The Government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari continues to show resilience in the fight against terrorists who are disrupting the peace of the country. The public continues to call on the government to step up its fight against terrorists because of the loss of lives happening in the country.
As a result, the Nigerian government has responded to public calls, announcing plans to monitor people using WhatsApp, phone calls, and text messages. This planning by the government has sparked controversy among the public. Many have backed the government for describing the program as a viable way to deal with crime organised from the network outlets. Others described the plan as a violation of public privacy.
It can be said that the government's opinion does not match with the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) because an article from the Daily Post states that the organization has filed a lawsuit numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/1240/2021 before the Federal High Court in Abuja last Friday.
The suit partly read, “The Buhari administration has legal obligations to protect Nigerians and other people against arbitrary interference and violations of their human rights. Monitoring of WhatsApp messages, phone calls and text messages would grant free rein to government agencies to conduct mass surveillance of communications of people.”
According to SERAP, it severely threatens and violates the right to the preservation of privacy.
In my opinion, SERAP should withdraw its suit against Buhari because the Nigerian government's program to monitor WhatsApp users private messages, phone calls, and text messages of Nigerians and other people is commendable. After all, the program will help security agencies get information on the people supporting terrorism in this country, and the program will help to obtain information on people who are abusive to society through social media.
Furthermore, it should be noted that this program is not limited to the Nigerian government. According to the research, in 2019, India conducted a similar program in the country due to the high incidence of kidnapping crimes. Later, reports revealed that the country has experienced a decrease in kidnapping cases due to confirmation of the WhatsApp monitoring program. Therefore, if the government's plan is successful in Nigeria, it is expected that there will be a reduction in crime in the country.
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