Monday, January 14, 2008

NiRA, NITDA to sign MoU on .ng tomorrow

Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), would tomorrow in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, sign a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with regard to handing over the management of the nation’s country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD).

Champion Infotel recalls that following the controversies surrounding the hitherto management of the nation’s ccTLD among stakeholders, former President Olusegun Obasanjo had directed the federal government agency, NITDA to take over the administrative contact portfolio and come up with a structure that would involve all the Internet community stakeholders.

This, however, resulted in the stakeholders’ formation of NiRA, which was inaugurated last year under the leadership of the Mr. Ndukwe Kalu, the chief executive of Amsco Telecom.

While the board of trustees is led by an industry astute and chairman, Linkserve Limited, Chief Chima Apugo Onyekwere.

Confirming this, NiRA President, Mr. Kalu described as a good development and in furtherance of the steps to boost the stakeholders’ trust in NiRA and in accordance with the global Internet regulator, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) guidelines.

He also said that plans have been advanced to ensure the success of the signing ceremony in Abuja.

This is coming as NiRA recently said its targeting 1 million registrants in the nation’s ccTLD by 2009, even as NiRA currently has achieved over 3000-domain names registration since coming on board in the first quarter of last year.

Speaking last quarter, Mr. Kalu said registration exercise, which is on-going is expected to attract 1 million before the next 24 months.

“Our hope is to move this figure to 1 million within the next 24 months,” he asserted, adding that before the birth of the current NiRA management team in May last year, the number of registered domain names in the country was less than a 1000.

He also said that NiRA was aware that several Nigerian domains exist but were hitherto registered mostly with the international domain names.

NiRA, he said, is a child of circumstance given birth to by the immediate past administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

NiRA, he pointed out also faces some challenges mostly in curtailing advances by some disgruntled Nigerians who tried to register phoney company domain names.

“But NiRA has put some measures in place to safeguard against such attempts. We have to verify every application before registering any name,” Mr. Kalu said.

He further said that the main function of NiRA is to administer the nation’s Top Level Domain (TLD) .ng, as seen in other countries, emphasizing that a domain is like an address that facilitates a location of a given name on the Internet.

Hence, it is an address to locate an organisation or individual online, just as he equally disclosed that NiRA is collaborating with the directorate of Cyber crime and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in order to teem down the rise of Internet fraud emanating from the Nigerian-based Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.

He added that NiRA is in communication with the newly created directorate of Cybercrime, and EFCC to ensure reduction and involvement of Nigerians on Internet fraud.

“The collaboration, he said, has resulted in the introduction of due diligence initiative among the service providers,” Mr. Kalu said.

According to him, NiRA supports 100 per cent trial of any fraudulent process, maintaining that technically, there are room to trace fraudulent electronic mail scams and his association is not relenting.

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