Nigeria: Elections - Rights Group Tasks FG on Digital Transparency

11 March 2023

The Digital Rights and Information Partnership (DRIP), a consortium of organisations, has urged the federal government to embrace electoral transparency and respect Nigerians' digital rights.

A spokesman of the group, Edozie Chukwuma, told newsmen Friday in Abuja that Nigerians should be given an enabling environment to vote with the assurance that their votes would count.

Speaking against the backdrop of the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections, the group said Nigerians deserved protection against unlawful shutdowns and interferences allegedly witnessed during the presidential elections.

"The internet has its unique challenges due to our dynamic political landscape, which was evident in the just concluded elections. The commission invested heavily in technology, such as the BVAS and IReV systems to ensure transparency and direct transmission of electoral results from polling units," Chukwuma said.

He, however, noted that results from polling units were transmitted manually due to reports of external interference and connectivity challenges, which highlight the issues of citizens' data protection, internet governance and unlawful shutdowns.

He urged the federal government to safeguard the civic space by curtailing unlawful shutdowns and guaranteeing freedom of expression and assembly online for all Nigerians.

Chukwuma said the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill (DRFB) before the National Assembly, among others, sought to prohibit undue interference with the digital privacy of Nigerian citizens, and protected the right to peaceful assembly and association of all Nigerians through social networks and platforms.

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