The Nigerian government through the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has given six conditions under the Code of Practice with which Interactive Computer Service Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Google, Tik Tok and others can operate in Nigeria.
The conditions are:
- 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 content and unethical behaviour on their platform; and
- Provide information to authorities on harmful accounts, suspected botnets, troll groups, and other coordinated disinformation networks and delete any information that violates Nigerian law within an agreed time.
Tagged Issues a Code for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries and Conditions for Operating in Nigeria and available on the NITDA website, the government said the step will help to fully harness the potential of the Digital Economy and safeguard the security and interest of its citizens in the digital ecosystem.
In a statement signed by Hadiza Umar, Head of Corporate Affairs and External Relationship, NITDA said the Code of Practice sets out procedures to safeguard the security and welfare of Nigerians while interacting on these Platforms.
“The Code of Practice is aimed 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.
“The Code of Practice 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. This is in line with international best practices as obtainable in democratic nations such as the United State of America, United Kingdom, European Union, and United Nations,” it added.
According to the statement, the Code of Practice was developed in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), as well as input from Interactive Computer Service Platforms.
It believes that activities conducted on Online Platforms wield enormous influence over society, social interaction, and economic choices. Hence, the Code of Practice is an intervention to recalibrate the relationship of Online Platforms with Nigerians in order to maximise mutual benefits for Nigeria, while promoting a sustainable digital economy.