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AIGF 2023: NASS won’t review social media bill, Nigeria should evolve tech agenda for digital greatness –Akpabio

*Nigerian Senate President Godswill Akpabio says Africa is placed in a position to lead the digital revolution, based on competence and knowledge system, urging the country’s stakeholders to drive an agenda to ensure the West African country begins the trajectory to greatness, using technology as an enabler

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian legislators and other stakeholders in the digital ecosystem should begin to evolve an agenda will ensure the West African country activates the trajectory to greatness, by deploying technology as an enabler to regulate the social future.

ConsumerConnect reports Senate President Godswill Akpabio stated this Tuesday, September 19, 2023, at the Parliamentarian Symposium of Africa Internet Governance Forum (AIGF), held in Abuja, FCT.

Nigerian Senate President Godswill Akpabio

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) hosted the AIGF 2023 attracting 54 countries with the theme, “Transforming Africa’s Digital Landscape: Empowering Inclusion, Security, and Innovation”.

Earlier, the organisers had called participants  for registration and assured that the African Internet Governance Forum Secretariat was thrilled to extend a warm invitation to “all passionate African youths to participate in the highly anticipated Africa Internet Governance Forum (AIGF) 2023.”

As regards the hitherto  controversial social media regulation bill earlier introduced in the 9th Assembly, Senator Akpabio also hinted the 10th NASS would not review the bill since there are laws already guiding the use of the media in Nigeria.

Represented at the Parliamentarian Symposium of Africa Internet Governance Forum by Sen. Shuiab Salisu, Chairman of Senate Committee on ICT, tje Senate President said that the theme was a reflection of the deepest yearnings of all Africans for concerted efforts at  being at par with the rest of the world in the ICT race for development.

He equally remarked on the bill: “I am not sure that there is going to be a specific bill on social media regulation. “However, there are e-mailing laws in various areas; social media is just one space.”

Akpabio as well explained that “rather than having a specific legislation on social media.

“I will rather say social media is just one platform.

“The same way people have used regular media platform, to commit libel.”

On maximising Africa’s huge youthful population

In regard to making the best of the youthful populatiom on the African continent, Akpabio said: “Africa may have missed out in the first, second, and third Industrial Revolutions but on the fourth is based on digital competence and knowledge system.

“Africa is placed in position to lead this digital revolution.”

The Senate President further projected: “I think a lot of things are happening that we need to also create awareness among the citizens.

“I will work together with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to drive an agenda that will ensure our country, Nigeria begins the trajectory to greatness using technology as an enabler to regulate social future.”

According to him, this reality has compelled convocation to seek ways to develop, apply and arrive at shared norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and other activities that would impact the development and utilisation of the Internet for advancement.

Nigeria is a big leader in digitisation process in W’Africa: AIGF Scribe

In his address the forum, Hon. Samuel George, Secretary-General of AIGF and member of the Ghanaian Parliament, spoke on Internet Governance in Africa.

George said that governments on the African continent are doing a fantastic job when it comes to the processes of digitalisation.

The AIGF Secretary-General noted the people would like politicians to focus more on bricks and physical infrastructure than putting in more resources into digital rights.

He also stated: “We are seeing a lot more government services becoming digitalised; social services, government services, healthcare, justice, are becoming digital platforms.

“West African sub-region Nigeria, is a big leader in that so we believe that governments are doing well.”

George equally regretted that in some countries on the African continent, instead of putting in more resources into digital rights, which affect everything done online now, focus is rather placed on bricks and physical infrastructure.”

He further urged the participants and other stakeholders to help us to raise the issues of digital rights and digital frameworks in the economy.

“You are talking about legislation and creating safe spaces on the internet and making sure that governments have the right framework for internet problems and the safety of citizens digital rights,” George said.

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