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Thursday, June 04, 2015

NDSF 2015 opens, as Gusau charges regulators on net neutrality study



The two-day annual Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) and IPv6 Roundtable kicked off in Lagos with the chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Hon. Dr. Ibrahim Shehu Gusau, calling for an industry-based study on Net Neutrality in Nigeria, reports ITRealms.

Gusau who also led high level delegates at the event to declare the forum open, beckoned on industry regulators within the ICT sector like the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to initate a policy study on this begging issue of net neutrality with the trend on how it could affect Nigerians, especially the Internet, so as to have a defined reasonable traffic management policy dealing on all the associated concerns arising from net neutrality with its attendant usurping of services to end-users in the country.

While reassuring on readiness of the National Assembly, especially the House of Representatives to do all their power to encourage a level playing ground, the Committee chairman expressed hope on the forthcoming 8th session to even thrive to achieve more than the outgoing 7th session.

Gusau also commended the role being played by DigitalSENSE Africa Media Limited in annually staging the forum, which he described as significant role endeared to multistakeholderism in its role to ensure Nigerians are enlightened enough to be able to key into the global competitive of the Internet.

According to him, by successfully organizing the Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum on Internet Governance for Development for the past seven years, shows commitment in leveraging the values of ICT to enlightenment and education across board and multistakeholderism approach.

“The Forum by God’s grace has become a sin qua non, in other words an essential condition; a thing that is absolutely necessary for internet community in Nigeria as industry stakeholders-based  approach to gather annually to jaw-jaw on latest issues on Internet and Internet-related matters for individuals, groups and national growth and development,” he said.

Gusau, who also presided over the forum opening session, noted that the signing of the Cyber Bill into Law by the immediate-past President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on May 15, 2015, was a plus for the National Assembly.

“I think Mr. President and indeed the National Assembly deserve an applause, and we will continue to do more in that regard,” he said.

Recalling that in 2011, at a forum by DigitalSENSE Africa Media Limited at the Golden Gate Ikoyi Lagos, I promised Nigerians that Cyber Security Act will come into play before the end of 7th session of the National Assembly and by signing this into law by former President Jonathan; that promise has come to fulfillment.

However, he said that the theme: ‘Net Neutrality and Nigerian Internet Users’ passes for the network neutrality, Internet neutrality, or net equality principle that Internet service providers or government should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites.

Further, he said, this principle applies to the ISPs and governments to treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication. 

The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003, as an extension of the longstanding concept of a common carrier.

Some of the agitations arising from the debate on net neutrality, he pointed to include bandwidth throttling; data discrimination; deep packet inspection, End-to-end principle; Internet Protocol (IP); Net bias, Net Neutrality law; Search neutrality and Tiered Internet to name a few.

Of course, more than ever before the House of Representatives and at large the National Assembly, is aware of the need to enact most germane and enabling laws that are meant to induce more competition, innovation, local content as well as checkmate excesses especially in the social media through cyber laws, so that population of netizens in Nigeria will continue to swell positively.
 

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Pix: Captions for NDSF Day-1:
1. Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum on IG4D 2015 ... L-R: Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), Mr. Gbenga Sesan, Country Manager, OLX Nigeria, Lola Masha, and Head, Legal and Regulatory Service at Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mrs Yetunde Akinloye, at a two-day Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum Series 2015 on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) with theme "Net Neutrality and Nigeria Internet Users" held at Welcome Center Hotels Ikeja-Lagos, yesterday 4th June, 2015.
2. L-R: Head, Legal and Regulatory Service at Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mrs Yetunde Akinloye, Representative of Director-General,  National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Preye Itonyo, Executive Director, Operations, DigitalSENSE Africa Mrs Nkemdilim Nweke, Country Manager, OLX Nigeria, Lola Masha, Chairman, House Committee on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Federal House of Representatives (FHR) Hon. Dr. Ibrahim Shehu Gusau (Forum Chairman), Group Executive Editor, ITRealms, Mr Remmy Nweke, during a two-day Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum Series 2015 on "Net Neutrality and Nigeria Internet Users" at Welcome Center Hotels Ikeja-Lagos, yesterday 4th June, 2015.

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