Internet Freedom Forum

300+ Delegates  |  30+ Countries  |  18 Sessions

Follow Online: http://bit.ly/2018iff

Internet Freedom Forum (IFF) is an arena where tough topical global issues around Internet rights, especially in Africa, are discussed between civil society, technology companies, government, academia and other stakeholders. 2018 IFF comes up in Abuja, Nigeria, from 24th to 26th April 2018. The forum presents a unique platform for discussions and engagement around current trends and emerging issues affecting Internet Freedom in Africa. Since 2017, proceedings at IFF have been bilingual- English and French, to cater for the diversity of participants attending.

Venue: Nigerian Air Force Conference Centre, Abuja

Date: April 24th – 26th, 2018

Attendance: Strictly through registration. Remote participation is available here.  

Participants at IFF include civil society organizations, policy actors/makers, legal/policy experts, academia, advocates, tech enthusiasts, industry representatives and active citizens among others.


‘Gbenga Sesan

Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative

‘Gbenga Sesan is the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative. Originally trained as an Electrical Engineer at Obafemi Awolowo University, ‘Gbenga completed Executive Education Programs at Lagos Business School, New York Group for Technology Transfer, Oxford University, Harvard University, Stanford University, Santa Clara University and University of the Pacific. His consulting experience includes assignments completed for numerous institutions, including Microsoft, Harvard University and United Nations agencies, among others in over 30 countries. A Schwab Formation Social Entrepreneur of the year (2014) and former member of the United Nations Committee of eLeaders on youth and ICT, he is a Cyber Stewards Fellow, Crans Montana Forum Fellow, Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow and Cordes Fellow. Gbenga served as a member of the Presidential Committees of Harmonization of Information Technology. Telecommunications and Broadcasting Sectors (2006), and Roadmap for the Achievment of Accelerated Universal Broadband Infrastructure and Services Provision (2013) and was listed by CNN as one of the Top 10 African Tech Voices on Twitter and by ventures, Africa as one of the 40 African Legends under 40. ‘Gbenga is married to Temilade Sesan, Phd, an expert on Energy Poverty and Development.

Abdi Latif Dahir

Journalist with Quartz Africa

Abdi Latif Dahir is a journalist with Quartz Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya.


Corporate Accountability Editor at Ranking Digital Rights

Afef is the Corporate Accountability Editor at Ranking Digital Rights, working on editorial and
advocacy tasks aimed at advancing corporate accountability for freedom of expression and
privacy online. She is also the MENA Advox editor at Global Voices, where she reports on the
intersection of technology and human rights in the region. Afef holds a media studies MA from
the University of Amsterdam, where she wrote her thesis on the implications of commercial
social media platforms’ content removal policies in compliance with local laws.

Akua Gyekye

Facebook’s Public Policy Manager for West and Central Africa

Akua Gyekye is Facebook’s Public Policy Manager for West and Central Africa, where she leads on
engaging with government, civil society and other policy influencers on issues relating privacy, online
safety and security, freedom of expression, the impact of the Internet on economic growth as well as
new opportunities for democratic engagement, elections and communication.

Before joining Facebook, Akua was working as a project finance lawyer, qualified to practice in New York
and the United Kingdom, at the law firm Clifford Chance. Akua previously worked in Nigeria and Liberia
as a legal adviser and rule of law specialist at the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation
and as an anti-corruption lawyer at USAID. Akua also has years of experience working for and with a
variety of government departments, NGOs and international think tanks in Europe, the US and in various
countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Akua holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Society with minors in International Relations and Spanish
from American University, a Law Degree from Cambridge University in England and a Masters of Laws in
International and Comparative Law from The George Washington University Law School.

Ayisha Osori

Lawyer and Consultant

Ayisha is a lawyer and consultant with over 18 years experience
in the public and private sectors including work with the World
Bank, United Nations Children’s Fund, National Democratic
Institute and Department of International Development on
projects related to good governance, gender equality, women’s
economic and political participation and ending violence against
women. She sits on the board of various organisations in the
public and private sector.
She is a published writer. Her latest book, Love Does Not Win
Elections, about her experience contesting the PDP primaries in
2014 was recently released to much acclaim. She collaborated
on a series of children's textbooks on social studies used in
primary schools and a children's reference book on Nigeria. She
kept a weekly column for five years, in Thisday’s The Lawyer
newspaper and most recently, as the Nigerian Citizen for the
Leadership newspaper where she covered legal and social
issues ranging from state sponsored marriages to good
governance. Ms. Osori is a regular commentator on radio and
television and has been involved in numerous campaigns to
improve social justice for women and girls and to improve
governance in Nigeria.
Ms. Osori, an Eisenhower Fellow, graduated with law degrees
from the University of Lagos and Harvard Law School and has a
Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy
School. She is licensed to practice law in Nigeria and the State
of New York.

Adeboye Adegoke

Program Manager for Digital Rights, Paradigm Initiative.

Adeboye Adegoke is the Program Manager for Digital Rights (Anglophone West Africa) at Paradigm


Publisher, Premium Times

He currently works as publisher of Nigeria’s leading investigative news platform, Premium Times. Previous to this, He served as policy director and chief of staff at Nigeria’s
leading anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. He worked as
editor during the years of military dictatorship in Nigeria earned me the 1995 International Editor of the
Year Award of the World Press Review; the 1996 PEN Center (West) Freedom to Write Award; Press
Freedom Award (1996) of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) New York; and 1996
Hellman Hammett grant of the Human Rights Watch.
Back in 1991, He was founding editor of the now-defunct Nigeria Journalism Quarterly, NJQ, published by
the Nigerian Union of Journalists. I am currently the Vice President of the transnational investigative
body for West Africa headquartered in Burkina Faso, CENOZO. In 1995, He founded the now famous and
well regarded Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism `{`www.wscij.org`}` to help construct a civic
mechanism, through the media, to hold political and economic power accountable in the country. Ten
years after, He co-founded the first Investigative journalism newsroom in Nigeria which is perhaps the most
influential and most trusted fact-based news platform in the country today, `{`premiumtimesng.com`}`.
His master's degree was in English Literature from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, but
He also holds a Certificate in Journalism, Law, and Rights in War from the International Institute for
Humanitarian Law, Sanremo, Italy; Certificate in Human Rights Law from the Washington College of Law
of the American University in Washington DC; and a Certificate in Natural Resource Management from
the University of Oxford. His most recent professional work in the past decade has been in leading
transparency and accountability demands in the broad Nigeria society. Many of the works have gone to
win national, regional, and global awards, including a joint Pulitzer Award in 2016 and 2017 Global
Shining Light Award of the Global Investigative Journalism Network – GIJN. His specializations and areas
of competence straddle anti-corruption programming, media development and innovation, law
enforcement management, civic engagement, and policy development.

Farida Nabourema

Prolific Social Activist , Writer

Farida Nabourema is a prolific social activist and writer, recently emerging as the unequivocal
voice of Togo’s pro-democracy movement. Farida has been a fearless advocate for democracy
and human rights in Togo since she was a teenager. Through over 300 articles written on her
blog and other sites, Farida denounces corruption, dictatorship and promotes a form of
progressive Pan Africanism. In 2014, Farida published a book in French titled “La Pression de
oppression” (The Pressure of Oppression) in which she discussed the different forms of
oppressions that people face throughout Africa and highlighted the need for youth and women
to be politically engaged.
Farida is also the Executive Director of the Togolese Civil League, an NGO that promotes
democracy and human rights in Togo trough grassroot organizing, civic education and
advocacy. Prior to taking that position, Farida founded the Faure Must Go movement in 2011
where she organized thousands of Togolese youths to stand against the dictatorial regime of
Faure Gnassingbe. Faure Must Go has become the slogan for the civil resistance movement in
Togo of which Farida is one of the most well-known leaders.

Frederico Links

Freelance sub-editor at The Namibian

Frederico Links is a Namibian journalist, editor, researcher, and activist. He is a freelance sub-editor at
Namibia's foremost daily newspaper, The Namibian, and a former editor of Insight Namibia magazine, as
well as having contributed to a range of South Africa and internationally based media outlets. At the
same time he is also a long-time freelance research associate with Namibia’s leading think-tank, the
Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). In both his journalism and research work, Frederico Links is
primarily concerned with democracy and governance issues, particularly corruption and
maladministration, both within the public and private spheres. He is also an ardent access to
information advocate and a founder member, and chairperson, of the Access to Information in Namibia
(ACTION) Coalition of civil society, media organisations and social activists. Frederico Links was/is also a
founder member of the #MyConstitutionMyDecision social movement which opposed undemocratically
introduced constitutional changes to the Namibian constitution in 2014. He is also a founder member,
and chairperson, of the Namibia Internet Governance Forum (NamIGF), as well as an ISOC Namibia
board member and convener of the chapter’s policy committee. In the Internet Governance (IG) sphere
he has a strong interest in cybersecurity, privacy and data protection and freedom of expression.

Henry Omusundi Maina

egional Director, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa

Henry Omusundi Maina, Regional Director, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa since August 2009. He is a
Chevening Scholar. He recently worked on African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms and has
been part of critical actors engaging states and ICT companies on how to balance cybersecurity
interventions and respect for freedom online. He also has expertise in media law, digital rights, access to
information and governance. Henry is skilled in programme management and fundraising, and has a LLM
(Master of Laws degree) in international development, law and human rights from Warwick University in
the UK. He also holds degrees in journalism and education

Wokulira Geoffrey Ssebaggala


Mr. Wokulira Geoffrey Ssebaggala (Uganda) is a journalist by profession. He has
co-founded and served in different entities served as a leader namely; in January
2009 to July 2013, he served as national coordinator for the Human Rights
Network for Journalists in Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda), a network that promotes and
defends press freedom; before, Mr. Ssebaggala worked as a radio journalist for
eight years, but lost his radio job in 2008 under duress and pressure from
government. He fled Uganda in September 2008 after escaping attempted
kidnappings. Upon his return to Uganda in 2009, he joined HRNJ-Uganda. Before
his retirement at Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda, Mr. Ssebaggala
was awarded the European Union Human Rights Defender of the Year, in May
In August 2013 to May 2017, he co-founded the Unwanted Witness and served as
a Chief Executive Officer. The Unwanted Witness promotes and defends digital
rights and internet freedom in Uganda. The organization has spearheaded
different campaigns including the campaign to enact the Data Protection and
Privacy Bill.
In July 2017 to date, Mr. Ssebaggala co-founded and leads Witnessradio.org a
non-governmental organization that uses research and investigations to promote
and protect universal human rights of the poor and marginalized groups in

Julie Owono

Executive Director of Internet Without Borders

Julie Owono is a lawyer and the Executive Director of Internet Without Borders, an organisation
defending digital rights, and an open Internet for all. She often publishes op-eds in the International
press and is a regular TV expert on various international media, including France 24, BBC World, and Al

Koliwe Majama

Media, Information, Communications and Technologies consultant

Koliwe Majama is a Zimbabwean Media, Information, Communications and
Technologies consultant with over 15 years of experience working in civil society
lobby and advocacy. As a trained journalist with a diploma in Journalism and
Mass Communication, Koliwe has practiced as both a print and broadcast
journalist in Zimbabwe. She also holds a BSc in Media and Society Studies from
Zimbabwe’s Midlands State University in Zimbabwe and is alumni of the African
School of Internet Governance. In her recent past position of ten years, as
Programme Officer at the Media Institute of Southern Africa’s Zimbabwe Chapter
Koliwe was prominently involved in internet governance processes in her
country through research and multi-stakeholder engagement. In the region &
globally she has invested in networking and thought leadership on varying
internet governance trends. In 2017, she coordinated the African School on
Internet Governance as a consultant for the Association for Progressive
Communications. Koliwe is a civil society representative on Zimbabwe
Internet Governance Forum (ZIGF), and current Vice Chairperson of the
Multistakeholder Coordinating Team.

Tolu Ogunlesi

Journalist, poet, photographer, fiction writer, and blogger.

Tolu Ogunlesi is a Nigerian journalist, poet, photographer, fiction writer, and blogger. Ogunlesi was
appointed to the role of Special Assistant on Digital/New Media by President Muhammadu Buhari on 18
February 2016

Victor Matthias

Bi-lingual Web Editor, Presenter, Reporter and Producer

Victor is a bi-lingual Web Editor, Presenter, Reporter and Producer with over five years’ experience.
Victor pioneered social media reporting in Nigeria, creating television content using social media
platforms. Building on that, Victor created Channels Television’s flagship social media programme,
Channels Beam, which he produces and anchors.
He is also the pioneer news anchor of the station’s Midnight News, which has now become the
alternative for viewers who miss the flagship News at Ten. Victor, as a reporter, has covered stories, in
Nigeria and abroad. This includes stories about the Boko Haram insurgency, the evolving Information
and Communication Technology industry and the plight of Internally Displaced Persons in the country.
In recognition of Victor's work, in 2016, He was nominated for The Future Awards Africa in Best Visual
on Air Personality category. Before then, he was selected by the American Embassy in Nigeria to
participate in a TV Co-op programme to produce a documentary on the Impact of Internet on Our Lives.
He is also a member of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), a flagship programme of former U.S
president, Barrack Obama.



You can book a room at any of the following hotels which are close by to the Venue:

You can also check out Airbnb for cheaper options.


All you need to know about Visa is available here, if you do require one.


Do you need to reach us urgently? Email iff@paradigmhq.org or call 234 1 342 62 45.

Local Travel

Abuja has an excellent local transportation system weaved around affordable taxis that can get you to wherever you are going in the city. Uber and Taxify are your dependable options.


Nigeria spends Naira and you can easily change your foreign currency to naira right at the airport. Many hotels also provide currency exchange services. For current exchange rates, please refer here.

Remote Participation

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can follow the sessions live and participate in the discussion. You can also follow our twitter handle and Facebook page.


IFF has a track record of producing tangible, actionable outcomes. The 2014 edition gave birth to Nigeria’s Digital Rights and Freedom Bill that has now been passed by Nigeria’s national assembly and is currently being studied in several other countries for replication.


IFF 2017 held at Sheraton Hotels & Towers, Lagos, from April 25 through 27, and was attended by participants from over 30 countries. You can read the reports of previous edition here.