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Monday, April 19, 2010

Odusote applauds DSA on Internet awareness

THE Permanent Secretary, Nigeria Ecological Fund, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, has commended Digital Sense Africa (DSA), organizers of the annual Nigeria Digital Sense Forum, for its initiative in sustaining the programme as a prelude to the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF). She noted that DSA as a private initiative has succeeded where government agencies failed.

Mrs. Odusote, who was speaking over the weekend in Lagos at the one-day Nigeria Digital Sense Forum, advocated that access to internet should be declared the right of every Nigerian.

“The nation needs a forum like this to enable her articulate her position at the global IGF. With attendance as this it shows the power the private sector has over the public sector in using the internet to network,” she said.

She also said though several attempts in the past to hold similar fora were not successful but that the public sector is beginning to wake up, just as she called for massive enlightenment on the potentials of the internet.

Mrs. Odusote who spoke on: Nigeria in WSIS; Five years of IGF, pointed out that for the nation to benefit more from the current internet access the service has to be improved upon.

Equally speaking, the President Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) Mr. Lanre Ajayi, lamented that the gap between the developing and developed nations in internet access is increasing by the day, citing that in the United States (US) and South Korea, broadband penetration has grown to 53 and 90 per cent respectively.

“The global average broadband penetration is 30 per cent. But in Nigeria we have one per cent of broadband penetration out of the estimated seven per cent of internet access, but what is this compared to the US, South Korea and global broadband penetration? So, we need to work hard to get access to our people,” he said.

Calling for urgent legislation to fight cyber crimes, he warned that unless something is done to check the menace of cyber crime in the country when access increases it means that the criminals would also increase.

The chairman of the 2010 forum and president, Internet Service Providers Association (ISPAN), Chief Samuel Adeleke said DSA has provided the nation the platform to articulate her position at the next IGF, lamenting that the average Nigerian is still illiterate when it comes to internet usage.

“We are not internet hungry. There is need for active participation both as a nation and as individuals to change the perception from the negative use of the internet to the positive,” he said.

In her welcome address, the Executive Director (Operations), DSA, Mrs. Nkemdilim Nweke said the forum acts as a rallying point for the nation’s internet stakeholders in raising and addressing salient issues concerning Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector and in particular, internet governance related issues.

Mrs. Nweke also commended the recent court ruling on the vexed issues arising from the sale of 2.3 GHz spectrum, describing it as a victory for democracy and the rule of law.

“This ruling is a victory for democracy and a way forward for the growth of the telecom sector in particular and the economy in general as the future lies on the internet,” she said.

Tagged “Five years of Internet Government Forum: The way forward for Nigeria”, the forum would prepare the nation for the IGF scheduled to hold in Vilnius, Lithuania between September 14 and 17, 2010, the organizers said.

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