MRA urges Buhari to sign digital rights bill
Media Rights Agenda (MRA) yesterday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill into law, as it would remain a good legacy of his administration.
According to the group, by swiftly assenting to the bill, which was submitted by the National Assembly on February 5, 2019, Buhari would be confirming his administration’s support for Internet freedom for Nigerians.
The executive director, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, in a statement, described the proposed law as “a strong piece of legislation that conforms strongly to global norms and standards and will effectively protect the rights of Nigerians on the Internet and in the digital environment.”
The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on December 19, 2017 and the Senate on March 13, 2018, but was transmitted to the president on February 5, due to a clerical error in the version passed, which the National Assembly had to fix.
Ojo said, “The bill provides a comprehensive framework for the advancement, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet and in the digital environment, consistent with Nigeria’s regional and international obligations under various international human rights instruments, some of which Nigeria has led in bringing into being by co-sponsoring.”
He said the digital rights and freedom act would help boost an innovative environment for Nigerians, as well as accelerate the country’s development in the digital age, allowing Nigerians to take advantage of emerging opportunities.
It will also be beneficial to the government in its efforts to grow the country’s economy, he added.
His words: “The bill, when it becomes law, will bring Nigeria’s domestic law, policy and practices, with regard 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.”
MRA also called on all other stakeholders, especially the media, civil society and the business community, to lend their voices to the advocacy for speedy presidential approval and subsequently monitor its implementation and practice.
He applauded Paradigm Initiative, which coordinated the multi-stakeholder efforts that led to the development and drafting of the bill and its speedy passage by the National Assembly, saying it has once again demonstrated the power of civil society to positively affect the fortunes of Nigerians.