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Education lawyers

Nigerian Schools need to understand the concept of image rights, data privacy, and protection in school events because schools operate in our age of digital proliferation and information accessibility.


Kabiru, the corporate communications lead of telecom, is married to Funmi, a human resources manager of a global finance firm. Kabiru and Funmi live in Ikoyi with their school-age children.

Late Thursday, Kabiru received a call that his mother, a Kano resident, was sick. He arrived in Kano the next day and was in Lagos the Sunday following.

On Monday, Musa, Funmi’s team member, whom Funmi assisted in obtaining leave to travel to Kano for his daughter’s primary school graduation, proudly sent Funmi the school’s Instagram handle with a note that his daughter was the 2nd best-graduating pupil.

Initially, Funmi could not understand why her Kabiru was standing beside the best-graduating pupil and fondly clutching the waistline of the mother of the best-graduating pupil.

Until Funmi read the Instagram mention of Kabiru as the father of the best graduating pupil, Funmi was emotionally shattered – Kabiru never disclosed a second marriage. Kabiru is also venomous towards the school for posting the family photographs and videos without his consent.

Schools and all education stakeholders must understand the concepts of Image rights and data privacy to comply with Nigeria’s data protection, copyright regimes, and other laws.

The Federal Ministry of Education may violate the image rights of the students and pupils if it does not obtain parental consent to publish the photographs of the students and pupils on the banner of its X (Twitter) handle below.

Admittedly, questions arising from image rights, data privacy, and protection are complex. Although educational purposes are exceptions to data protection, a chasm exists between educational purposes and educational promotion campaigns or advertisements.

Given the thin lines between image rights, data privacy, and protection, our education lawyers recommend a consent-based approach to image rights and data privacy in Nigeria’s education sector.

Nigeria Data Protection Act 2023 requires a data processor or controller to inform the data subject how it will use the data. Photographs and videos in school events are personal data – even if, arguably, schools or educational organizations own copyrights to such images.

Image Rights

The Copyrights Act 2023 and Nigeria Data Protection Act 2023 apply to image rights. In addition to the legal principles of trespass to the person, libel, and slander, whether the image is a photograph or audio-visual.

Within the scope of this article, photographs and videos of school events are images. Given that images are personal data and property, our education lawyers are convinced that schools process data during photography sessions and video coverages in school events.

So, an outsourced photographer or camera person in a school event is a data processor. In contrast, the school is the data processor. The school would be a data processor and controller if its employees were the camera person.

Schools must disclose to pupils, students, and guests how they use images from school events, with an option for full or partial consent and refusal. A school’s admission pack is a preferred means of obtaining students’ or parental permission to use images in academic and extracurricular activities.

Students, parents, guests, and staff members hold inherent image rights in images. Schools must obtain consent before capturing or using images of students, staff, parents, and guests, with full disclosure of the extent of use.

Consent forms must outline the use of images and allow individuals to withhold consent.

Data Privacy and Protection

Data privacy protects identifiable personal information, such as images, from unauthorized access or use. In contrast, data protection safeguards images against loss, abuse, unauthorized use, and corruption.

Nigeria’s data protection regime and the 1999 Amended Constitution apply to image rights from school events. Schools must implement robust data protection policies and practices to ensure compliance with regulations.

AX School’s website contains images of pupils. AX School’s website does not have data safety plugins that prevent copying images and other encryptions.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) may positively or negatively manipulate children’s digital images and voices publicly online. Besides, with adequate credit to AX School, we could have successfully culled any pupils’ images into this work.

Images may also appear on sensitive academic records, school-based health records, and contact details. Schools must educate students, parents, and staff about their image rights, including collection and use.

Challenges and Solutions

Most Nigerian parents whose children are of pre-tertiary age are not digital natives. Such parents and schools struggle with social media and everything digital.

Lack of digital awareness and poor understanding of digital rights affect schools’ policies on image rights, data privacy, and protection.

The increasing digital vulnerabilities and schools’ use of digital platforms and technology for educational purposes and educational promotion campaigns increase the risks of violating image rights and data privacy.

The Ministry of Education needs to improve in regulating Edu technology and the use of technology in schools. Porous educational compliance and a need for more expertise affect schools and regulators.

Our Education Lawyers and education law team recognize the knowledge gap and the training needs in the educational sector of Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria.

SRJ launched the Education Law Series as a training and awareness programme to bridge the knowledge gap in how stakeholders perceive education rights, duties, and liabilities.


In the digital age, image rights, data privacy, and protection are critical considerations for Nigerian schools. Schools must prioritize consent, implement robust policies and practices, and foster a culture of awareness and compliance.

A school that upholds the rights of students, parents, staff, and guests will ensure the security and integrity of their data. Above all, schools must obtain consent and disclose the extent of using images from school events.

Educational institutions must invest in robust cyberinfrastructure and personnel, including a data-compliant privacy policy embedded in registration channels, encryption, firewalls, and secure data storage solutions.

Schools, parent associations, education non-profits, and regulators can collaborate with education lawyers to stay abreast of regulatory changes, legislation, judicial decisions, emerging trends, and best practices affecting Nigerian schools.

SRJ is Nigeria’s bespoke education law firm serving pre-schools, primary and secondary schools, and tertiary and post-graduate schools. We understand TVET (Technical and Vocational Education Training), special needs education, faculty and student exchange, data protection and management, stakeholder relations, alumni relations, intellectual property, employment, land titling and management systems, freedom of information, regulatory compliance, and more.

We complement our education law practice with retail, fintech, and disputes.

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