One of the key recommendations at the 2013 Nigeria Internet Governance Forum (NIGF) held recently in Nigeria is that Government should adopt multi-stakeholder approach in making policies and regulations at all levels, while regulations of internet contents should be built on existing infrastructure regulatory models/platforms.
The 2013 NIGF had stakeholders from public institutions, private sector groups, civil societies, professional bodies, trade associations, academia, students and youths, military and para-military organizations, security and law enforcement agencies, government, law makers, ICT industry, internet users, and the public in attendance. Also in attendance were media groups from print, electronic and online, scholars and research scientists
The NIGF was set up to stimulate productive ideas, best practices and experiences that can be harnessed to addressing critical national challenges, as well as to provide common national platform for local stakeholder’s interactions and input into Regional and Global IGF 2013 coming up in October at Indonesia.
The Forum focused on the central Theme ‘‘Internet Governance for Empowerment, National Integration and Security through Multi-stakeholders’ Engagement’’.
At the end of the forum, viable ideas and alternative opportunities that can address the nation’s most critical Internet issues, with diverse views and contributions were harmonized culminating into the following resolutions/recommendations:
1. National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) should develop a collaboration framework with National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to create a biannual directory of ICT infrastructure and resources available in the country, as well to produce the annual status report with proper documentation of Internet utilization or users in Nigeria.
2. The (NBS) should fast track development of local internet research in partnership with Universities as collaborators in establishing data collections centres, and encourage graduating students/ research community who have IT knowledge to handle the problem of data collection from the field.
3. State governments should mandate their institutions to develop enforcement policies that will stimulate the official usage of Internet while making official engagement through internet as a state culture.
4. Government should make frantic effort to identify national ICT priority, develop a national internet research database with adequate funding for internet research, innovation and development in the country.
5. There should be dedicated national network infrastructures that can connect the government, industry and research community for the benefit of promoting knowledge engagement, open data system for researchers, innovation, end users and researchers’ synergy and IT development.
6. Government should harness and deploy internet research resources to facilitate agricultural revolution in the country.
7. Digital inclusion is a necessity to our development with huge advantages to the nation such as enhancing citizenship integrations, global competiveness, government revenues, national integrity, human development, skills and knowledge sharing and transfer. In the current definition of sovereignty, nations that are not technologically sovereign are not considered sovereign. Thus, our country should seek to achieve digital independence as a nation.
8. There should be a National Policy Guideline and Regulatory framework on Digital Inclusion and Integration that must address the following core essentials: Stakeholders’ participation, data protection with legal framework, digital independence, adequate digital literacy infrastructural framework, and government direct intervention through her respective institutions.
9. There should be transformation of citizen’s attitude and harmonization of citizen digital data through creation of a unified National Database which should include all citizens, particularly, women, youths, migrant communities, the physically challenged, grassroots, and corporate citizens.
10. The government should re-articulate her internet engagement policy in line with national priority on security and economic development.
11. There should be a declaration of state of emergency on ICT implementation and strategic engagement of critical local stakeholders, industry on the design framework and development in the country.
12. Government should develop a long-term infrastructure vulnerability mitigation strategy with close collaboration between government and the operators, in order to address infrastructure design weaknesses, protection and upgrades. This issue needs to rise to the level of a national agenda and given high priority status
13. There should be a national framework for the development of National Computer Emergency Readiness Team-ecosystem between the National CERT, sectorial and Individual CERTs to promote National synergy on cyber security, knowledge sharing and intelligence gathering on counter-measure against cybercrime injurious to the States and individuals.
14. There should a legal framework and standards through legislation that will provide protection for data/ information assets and ICT delivery services in the country, as well as ICT Governance framework that will drive the development of Internet in Nigeria.
15. There should be a national technical capacity building framework on Internet Forensic and e-Security Development, as well as engagement of ICT security experts and stakeholders in the formulation and continuous review of laws and policies for cyber security.
16. There should be enthronement of Institutional, Individual, and Corporate Transparency in the ICT project development and execution. This is critically imperative towards achieving trust in digital Nigeria.
17. There is critical need to build a multi-stakeholders collaboration framework on internet security, openness and privacy issues.
18. Government should bid for the hosting of African Internet Governance Forum 2014 while Local Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group of NIGF should liaise with Africa IGF to further seek areas opportunity with value chains outcome for the country.
19. The Forum noted with dismay that the Cyber Security Bill has been at the National Assembly for several years and request that the National Assembly expedites action in passing it into Law.
20. The Forum observed that the Satellite and Internet Backbone Service Providers, and the Broadcasting Industry players should be part of the future NIGF meetings as they are critical component of internet ecosystem.
21. The delegate generally agreed that the policy and regulatory framework for internet in Nigeria must ensure a level playing ground and the protection of all interests. There should be continuous Capacity Development for regulators.
22. The Forum noted that the era of Government being the sole maker of policies and regulations are gone. Government should adopt multi-stakeholder approach in making policies and regulations at all levels, while regulations of internet contents should be built on existing infrastructure regulatory models/platforms.
23. Government should expedite actions on the licensing of 4G broadband which would help in addressing the problem associated with separation of data from voice
24. Government also should consider ICT infrastructure as a Critical Economic and Security Infrastructure that must be protected.
25. Physical security of Fiber Optics infrastructure should be a joint responsibility of all stakeholders which include the government, the private sector and the host communities.
26. Government should encourage private entrepreneur, through provision of special incentives, to provide internet connectivity services at affordable cost to the public. This effort will help reduce the cost of governance at various levels, while facilitating digital inclusion and grassroots access to the internet.
27. Telecommunication Operators who are the backbone providers should upgrade their infrastructure to accommodate the growing demand for voice and data.
28. Internet through power line cable connection should be explored by the operators to improve connectivity.
29. The government should expedite action on the power project, this is necessary to stimulate exponential growth in the use and business of ICT in country. Power is the backbone of the emerging broadband industry.