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NITDA Issues Code of Practice, Terms, Conditions, For Online Platforms.

In line with the directive of the Federal Government, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has Issued to the Public a Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries for further review and input.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Head of Corporate Affairs and External Relationship,
National Information Technology Development Agency, Hadiza Umar, and made available to the press on Monday.

The Code of Practice, which is aimed at protecting fundamental human rights of Nigerians and non-Nigerians living in the country as well as define guidelines for interacting on the digital ecosystem, is in line with international best practices as obtainable in democratic nations such as the US, UK, EU, and UN.

In accordance with its mandate by section 6 of the NITDA Act 2007, to standardize, coordinate and develop regulatory frameworks for all Information Technology (IT) practices in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the Agency to develop a Code of Practice for online platforms, in collaboration with relevant Regulatory Agencies and Stakeholders.

In collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the Code of Practice was developed with input from Interactive Computer Service Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Google, and Tik Tok amongst others.

Other relevant stakeholders such as Civil Society Organizations and expert groups were consulted.

The results of this consultations were duly incorporated into the Draft Code of Practice which is available on the NITDA website via; https://nitda.gov.ng/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Code-of-Practice.pdf for review and comments from the public.

NITDA maintained that the Code of Practice is an intervention to recalibrate the relationship of Online Platforms with Nigerians in order to maximise mutual benefits, while promoting a sustainable digital economy for the nation.

According to the statement; “the Code of Practice sets out procedures to safeguard the security and welfare of Nigerians while interacting on these Platforms. It aims to demand accountability from Online Platforms regarding unlawful and harmful contents on their Platforms. Furthermore, it establishes a robust framework for collaborative efforts to protect Nigerians against online harms, such as hate speech, cyber-bullying, as well as disinformation and/or misinformation.”

Also, to ensure compliance with the Code of Practice, NITDA disclosed that the Federal Government of Nigeria has set out conditions for online platforms operating in Nigeria.

“These conditions address issues around legal registration of operations, taxation, and managing prohibited publication in line with Nigerian laws. The conditions are as follows:

  • Establish a legal entity i.e., register with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC);
  • Appoint a designated country representative to interface with Nigerian authorities;
  • Abide by all regulatory demands after establishing a legal presence;
  • Comply with all applicable tax obligations on its operations under Nigerian law;
  • Provide a comprehensive compliance mechanism to avoid publication of prohibited contents and unethical behaviour on their platform; and
  • Provide information to authorities on harmful accounts, suspected botnets, troll groups, and other coordinated disinformation networks and deleting any information that violates Nigerian law within an agreed time.

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