Monday, May 16, 2022

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NITDA opens up on FG’s agreement with Twitter

The Nigerian Government, through the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, has revealed its agreement with micro blogging platform, Twitter.

The Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, spoke at the National Privacy Week 2022 press conference and unveiling of the week’s activities in Abuja on Monday.

Mr. Abdullahi, who served as the Chairman of the Technical Committee that engaged Twitter, said the social media platform has agreed to work with the laws and cultures of Nigeria.

According to him, apart from Twitter, Facebook and other social media companies operating in the country must be regulated in order to ensure that Nigerians do not destroy themselves with these applications, pointing out the fact that most of these tech companies are more powerful than a democratic government.

Fielding questions from reporters on the government’s agreement with Twitter, the DG said, “On our engagement with Twitter, they understand that whatever is illegal offline is illegal online. They understand that in Nigeria, we have laws and they [have agreed to] respect our culture. We have laws, they [have agreed to] respect our laws.

“They provide a platform you and I can use for different purposes. Some can use it as a tool to develop and enhance their businesses, some can use it as a weapon to destroy people.

“Besides, the question is, to what extent should our lives be governed by these tech companies? …today, we’re living in a situation whereby these tech companies are more powerful than a democratic government to the extent that if they don’t want you they kick you out of power and if they want you they bring you to power.

“So, we’ll look at these and decide if we want them governed or leave them and use any App to destroy ourselves. So we need to regulate it.

“It’s only through regulation we can harness the potentials of these platforms, if not, the perils or the ills will destroy us.

“So, our understanding with Twitter, [also extending to all the big tech companies] is that they must comply with all the Nigerian laws. They must know that what is illegal offline is illegal online.

“Twitter has agreed to put a mechanism in place . They’ve started training our people…they have their own policy which is global, but they’re working with the government to put some of the laws that are not in their own regulation as part of their policy.

“And if anybody does something illegal on that note, they’re going to help us take action on that. So, we’re going to work together with all the big tech companies and civil societies organisations to come up with a framework for all social media platforms.”

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