In order to realign Nigeria’s strategic IT direction and further provide affordable broadband for the next 100 million Nigerians and as well reposition the country for global competitiveness, regulators, operators and stakeholders at the 13the Network Technology Conference and Workshop titled: Affordable Broadband For The Next 100 Million Nigerians, had identified the need to connect the next 100 million Nigerians for successful business operations and economic growth in Nigeria.
In his keynote address, Connecting the next 100 Million: Realigning Nigeria’s Strategic IT Direction, President, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), Revd. Sunday A. Folayan. highlighted some of the challenges and action points, that will help us in the task of connecting the next 100 million Nigerians.
He said that connecting the next 100 millionNigerians will be made easier by recognizing the importance of information communication technology (ICT) in the nation’s socio-economic development by making ICT the centerpiece of national development through the steady pursuit of policies and programmes that will re-position Nigeria as a strong player in the emerging global digital economy.
According to him, we must carry out the task of rebuilding Nigeria’s economy so that it will be less dependent on oil and more dependent on other sources of revenue, especially information technology will require concerted efforts in legislation and policies, education and capacity building, open governance and enhanced accountability. Continuing, Folayan said that legislation and Policies should recognize information technology as a matter of national priority and make it the bedrock of national development by putting in place policies that will use ICT to drive Socio-economic development. “Enactment of appropriate legislations to give effect to the various ICT thrusts of the Government such as Mandatory continuing education, the National Software Strategic Policy, National Broadband Policy or plan, Financial Technology Services etc. Review existing but important legislations such as the Cybercrime Act and designate an executive agency for greater effectiveness. Streamline existing ICT regulations and Government oversight for better service delivery to all sectors and industry players” . He further said that there is need to review the ICT Curriculum in the various educational establishments and levels to reflect the realities of the current age; embark on a massive manpower development drive to harness the energies and capabilities of the Nigerian youth and create mass IT literacy programmes at all levels, to take education to every Nigerian etc. In addition, President, Internet Society Nigeria Transfer, managing Bandwidth Consortium, Adewole Ajao, said that getting affordable broadband internet access to 100m Nigerians is very feasible and achievable in Nigeria, but is something that has to be done with mindset of people who are committed because in places where you have millions of people connected, it didn’t happen by accident. Some people decided that we need internet connectivity and we should take steps. So that is the essence of this conference and workshop, the Nigerian Network Operators Group (ngNOG) to discuss on affordable broadband for the next 100 million Nigerians including the local communities, University institutions, all and sundry so that Nigeria can be like other countries where it’s working effectively. According to Ajao, over the last 12 years we have building technical capacity to manage network within the campuses and other smaller network operators. This year we decided to bring a larger commercial network operators into the picture and share the things we learn from people building network all over the world so that Nigerian operators can start adding new things in place. He said that one of the things we are discussing here is how to start sharing interconnection, in a way that if you are network operator with 5m subscriber and another with 10m subscriber, it is easy for two of them to meet at a point to interconnect rather than buying upstream internet from an international operator which drives up cost for users.