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NHRC will resist violation of digital rights – Executive Sec

The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Anthony Ojukwu, says the commission will do everything to protect the digital rights of Nigerians.

However, he noted that the right must be used responsibly.

Ojukwu spoke at a programme organised by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Projects in Ikeja, Lagos on Wednesday.

The programme was with the theme: “Restrictions on Data and Digital Rights in Nigeria.” The event also featured SERAP’s report launch and interactive session on “Promoting Citizens’ Access to Information, Data and Digital Rights in Nigeria.”

Ojukwu said, “Data issues and digital rights issues are things that concern every one of us and we must establish keen interest. But there has been this constant urge on the part of even the government to seek restriction of the civic space and some of us in the human rights work have been fighting against this. Every single bill that has been presented at the National Assembly wanting to restrict the civic space has been fought to a standstill by all of us here in the civil society.”

He, however, said, “There’s no doubt that there is a need for responsibility in handling our digital rights issues.” “I urge every one of us to put in our best to make sure that our data and digital rights are protected but we should exercise our rights with responsibility.” He commended SERAP for “building an enviable reputation for itself,” he added.

Also speaking, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, said access to information encourages citizens’ active participation in governance.

Fagbemi, who was represented by Garba Godwin at the programme, said the rights of the citizens to access information was supported by the constitution of Nigeria and it “ensures active involvement of people in governance.”

On his part, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, urged citizens to engage their political leaders at their respective constituencies and not just engage them at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Falana said, “Like what SERAP is doing, don’t just attack people in Abuja. They collect money for constituency meetings. Ask for meetings and for people in Lagos let us start with Lagos, let us invite members of the House of Representatives and Senate to justify what they are doing in Abuja.”