Groups Partner to Advance Digital Rights in Nigeria

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By Emma Okonji

Two non-Profit organisations, Paradigm Initiative and Citizens Gavel have agreed to work together to promote and advance digital rights in Nigeria through strategic litigation and other activities.

Citizen Gavel is a civic tech organisation accelerating the pace of justice delivery through access to justice, technology for justice and accountability, while Paradigm Initiative is a social enterprise that builds an ICT-enabled support system and advocates digital rights in order to improve livelihoods for under-served youth.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) jointly signed by both organisations revealed that Citizens Gavel would work with Paradigm Initiative to provide legal support to advance the promotion and protection of digital rights in Nigeria among other things. In addition, both organisations will work together to educate the public about the digital rights and applicable laws in Nigeria.

A human rights lawyer and team lead at Citizens Gavel, Nelson Olanipekun, while speaking on the development said: “Majority of injustices are faced by young people who often spend over four hours online daily according to research. That means one-quarter of a day of a young person is spent online; many of these young persons do a lot of productive things online such as the sale of goods/service, promotion of right causes, etc. It is high time we began to take serious their safety, human rights and peaceful living online by advancing digital rights”.

Programme Manager at Paradigm Initiative, Adeboye Adegoke, said: “There has been a huge gap from a legal perspective, in the work to advance and promote human rights online in Nigeria. We typically receive reports of violations requiring legal interventions. In the past, we have taken on many of these violations through strategic litigation. However, this partnership will provide an opportunity for us to get legal support and pursue justice for more victims of digital rights violations in Nigeria.”

He described strategic litigation as the identification and pursuit of legal cases as part of a strategy to promote human rights, which focuses on an individual case in order to bring about broader social change.

Meanwhile, Paradigm Initiative and Dufuna are collaborating to run a digital skills training programme to empower underserved youth with relevant digital skills and connect them to both local and global opportunities, thus contributing to easing the unemployment burden in the country.

Project Lead at Dufuna, Olatokunbo Fagbamigbe, said: “Dufuna technology limited is a training-focused organization that is passionate about tackling unemployment among recent graduates through its training programs. From October 2019, the collaboration between Paradigm Initiative and Dufuna will see both organisations organise a 6-month hands-on CodeCamp which is a Lagos-based, project-centric software engineering training programme for recent graduates’’.

Prior to the new initiative, Paradigm Initiative had for eight years, run its innovative Techtiary programme, which had enabled students in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions develop entrepreneurial and technical skills during the course of their University programs, with many success stories as a testament to its impact. This collaboration between Paradigm Initiative with Dufuna announces the rebranding of the Techtiary program in Nigeria.

Programme Manager for Digital Inclusion at Paradigm Initiative, Tosin Abolaji, said: “The programme will equip participants with skills in HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, SQL, algorithms and data structures and software version control.”