June 25, 2021
By Alhaji Haruna Sani
Chairperson for the Consortium of Progressive Political Parties (COPPP) has raised serious concern over the enactment of the Cybercrime Act by the Sierra Leone Parliament.
The consortium is a group of 13 registered opposition political parties and one of the leading pressure groups that have been raising series of issues and concerns about the Cybercrime Act before it enactment by parliament.
The consortium had earlier raised series of serious issues in the cybercrime bill, especially on data protection, it ambiguity, the unlimited powers given to the police, too much of powers to the president and the excesses of the minister of information when it comes to implementation.
The Cybercrime Act, they had said, is a Wolf in sheep’s clothing set up to target WhatsApp, Facebook, Titter and Instagram users, who would express dissenting opinions and criticisms of government policies and programmes.
In an exclusively interview with the chairperson of the Consortium madam Femi Claudius Cole, she told Concord Times that they as consortium have serious concerns on the way and manners to which the revised bill was passed into a bill by Parliament.
“There had never been any soba consultation with us the members of opposition. We only had one meeting where we had a ‘WAEC’ lectures which was not too concern with the bill, and that was all. Since they gave it to various people to trick it, nobody has ever presented us the reverse version to us,” said Femi Claudius Cole.
She said the revised version of the bill was never brought to public domain so that it should be properly looked into especially by journalists, Civil Societies, Political Parties, Legal persons and general public.
“The same way they have treated the cybercrime Act is the same thing they are doing with the decentralisation process and the Mid-Term Census as if they want no input from anybody. Why the rush? Due diligence must be done on those processes, because if they get it wrong, they are getting it wrong for the entire country,” she lamented.
Madam Cole expressed concern over the data protection aspect of the Act, maintaining that there are many flaws around data protection in the Act.
She said if government wanted full compliance, then there is a dire need for the revised Act to be in the public domain.