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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Experts task politicians on .ng usage


Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) experts in the country have tasked Nigerian politicians on the adaptation of the nation’s country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), dot ng.

They said that the upcoming general elections in 2011 could be a morale booster to the .ng, especially the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), if all political office holders start to exhibit patriotism by using the nation’s domain name.

Those who made this call include the first Nigerian Information Technology Youth‘s Ambassador and Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), Mr. Gbenga Sesan and former President of the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem among others.

Investigations by ITRealms Online showed that as at the time of filing this report, almost every Nigerian politician campaigning for public office in 2011 has dot com (.com) or dot org (.org).

The dot com represents commercial websites hosted in the United States, while dot org means organisation’s website, equally hosted in the States.

.ng is the country-code Top-Level Domain designated for Nigeria under the sponsorship of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), registered with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), the administrative arm of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN’s); a global body charged with the coordination of the Internet, on March 15, 1995. Presently .ng has a little over 10,000 domain registrants, which could be described as dismal for a nation like Nigeria that boast of being the most populated country on the continent.

NIRA is the registry for .ng Internet Domain Names and maintains the database of names registered in the .ng country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD).Registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), as an independent not-for-profit organization NiRA manages the .ng ccTLD name space in the public interest of Nigeria and global internet communities.

Currently, NiRA says it encourages all applicants for .ng domain names to register their domains through one of the Accredited Registrars, even as the second level domains available to Nigerians comprises nine, namely com.ng - commercial entities and purposes, which is open every Nigerian, edu.ng, which is restricted to higher and further education and research institution; name.ng is open and could be used to register a personalised name; net.ng for Internet service, telecoms providers’ infrastructure; while org.ng is for not-for-profit entities, which also is opened to interested parties.

Additionally, the sch.ng is for other academic institutions event as it’s closed and at regional level; gov.ng is usually closed and is meant for national, regional, states and local government bodies and agencies. Whereas mil.ng is a closed domain name for the military and related purposes as well as mobi.ng being for mobile devices meeting .mobi generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) standards.

ITRealms Online investigations noted for instance that the acclaimed consensus candidate for the Adamu Ciroma-led northern caucus and former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, could be sited at http://atikuabubakar.com for the 2007 2011 at http://www.atiku.org/

For the retired General, Muhammadu Buhari, contesting for the presidency on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the forthcoming 2011 elections, could be located at http://www.buhari.org.

Equally for General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida popularly known as IBB, his online presence could be located at www.babangida.com, just as the incumbent governor of Kwara State, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, could be found at www.abubakarbukolasaraki.com.

Reacting on this development of using foreign domain names by Nigerian political class for 2011 elections and beyond, Executive Director, PIN, Mr. Gbenga Sesan, said that the first implication is security, which entails that the so-called owners are not in control of the domains.

“It means the content is hosted on servers they have little, if any, control over. If, for any reason, opponents seek to take down such websites, it’ll be quite easy,” he said, stressing that it’s an indication that very few Nigeria-based companies play active role in web-hosting at this era.

“It also goes to show that they are politicians in a country that has very few companies that host locally due to the high cost of such - because of infrastructure problems,” he declared.

Pointing out that the way forward is that they have began to embrace Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) mainly because they want to impress the youth in exchange for their votes, there could be a change at the end of the tunnel.

“Now that they’re embracing ICTs - or at least, pretending to reach out to youth via social networking platforms, we expect that any of them who eventually assumes the position of authority will take ICT more serious,” he anticipated.

In his comments, the former president of Nigeria Internet Group and chief executive of Teledom Group International, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, said that it takes a concentrated awareness campaign to get people at that level to buy into the concept of .ng.

While insisting that politicians must take advantage of .ng, he said that it’s not acceptable to the Nigerian populace for any political office aspirant to host his online presence outside .ng.

“It must be .ng or nothing. We need to create awareness among them,” he said.


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