The House of Representatives has called on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to ensure MTN, Airtel, and all other mobile network operators in Nigeria have an application that allows parents to monitor all their children’s activities online.
Moving this motion is a member of the green chamber, Bamidele Salam, at the plenary on Tuesday, July 6 in a motion titled ‘Need to Curb Online Crimes and Child Exploitation in Nigeria’.
Salam who raised the alarm over child exploitation on the Internet, noted that crimes, anti-social and harmful acts like killings, kidnappings, internet scams, cyberbullying, grooming, luring and sexual exploitation are being committed daily via mobile devices as part of the accompanied threats of digital/technological innovation in Nigeria.
According to the lawmaker, Salam: “The House is also aware that online child grooming has become a growing source for concern as minors are lured into various illicit businesses such as child trafficking, child prostitution and production of child pornography through online grooming.
“The House is disturbed that in 2016, the Internet Watch Foundation identified 57,000 Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), the web addresses containing child sexual abuse materials;
“The House also observes that the closure of schools and other COVID–19 related restrictions have increased the number of time children spend online for educational and social purposes, which have invariably increased the vulnerability of children falling victims to sexual exploitation;
“The House is also disturbed that no decisive steps have been taken to curb the prevalence of online crimes despite reported cases, which include the case of Cynthia Udoka Osokogu who was lured from her residence in Abuja via Facebook chat and killed in a hotel in Lagos, in 2012; Favour Oladele, a 300 Level undergraduate of the Department of Theatre Art, Lagos State University, was gruesomely murdered on December 8, 2019 at Ikoyi IIe in Osun State, among others.
“The House is concerned that there are several unreported cases of missing persons, rape and other related crimes through mobile devices connectivity and social media platforms.
“The House is cognisant that the online crimes and child exploitations are largely preventable through the creation of an application/solution by MNOs which allows parents and guardians to track online activities, location, calls, SMS, WhatsApp, and other internet activities of their children and wards;
“The House believes that only MTN out of all operators in Nigeria has an application/solution (MTN Impulse powered by Kaspersky) which, upon payment of a monthly subscription of N250.00, allows parents to track and monitor the activities of their children online.”