutions with telecom operators in Kenya, Mozambique, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burkina Faso.

“We are extremely pleased about Mondia Pay’s success in Africa as it reflects our experience working with over 80 telcos across the world and demonstrates our leadership credentials in the digital payment solutions space,” said Simon Rahmann, CEO of Mondia Pay.

“Smartphone adoption in Sub-Saharan Africa is set to rise to 66% by 2025 (GSMA) which means that access to online services will continue to grow exponentially. The African operators we are talking to are all seeing an increase in payment purchases for digital services and they are keen to get ahead of the curve to capitalise on this opportunity.”

Mondia is an industry leader in content and entertainment services for audience acquisition and engagement. The company helps its partners monetise their entire customer base across mobile, web and apps through innovative and engaging digital experiences.


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