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FG moves to protect children in digital environment

The Nigerian government has approved the National Child Online Protection Policy and Strategy to protect children from online materials that could affect their innocence and morals.

The policy was approved on Wednesday at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isah Pantami, who briefed the media after the meeting, said the policy is in line with the document issued by the International Communication Union, ITU, titled: “Keeping Children Safe in the Digital Environment.

Pantami said that the ITU, in the document, urged its 193 member countries to come up with a policy aimed at protecting children from harmful materials that they could have access to online.

“Children would not be able to differentiate between what is beneficial and what is harmful, and today, without any soliciting, if you go online, you will discover that many things are coming into your device. 

 “If you are mature you would be able to avoid, but children will not be able to and that will definitely affect their innocent and will even affect them morally and otherwise.” 

Multi-Sectoral Issue

Pantami said that the protection of children from the harmful policy is a multi-sectoral issues, requiring that different stakeholders be engaged to formulate the policy.

He said the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy in Nigeria organized stakeholder engagements where 37 institutions of government were invited to deliberate on the policy.

According to him, the ministry engaged with such stakeholders as the Ministry of Information and Culture, Ministry of Justice, the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, the National Orientation Agency, NOA, security agencies, private sector organizations, among others.

“And as part of its implementation there is going to be a governance structure where relevant institutions of government would come together and ensure its implementation, including private sector and relevant private sector and civil society organizations.” 

Pantamin said that the ministry leveraged on provisions of the Cyber Crime Act 2015, an existing law, to formulate the National Child Online Protection Policy and Strategy.

“There is a provision for protecting all citizens and children are part and parcel of our citizens.   

“Also, we have Child Rights Act 2003.  There is also a provision for protecting and ensuring the safety of our online content in other legislations. 

“In our National Cyber Security Policy 202, there is also a provision in which the NCC has been mandated to come up to protect our children while online.”

Duct Policy

Pantami said the Council also approved the National Duct One Policy, aimed at institutionalizing the provision of ducts during construction in Nigeria adding that the policy is the global best practice in ensuring that before roads, bridges and rail lines are constructed, he said this enables provision to be made for telecommunication infrastructure.

The Minister also disclosed that the Council approved the Nigeria Data Protection Bill.


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