The Nigerian Network Operators Group (ngNOG) on Tuesday said there was need to connect the next 100 million Nigerians to affordable internet.
The Co-founder of ngNOG, Mr Sunday Folayan, made this known at the 13th Network Technology Conference and Workshop organised by ngNOG in Lagos.
ngNOG is a forum dedicated to promoting the exchange of technical information and the cooperation and coordination among network service providers.
It has to do with discussion and policy implementations on issues affecting the internet community, and to maintain the stability of the Internet within the Nigerian region.
Folayan said that there was need to connect the next 100 million Nigerians because of the benefits of the internet.
He said that connecting the next 100 million could be made easier by recognising the importance of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the nation’s socioeconomic development.
According to him, there is need to make ICT the centerpiece of national development through steady pursuit of policies and programmes that will re-position Nigeria as a strong player in the emerging global digital economy.
“Information technology will require concerted efforts in legislation and policies, education and capacity building, open governance and enhanced accountability.
“We need to recognise information technology as a matter of national priority and make it the bedrock of national development, by putting in policies that will use ICT to drive socioeconomic development.
“Enactment of appropriate legislations to give effect to the various ICT thrusts of the government, such as mandatory continuing education, the National Software Strategic Policy, National Broadband Policy or plan and Financial Technology Services, among others,” he said.
Folayan said that there was the need to foster technological innovation and competitiveness, so as to get very good dividends from the technological forays.
He said that government should pay attention to locally developed solutions to free the country from digital slavery and technological isolation.
According to him, government should give prominence to the National Local Content Act, 2010.
The co-founder said that a very strong reward system should be instituted to encourage technological innovation at all levels and across all areas.
He said that government should develop the ICT industry by a method of strong engagement of the industry players at all levels.
Folayan said that in order to connect the next 100 million Nigerians, there was the need to create at least 12 IT or Knowledge Innovation Parks in different parts of the country.
He said that at least, two Software Engineering Institutes (SEI) should be established, in line with the spirit of the Local Content Development Act.
“The march to connect the next 100 million and indeed all Nigerians requires continuous cultivation and empowerment of the community, and a task for all to do.
“I humbly request our development partners to keep the faith. Nigeria is a great place to cast your nets and of course, the returns are enormous.
“Our main task, is to build a community of people who can work together, to push the envelope to take the nation forward,” Folayan said.
Mr Adewale Ajao, the President of Internet Society (ISOC) Nigeria Chapter, said that connecting the next 100 million Nigerians required just some simple decisions by government and network operators.
Ajao said that the cost of accessing the internet should be affordable, so as to connect more Nigerians.
He said that data bundle was costly because a lot of contents came from outside the country, hence, the need to domesticate contents.