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Martin Beck Nworah Wednesday, December 12, 2018 0

Can Law Leverage On The Internet In Nigeria - Martin Beck Nworah Esq.

At the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum (NIGF) 2018, Haru Alhassan, the Director, New Media and Information Security of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) stated that the number of internet users in Nigeria reached a new record of 103 million people. What this simply means is that so far, over 100 million Nigerians have access to the internet and this is great news.
How can our legal practitioners and legal system benefit from this growth in the internet world?
The Communications Act 2003 and Cyber Crimes Act 2015 play a vital role in regulating the activities of Nigerians on the internet. Going further, more conversations are currently ongoing to make for a narrower legislature that will address the social media issues experienced in the country, the social media being a very popular arm of the internet where Nigerians spend a great number of their internet time.
More than ever before, legal practitioners in Nigeria have the opportunity of reaching out to a wider audience of the population and giving them firsthand information on what their rights and responsibilities are. Without breaking any of the Rules of Professional Conduct, a legal practitioner who can tap into this internet goldmine and get the populace more educated about their rights will be doing great good for the cause of justice in the land.
Tapping into this rich internet numbers in Nigeria, many legal websites and blogs have taken the burden of publishing legal opinions on their site every day. In addition to that, seasoned legal practitioners of high repute can leverage on the millions of people who access these websites on daily basis to give them legal advice on different areas of the law.
In essence, Nigerians need to be educated further and better on what their rights and responsibilities as citizens of the country entail. Indeed, many people find it hard if not impossible to enter a physical law office and seek for legal advice. The reasons may not be far from the fear of lawyers and the uncertainty of what the outcome may be. However, I must quickly add the internet is changing all of these. People who can’t physically visit a law office can read up opinions and build up courage to finally visit a law office.
As the population of Nigeria is nearing 200 million persons, legal practitioners and law firms need to increase their online presence. While in truth not all legal services can be obtained digitally, people can get a sneak of what they will get and the need of employing the services of legal practitioners in their daily dealings.
More than ever before, people need urgent education on the plethora of services offered by legal practitioners and law firms across the country. While the RPC forbids any form of overt or covert advertising, legal practitioners can make use of available internet tools to reach out to people. The use of websites and legal blogs by different law firms and legal practitioners is a very good example.
Can Law leverage on the popularity of the internet today? The answer is yes. And going forward, better ways of synergizing these two important tools will be discovered.
Martin Beck Nworah is an ICT Lawyer, social media influencer and content creator based in Lagos State, Nigeria.

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