The president of the Nigerian Internet Registration Association (NiRA), Revd. Sunday Folayan, has called on the federal government to rebuild the nation’s economy by focusing on the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) towards national development.
He said if the socio-economic situation of Nigeria is going to improve and become steady, “then we must carry out the task of rebuilding the economy so that it will be less dependent on oil and more dependent on other sources of revenue, especially the ICT which will requires concerted efforts in legislation and policies, education and capacity building, open governance and enhanced accountability.”
The NiRA boss disclosed this at the 2018 workshop organized for students in the tertiary institutions nationwide by the Nigerian Network Operators Group (ngNOG), a forum that oversees the development of local technical capacity in the management of internet connected networks in Nigeria.
The conference which was attended by notable mobile network operators, internet service providers, infrastructure providers, government regulators, end users and security agencies aimed at analyzing key issues and synthesizing concrete output as to how to accelerate internet development in Nigeria and the localization of data in the country.
Speaking at the event themed: “Connecting through affordable broadband for the next 100 million Nigerians,” Folayan said “Connecting the next 100 million Nigerians will be made easier by recognizing the importance of ICT in the nation’s socio-economic development by making ICT the centre-piece 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.”
He stressed the need to 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 and the 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.
He added that in other for Nigerians to be connected there is need for a review in the ICT Curriculum in various educational establishments and levels to reflect the realities of the current age. And the creation of mass IT literacy programs at all levels, to take education to every Nigerian.
He encouraged the mandatory automation of all government processes, functions and operations and the creation of a consolidated and centralized national database for effective governance of the country.
He canvassed for increased transparency in governance by using information technology for citizen’s engagement and reporting and online access to information, in line with the Freedom of Information Act.
“The march to connect the next 100 million and indeed all Nigerians requires the continuous cultivation and empowerment of the community, and a task for all to do,” Folayan said.