For Nigeria to play big in the emerging global digital economy, the Nigeria Network Operators Group (ngNOG), has called for the re-alignment of policies, especially in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
This policy realignment is also expected to help connect the next 100 million Nigerians. There are currently 105 million Internet users in Nigeria, with over 26 million on Facebook.
Calling for re-alignment of policies, ngNOG said the project will be made easier by recognizing the importance of ICT in the nation’s socio-economic development.
The Group said this at this year’s Network Technology Conference and Workshop, held at the Zone Tech Park, Gbagada, Lagos, with the theme, “Affordable Broadband Internet to the next 100 million Nigerians.”
In his lecture, President, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), Sunday Folayan, said: “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.
This requires concerted efforts in legislation and policies, education and capacity building, open governance and enhanced accountability.
“We must 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.
“The government must consider reviewing the existing legislation such as the Cyber crime Act, and designate an executive agency for greater effectiveness and existing ICT regulations and Government oversight for better service delivery to all sectors and industry players.”
On education and capacity building, he said: “the ICT curriculum in the various educational establishments and levels must also be reviewed to reflect the realities of the current age.”
Calling for massive manpower development drive to harness the energies and capabilities of the Nigerian youth, Folayan advised that the NYSC scheme be converted to “an IT Retooling Camp, as part of the national IT capacity enhancement strategy.”
He also urged Google, and Facebook to take advantage of the opportunities in Nigeria, given, saying the returns are enormous. Speaking on connecting additional 100 million Nigerians, President, Internet Society in Nigeria, a co-convener of ngNOG, Adewole Ajao, said: “It is very visible, but it is something that has to be done with strategy in mind, because it won’t happen by accident.
We will build capacity in the people to build their own mini-networks, and operate it themselves, in the end we can get the benefit of connecting to the internet.
On data volatility, Ajao said: “it’s something that worries everyone. We are only worried about that because it’s so expensive; if it becomes cheaper, you won’t worry that you finished 10 gigs in one day.
There are several reasons why data cost so much; a lot of the content is coming from outside the country, meanwhile, if more people host the contents locally, it would become less expensive because of the shorter distance to traffic.
Until we start to have alternatives, I don’t see those prices coming down. The other thing is to start to aggregate our purchases, but it’s hard to get people to collaborate to get joint purchasing in Nigeria, because everybody want to be the chairman of his own company.”