Isa Ali Pantami, the Minister of Communications, has condemned the widespread harassment of Nigerians with personal computers, tablets and other ICT gadgets in public places by security operatives.
While applauding the EFCC and other security agents on its fight against cybercrimes, the Minister in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Uwa Suleiman, said that one of the negative effects of this action is that young persons are assumed to be fraudsters by the security officials without evidence or proof of committing such crimes.
The statement in part reads
“The Ministry notes with dismay, this unfortunate turn of events as we celebrate 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.
“We are aware that several other persons have engaged in nefarious activities utilising computers and similar devices, we must however be careful not to paint all young Nigerians with a similar brush.
It would therefore be counterproductive to stifle this sector of the economy by labelling every young Nigerian with a computing device as a fraudster.
It is in this light that the Federal Ministry of Communications frowns at the current profiling and harassment of young Nigerians and therefore admonishes security agencies to be circumspect in these situations.
We understand the need for pro activity to protect the society, however, this must be done credibly while recognising the fundamental human rights of every citizen of Nigeria. If this situation goes unchecked, it will dampen the vigorous attempt at diversifying the economy and rather push more young energies underground with catastrophic consequences''.