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Monday, July 18, 2005

NIG introduces ‘Internet Consumers’ Parliament’

THE Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) has advanced plans to commence the nation’s ‘Internet Consumers’ Parliament’.

President of NIG and Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of Teledom International Limited, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, disclosed this to ITRealms in Lagos.

He said the Internet consumers’ parliament year, which first sitting would be between the first and second week of December this year in Lagos, would comprise all stakeholders in attendance.

According to him, from the members of the Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN), Association of Tele-Centre and Café Operators of Nigeria (ATCON), Private Telephone Operators (PTO’s) and other members of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), who offer Internet-related services as well as Internet users and value added services companies, are billed to grace the inaugural parliament.

Some of the issues expected to be on top of the agenda at the first sitting would include the recent proposal on adoption of convergence licensing regime by the global telecommunication regulator, International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Others, ITRealms was informed would be the proliferation of visiting pornographic sites by Internet users in the country.

Also, the usage of Internet cafes as a launching ground for scam mail otherwise known as online 419- operators, among other online dubious activities.

Dr. Ekuwem said that the aim of introducing Internet Consumers’ Parliament is to further enthrone what he called “positive Internet usage culture” into the country and to live up to one of the objectives of NIG through awareness creation.

Equally, to be area of concern for the new parliament is the non-depositing of adequate or equivalent bandwidth after due payment has been made by consumers.

NIG, he reiterated, is for Internet advocacy, awareness, stressing that if the group have all the PTOs offering or even potential Internet service providers, to boost Internet penetration under one roof to hold discussions pertaining to problems, solutions and growth in the country.

“All would be for good of all Nigerian Internet consumers,” he asserted.

Emphasising that banks and other corporate organisations and institutions of higher learning offering Internet services to the end-users would also be invited.

In addition, Dr. Ekuwem said the Internet and telecom regulator in the country, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Information Technology policy executor, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Computer Professional (Registration) Council of Nigeria (CPN), ISPAN, to name a few, would be at the parliament expected to hold either monthly or quarter, depending on the decision reached at the first meet, this December.

“All these groups and consumers would use the platform to have an interactive sessions to identify problems in the industry and profer solutions,” he said.

As at the time of filling this report the venue, was yet to be disclosed, but our correspondent gathered that it may be at the old Senate Chamber at the Tafewa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos-Island, in Lagos State.

The old Senate Chamber is currently where NCC is hosting its monthly Telecom Consumers Parliament which began last quarter of 2003.

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