Paradigm Initiative, a digital rights group, has asked the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to provide it with information on the Nigerian surveillance and interception regime. This is because it believes that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is allowing foreign governments to spy on Nigerians.
Relying on the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the digital rights and digital Inclusion organisation is requesting information on the role the regulatory agency plays in enabling law enforcement in Nigeria to carry out communication surveillance and interception of communication in the discharge of their duties.
In a copy of the request sent to the Commission has, among other prayers, requested the Commission to disclose what measures it has in place to ensure that government does not abuse communication surveillance and interception of communication to target political opponents and critics.
It also asked the NCC to disclose the regulatory framework under which communication surveillance and interception of communication is being carried out in Nigeria. Speaking on the request, Adeboye Adegoke, programme manager, Digital Rights, Anglophone Africa at Paradigm Initiative, said, “this is not the first time Paradigm Initiative is engaging the Nigerian government on its communications surveillance and interception activities.
Commenting on the latest request, Tope Ogundipe, Paradigm Initiative’s director of Programmes, said, “In a bill recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian government will henceforth allow foreign governments to spy on and intercept the communication of Nigerian citizens.
“The Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Law makes provision for Nigeria to assist foreign government to carry out surveillance and intercept communications of suspects during criminal investigations. “The Nigerian government can no longer deny it has the capacity to carry out communications surveillance and interceptions, It will be great to see what safeguards are in place around this, given the dangerous dimensions it can take,” Ogundipe disclosed.