By CHIMA AKWAJA, Lagos
The Federal Ministry of Justice in collaboration with Paradigm Initiative (PI) has trained many security agencies and professionals on digital rights and cyber crimes.
Participants at the workshop that were drawn from various parts of the country, held in Lagos focused primarily on section 24 and 38 of the Nigeria’s Cyber crimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015 called for increased capacity building for law enforcement agencies on handling issues related to cyber crimes in Nigeria.
According to Adeboye Adegoke, programme 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.”
Adegoke said the workshop provided an opportunity for participants to review cases of arrests related to sections 24 and 38 of the Act and the effects of the arrests on citizens.
According to him, participants were drawn from the Nigerian Police Force and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from various states in Nigeria and the FCT.
Executive director, Paradigm Initiative Mr ‘Gbenga Sesan, 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 Cyber crimes Act 2015 that give law enforcement agencies access to citizen’s data and how these provisions are prone to abuse.
According to Tope Ogundipe, director of programmes at Paradigm Initiative, “we believe that law enforcement agents who participated in the workshop are better equipped in handling and managing cases involving Cyber crime as a result of this workshop.
“Our objective is to ensure that the Cyber crimes 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.”