ITU Selects Nigeria’s First Lady to Champion Child Online Protection


Nigeria’s First Lady  and President of the African First Ladies Peace Mission, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, has been appointed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Multilateral Partnership against Cyber Threats (IMPACT) to champion the Union’s Global Child Online Protection (COP).

Her Excellency, Dame (Dr.) Patience Jonathan

A statement by the Union confirmed that Patience Jonathan received her letter of appointment from the Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau, ITU, Brahima Sanou who was accompanied by the Chairman of the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (ITU’s executing arm for cyber security), Datuk Mohd Noor Amin and ITU’s Regional Director for Africa, Andrew Rugege; at the state house in Abuja where they discussed issues related to cyber threats and cyber security in the Africa region.

Amin commended Dr. Jonathan for her charitable work involving women and children.

Dr. Hamadoun Touré, ITU’s Secretary-General, said: “In this new digital world, we all have a special responsibility to ensure the safety and security of young people in the online world, just as we do offline. It is a great honour for ITU to have the support of Nigeria’s First Lady. Her commitment is a further confirmation of the key role that ITU is playing as a global catalyst and facilitator in international dialogue and cooperation in the area of cyber security.”

Explaining the importance of the COP initiative, Mr. Brahima Sanou, the Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau said: “COP framework has become a crucial means of creating a safe environment for our children while they are on the net. Both ITU and IMPACT have faith in Her Excellency’s ability to spread this message and push for reforms not only in the African region but across the globe,”

With a view to expanding global networking, ITU and IMPACT are proposing a Cybersecurity Regional Centre in Nigeria in addition to the COP initiative. Nigeria has indicated interest in hosting the new Regional centre that intends to localize Cybersecurity services to meet the unique needs of the region.

The proposed Regional Centre would become a pivot of expertise and an integral part of the multi-stakeholder network to support government, industry and citizens to ensure the benefits of information and communications technology for all citizens.

The Child Online Protection initiative aims to identify risks and vulnerabilities to children in cyberspace, create awareness, develop practical tools to help minimize risk, and share knowledge and experience.

As the new leader of ITU’s COP, Dr. Jonathan will work toward creating a safe environment for children while they are on the internet, as well as push for reforms not only in the Africa region but across the globe.