Nigeria: digital rights group drags tech ministry to court
Published on 21st June 2017
Subsequent to a previous request made for officials to provide more details on a proposed eavesdropping claim against the Nigerian government, a digital rights group has filed for judicial review of the refusal to attend to the Freedom of Information constitutional provision.
Paradigm Initiative (PIN) made the request regarding claims that one of the two satellites launched by the National Space and Research Development Agency under the Ministry of Science and Technology has snooping capacities which can infringe the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Nigerians to privacy.
The court process was initiated as the ministry has not responded to the request initiated on 3 May.
There is no particular way to feel about the case which has been fixed for hearing before a Federal High Court in the Abuja Division on June 28, says the Program Assistant for PIN's Magoyi (ICT policy) program, Tomiwa Ilori, other than to accept that the journey is unending and also understand the sacrifices that comes with staying focused.
Ilori adds: "There is an overwhelming culture of sensationalising our challenges as a country, that we lose sight of what is possible and our small victories. There is no fixed idea of how systems work, sometimes you lose, sometimes you win. Even though we hope to win, we will defer to the outcome on this matter and continue to work hard on ensuring that we overwhelm this culture by seeking solutions and offering helping hands to institutions when necessary. There is no greater threat to human freedom and liberty today like the little wrongs that were overlooked yesterday."
Though the outcome of the court process cannot be predicted, PIN believes it will encourage organisations and private citizens to hold authorities to account.
"Opinions and expressing them is one of the most cardinal principles upon which inclusive governments endure. Now that conversations are fast moving online, there is need to work harder to preserve these rights to freely express to give strength to newer voices. That is why the ordinary citizen should be concerned. His voice, his only weapon of protecting himself is capable of being lost when we sit on our hands and conclude we don't need to fight for our freedoms now," says Ilori,