The Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday, deliberated on a national online policy to protect children from accessing unwholesome information on the internet. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, who presented the memo for deliberations at FEC, said it became necessary to protect the rights of children who access the internet to gather information. Pantami said it has become a global requirement, in line with a policy document released by the international telecommunications union (of which Nigeria is a member) on keeping children safe in the digital era.
The Minister said, “According to the report of the International Telecommunication Union even during COVID-19 more than 1 billion children were online, most of them to their studies, because schools were shut down. So, they switch only to virtual learning.
“Children will not be able to differentiate what is beneficial or what is harmful. And today without any solicitation, if you go online, you will discover that many things are coming into your device unlimitedly. And if you are at least matured you will be able to avoid but children would not be able to and that will definitely affect their innocence and will even affect them morally and otherwise.”
Pantami went further to say that all member countries of the union have been urged to ensure they come up with a policy where children will be protected.
“It is because of this that we organized stakeholder engagement, where we invited around 37 institutions to government since it is multi-sector issue.
“The Ministry on Information and Culture, the National Broadcasting Commission and the National Orientation Agency, among others, have roles to play.
He said the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), as well as other security agencies have roles to play, the Ministry of justice also those the same.
The council also approved the National Data Protection Bill to ensure the privacy, confidentiality and security of data submitted to government and private institutions.