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Digital rights a pressing issue ahead of Nigeria’s general election

By , Portals editor
Africa , Nigeria , 09 Feb 2023

TikTok launches Nigerian General Elections Guide in-app as part of its #SaferTogether Initiative.

Ahead of Nigeria’s general election on 25 February 2023, pan-African civil rights group Paradigm Initiative (PIN) plans to meet representatives from government, civil society groups, technology companies and ICT regulatory bodies to press for the free flow of information before, during and after the election.

Speaking in Abuja, Adeboye Adegoke, Senior Manager, Grants, and Strategy at PIN, said the project known as Digital Rights and Elections in Africa Meetings (DREAM) will also play a significant role in creating awareness regarding these rights and capacity building across Africa.

Adegoke urged the West African country’s government to respect the digital rights of all and provide support by collaborating with platforms “to make credible, verifiable, and independent information accessible to citizens constantly.”

TikTok election hub

At the same time TikTok, in partnership with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and Africa Check, has launched an elections guide in-app as part of its #SaferTogether initiative.

Ayodele Aluko, Director of Voter Education and Publicity at INEC said, "Part of INEC's commitment in the electoral process is to engage young people who constitute a larger part of the voting population. This collaboration with TikTok to create an election hub where Nigerians can access credible information will help mitigate some of the greatest threats to credible elections.We strongly believe that this initiative will assist to counter misinformation, disinformation and fake news".

Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, TikTok Sub-Saharan Africa, added:“We are continuously engaging with diverse stakeholders in Nigeria to discuss opportunities to mitigate the misuse of online platforms such as TikTok in a fast-paced digital world. Our resolve is to spread positivity in markets where we operate as we promote safety online.

Director General National Orientation Agency Dr Garba Abari said, "The exponential growth of the use of online platforms has led to tremendous business opportunities for influencers, brands and organisations. However, this growth has also led to challenges like fake news, hate speech, misinformation and disinformation etc. If these challenges are left unchecked, it poses a threat to the credibility of the elections and our national security and development. It is, therefore, imperative that all safety measures are put in place to protect users at this crucial time in our Nation's history, which is why The National Orientation Agency is partnering with TikTok to promote a safe and factual space for each and every Nigerian online".

Nigeria has bulk of Africa’s internet users

PIN references data from Statista according to which in 2022, the number of internet users on the continent was about 570 million, with the bulk of internet users in Nigeria (over 100 million).

Statistics from DataReportal reveal that as of January 2022, out of a population of 214. 1 million there were 109.2 million internet users in Nigeria with an internet penetration of 51% of the total population.

The report further indicates that there were 32.90 million social media users in the country in January 2022, which translated to 15.4% of the total population.

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