The Fedaral Government through The National Information Technology Development Agency has outlined some of the conditions social media platforms operating in the country must abide by.
These conditions were published on Monday, June 13 by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Some of the conditions include, having a country representative, registering with the Corporate Affairs Commission as a legal entity, complying with tax obligations, deleting information that violates Nigerian law and provide information on ‘harmful accounts, troll groups, disinformation networks’.
The social media platforms were also directed to “provide a dedicated channel that is available all the time where an authorised government agency can lodge or forward a request or complaint against contents that are unlawful or harmful.”
In a statement released from NITDA and signed by Hadiza Umar, Head of Corporate Affairs and External Relationship is available on the NITDA official website www.nitda.gov.ng
Read the full statement below;
“NITDA is mandated by Section 6 of the NITDA Act 2007, to standardize, coordinate and develop regulatory frameworks for all Information Technology (IT) practices in Nigeria.
In accordance with its mandates, President Muhammadu Buhari, directed the Agency to develop a Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries (Online Platforms), in collaboration with relevant regulatory agencies and stakeholders.
”In line with the directive, NITDA wishes to present to the Public a Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries for further review and input.
The new global reality is that the activities conducted on these Online Platforms wield enormous influence over our 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 our nation, while promoting a sustainable digital economy.
Additionally, 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 content 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.
Similarly, to ensure compliance with the Code of Practice, NITDA also wishes to notify all Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries operating in Nigeria that the Federal Government of Nigeria has set out conditions for operating in the country. These conditions address issues around legal registration of operations, taxation, and managing prohibited publications 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 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.
The Federal Government wishes to reiterate its commitment towards ensuring Nigeria fully harnesses the potentials of the Digital Economy and safeguards the security and interest of its citizens in the digital ecosystem.”