Buhari’s regime issues directive to force Twitter, Facebook, Google and others to remove ‘unethical posts’ from Nigerians

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) publishes a Code of Practice for Computer Interactive/Internet Intermediate Service Platforms and Operating Conditions in Nigeria.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is mandated by Section 6 of the NITDA Act of 2007 to standardize, coordinate and develop regulatory frameworks for all information technology (IT) practices in Nigeria.

In accordance with its mandates, President Muhammad Buhari, GCFR, has instructed the Agency to develop a Code of Practice for Internet Intermediate/Interactive Computing Service Platforms (Online Platforms), in collaboration with regulations and relevant stakeholders.

In accordance with the directive, NITDA wishes to present a Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Services/Internet Intermediate Platforms to the public for further review and comment. The Code of Practice seeks to protect the fundamental human rights of Nigerians and non-Nigerians living in the country as well as
as well as defining guidelines for interacting on the digital ecosystem.

This is in line with international best practice as can be achieved in democratic nations such as the
United States of America, United Kingdom, European Union and United Nations.

The Code of Practice has been developed in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), along with input from interactive IT service platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram , Google and Tik Tok, among others. .

Other relevant stakeholders with particular knowledge in this area were consulted, such as civil society organizations and expert groups. The results of these consultations have been duly incorporated into the draft code of practice.

The new global reality is that the activities carried out on these online platforms have a huge influence on our society, our social interactions and our economic choices. Therefore, the Code of Practice is an intervention to recalibrate the relationship of online platforms with Nigerians to maximize mutual benefits for our nation, while promoting a sustainable digital economy.

Additionally, the code of practice sets out procedures to protect the safety and well-being of Nigerians while interacting on these platforms. It aims to hold online platforms accountable for illegal and harmful content on their platforms. Furthermore, it establishes a strong framework for collaborative efforts to protect Nigerians from harm online, such as hate speech, cyberbullying, as well as disinformation and/or misinformation.

Similarly, to ensure compliance with the Code of Practice, NITDA also wishes to inform all Interactive Computer Services Platforms/Internet Intermediaries operating in Nigeria that the Federal Government of Nigeria has set the conditions for operating in the country. These Terms deal with matters relating to the legal recording of transactions, taxation and the management of prohibited publications under Nigerian laws. The conditions are as follows:

Establish a legal entity i.e. register with the Corporate Affairs Commission

Appoint a designated national representative to interface with the Nigerian

Comply with all regulatory requirements after establishing a legal presence;

iv.Comply with all tax obligations applicable to its operations under the Nigerian regime

V. Provide a comprehensive compliance mechanism to avoid publication of
prohibited content and unethical behavior on their platform; and

VI. Provide information to authorities about harmful accounts, suspected botnets, troll groups and other coordinated disinformation networks and remove any information that violates Nigerian law within an agreed timeframe.

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