Three Nigerian-based organizations with an interest in freedom of expression and media development have called on the federal and state governments to take urgent measures to facilitate access to the internet for all Nigerians in accordance with the government’s international obligations.
The statement, jointly signed by Dr Akin Akingbulu, Executive Director of the Centre for Media and Society (CEMESO); Lanre Arogundade, Executive Director of the International Press Centre (IPC); and Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA), was released in commemoration of this year’s International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI).
The organisations urged the government to take steps to provide affordable internet to all citizens which will in turn bridge the digital divide in the country.
The organisations emphasised that the digital age has made it compulsory for the usage of the internet “with many countries in Africa and elsewhere in the world already providing or ensuring high-quality internet connectivity for all their citizens free of charge”, emphasising that it is “unacceptable that millions of Nigerians continue to wallow in the digital wilderness”.
The organisations which are members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), expressed worry over the non-compliance of the Nigerian government 11 years after the resolution was adopted, indicating that it has no policy or plan in place for the realisation of the goal for its own citizens, while countries such as United States, Brazil, Sweden, Turkey and Tunisia are part of the countries the organizations have worked with in the past years to actualize freedom of information and access to internet.