Nigerian digital rights violations increased after the 2023 elections - Lawyers without borders

Nigerian digital rights violations increased after the 2023 elections - Lawyers without borders
Lawyers Without Borders, or Avocats Sans Frontières France (ASF France), has claimed that instances of human rights violations on the internet in Nigeria have gotten worse as a result of the general elections of 2023 and the legal cases that followed the poll.

The organization noted that just as human rights are historically protected offline, they should equally be respected and protected online, while emphasizing the need to educate Nigerians about digital rights.

Angela Uwandu Uzoma-Iwuchukwu, the Country Director of ASF France, made this statement on Monday in Abuja during the e-rights workshop for judges and attorneys on digital rights.

According to her, "If you look at the population of Nigeria and also look at key incidents like the elections and everything that happened during the electioneering phase, including building up to the tribunal's and the appeal courts' judgments, you might also have triggered an increase in digital rights violations." We now know that all of that has not only influenced civic engagement by giving young people a platform to actively participate, but it has also exacerbated the nation's violations of digital rights in a number of ways.

In order to compare Nigeria to other nations that haven't held elections, we can look at some of these statistics. We also know that this is one of the main issues that the public may want to keep an eye on and that the government may want to take deterrent measures in other African nations with impending elections.

In addition, Uzoma-Iwuchukwu mentioned that the organization was creating a platform for people, activists, and journalists to report instances of digital rights violations as part of the e-rights initiative.

As per her statement, "this will establish a platform that will enable us to monitor and obtain verified statistics of digital rights violations in Nigeria."

"We are not restricting today's activity to judges in the FCT," she continued. We will also be training judges and attorneys from Kano state during the following two days, and then we will train judges and attorneys from Lagos and Imo state.

This is due to the fact that these four states serve as the project's primary pilot. And we hope that by initiating this dialogue with the Nigerian legal community and judiciary, we will be able to improve digital rights in Nigeria, especially those related to freedom of expression, privacy rights, and Nigerians' data protection on digital platforms.

Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf, Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, noted that in our increasingly linked society, where the digital sphere permeates every aspect of our lives, the need of receiving training on digital rights cannot be emphasized.

The chief judge, Justice Ngozika Ndukwe-Nwabulus, assured that the judiciary would protect Nigerians' rights both online and offline. She also mentioned that training judges and attorneys can be very beneficial for a number of reasons, including that it "equips individuals and professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the complex landscape of digital technologies, online communication, and the legal and ethical considerations that accompany them."

"The training will also provide an insight into laws and regulations pertaining to digital technologies, such as internet governance, cybercrime, data protection, and intellectual property," he stated.

"Knowing these laws can help people and organizations stay out of trouble with the law and maintain compliance. Cybersecurity knowledge is a critical component of digital rights training, since it helps safeguard individuals and companies against online abuse, data breaches, and cyber attacks.

Speaking, Vice President of ASF France Ivan Paneff noted that the issues surrounding online rights abuse do not just concern Nigeria and that new tools, laws, texts, and international agreements have made it clear that these abuses must be addressed.

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