The Internationale Press Centre (IPC), Lagos is concerned about President Buhari’s decision not to sign the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill.
The statement from the presidency as quoted by several media outlets indicated that the President did not sign the bill because it allegedly covered too many technical subjects and “fails to address any of them extensively”, especially in the areas of data protection, surveillance, and lawful interception of communications.
The president’s refusal letter suggested that the bill should be limited to “human rights” within the digital environment to reduce the challenge of legislation and legislative conflicts in the future.
IPC however disagrees with this position as the Digital Rights Bill clearly provides for the protection of human rights online, protect internet users from infringement of their fundamental freedoms and guarantees the application of human rights for digital platform users. The bill also seeks to guarantee human rights within the context of emerging innovative technologies, security concerns, increasing citizen participation in governance and democratic processes.
In a statement, the Director IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, said it stood by its stated position that the bill, if signed as it is, would revolutionize the state of digital rights in the country for the better and in a manner comparable to international standards.
Arogundade said the presidency should prioritise digital rights by signing the bill particularly as the right is recognized as a human right that protects and acknowledges the protection of the right to privacy and freedom of expression, in the context of new digital technologies. This is also recognized as a right by the laws of several countries.
The IPC Director therefore appealed to the president to review his position and sign the bill.