“Stop Harassing Young Nigerians Carrying Computers” Ministry Tells Security Agencies

Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Communications (FMC), has frowned at wrongful profiling of young persons operating computing devices, urging for restraint.

The spokesperson for the communications minister, Uwa Suleiman, in a statement on Tuesday, conveyed the ministry’s disapproval over “widespread harassment of young Nigerians with personal computers, tablets or phablets in public places”.

Nigerian authorities, especially the anticorruption agency, EFCC, have of recent rave up fight against cybercrime, leading to widespread arrests of suspects.

Police officers also routinely harass young Nigerians carrying laptops.

“These reports indicate that young persons are generally regarded as fraudsters by officers of security agencies if found with such devices in their possession and subsequently subjected to varied forms of harassments and in some cases outright extortion,” the ministry said.

The ministry’s statement said the conduct is capable of disrupting “the growing and bubbling technology eco-system in Nigeria that enables young persons to learn various skills ranging from software engineering to varied forms of entrepreneurship by simply accessing online tools and content on these devices”.

The communications ministry said it was aware that several other persons have engaged in nefarious activities utilising computers and similar devices, but said officials must be careful not to paint all young Nigerians with a similar brush.

“We understand the need for proactivity to protect the society; however, this must be done credibly while recognising the fundamental human rights of every citizen of Nigeria. If these situation goes unchecked, it will dampen the vigorous attempt at diversifying the economy and rather push more young energies underground with catastrophic consequences.”