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Friday, March 30, 2007

NiRA awakes, laments absence of IT bill

ALMOST one year in limbo, the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Nigerian Internet Registration Association (NiRA), arose at the weekend to highlight line of actions following its registration by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) last February.

Champion Infotel recalls that the BoT was inaugurated at the last meeting of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) stakeholders forum of the Internet community, held on March 29, 2006, at the MUSON Centre Lagos, to midwife the harmonisation of interests on how to run the Nigeria’s Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) name dot .ng.

Consequent upon the directive by Mr. President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo that a non-governmental agency be set up according to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) stipulations to run and manage the ccTLD.

CcTLD enables entities resident in Nigeria to register their online addresses with .ng, such as United Kingdom is .uk, South Africa .za. This entails that those in the education sector in the country would have to register with .edu.ng; business .biz.ng; government .gov.ng as well as organisation as .org.ng among other sub-domain names affiliation.

But arising from its purported slumber which it claimed was necessitated by the inability of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to register it with CAC, when the BoT decided to take the bull by the horns by approaching CAC direct, saying that they are ready to ensure that NiRA succeeds.

Chairman of NiRA BoT, Dr. Isaac Adeola Odeyemi, told newsmen in Lagos, that NiRA has been registered and issued the certificate of recognition by CAC since February 9, 2007 and is ready to commence registration of interests on its mandate, dot ng.

To this end, NiRA, he said, has appointed two Point of Contacts (PoC), Messrs Sunday Folayan of Scannet Ibadan and Tem Prieye of NITDA, to manage this aspect, even as NiRA plans to host stakeholders to its first Annual General Meeting (AGM) since inauguration on May 9, 2007, to hold at MUSON Centre Onikan Lagos.

According to Dr. Odeyemi, who was flanked by some BoT members including Chief Chima Onyekwere of Linkserve, Mr. Shina Badaru of Technology Times, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote of Ministry of Information and Communications, President of Computer Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), Dr. Mrs. Adenike Osofisan and the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Mr. Ejide Oludunmoye who represented NCS president, Dr. Chris Nwannenna, registration of NiRA membership would top the agenda at the AGM.

This, he said, would attract N1,000, while those wishing to register their domain name in Nigeria with .ng can access information to that effect online as from April 1, 2007.

“Prospective members are to visit the NIRA website at www.nira.org.ng from April 1, 2007 for registration guidelines. Applications can be submitted online from that date. Applications may be submitted to nirabot@nitda.gov.ng and this will be routed to the Screening Committee,” he said.

While commending Mr. President for his steadfast support in ensuring that Nigeria is placed in her rightful position in comity of ICT nations, NiRA lamented that only few Nigerians are aware of .ng and its importance and therefore solicited the support of the media.

“Obasanjo’s government has put ICT sector in the front burner,” he declared.

NiRA also decried the state of ICT bill which is reportedly at the presidency for assertion, warning however that from its own perspective there is no stipulations on the responsibility and modalities of choosing the chief executive of NITDA, even though the BoT calls for early endorsement of the bill to transform it into law in the land.

“The signing of ICT bill would be a prelude to ICT development in this country,” he said, stressing that NiRA is ready up to a level it could now take off with the support of its BoT members.

Also speaking, Chief Onyekwere expressed optimism that NiRA would succeed, although there are some logs that need clearing such as epileptic power, saying that Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) has a lot of influence in this regard to ensure that NiRA accomplish its goals.

“We have to make NiRA succeed,” he said.Other speakers at the session including CPN President, Dr. (Mrs) Osofisan and Mrs. Odusote, advocated for support of all Nigerians and stakeholders precisely so as to move the nation forward, just as they enjoined stakeholders in the nation’s Internet community to make themselves available for the AGM come May 9, this year.

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