Lagos-Nigeria, January 23, 2012: The chairman, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Committee at the House of Representatives, Hon. Ibrahim Shehu Gusau, has reaffirmed that the National Assembly is working at ensuring that the cyber security bill is passed into law before the end of the current legislative session.
He gave this indication during a courtesy call by the Executive Board of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) led by the Vice President, Mr. Sunday Folayan, in his office at the National Assembly complex Abuja on Monday.
He also said that the bill on cyber security has passed the first reading and the committee is working assiduously to ensure that the bill scales through the relevant readings and processes to make it a law that Nigerians would be proud of. Hon. Gusau said that when the cyber security bill is signed into law it will assist the nation enhance it’s image online and globally. “It has been read the first time and is on the second reading before it will be sent to the Committee for review,” he said.
This, he said, would be of immense help to the Nigeria Internet Registration Association in creating the needed trust for its mandate to manage the nation’s country code Top Level Domain (TLD) name, .ng by Nigerians and the world. “We are going to pass the cyber security bill during the life of this session,” he said confidently. While assuring the NIRA board of his committee’s support, he implored them to step up the sensitization of Nigerians on the efficacy of .ng, stressing that NIRA can bank on his committee for support. “You should expect to get more support from us,” he asserted, noting though that the publicity of the .ng domain and NIRA has not been encouraging, hence he urged the organization to do more. Advising that media campaign should be taken seriously to promote the .ng brand, Hon. Gusau said that his office should be seen as an extended NIRA office.
Earlier in his remarks, the leader of the delegation and NIRA’s Vice President, Mr. Sunday Folayan, said that NIRA is a multi-stakeholder-based organization, which is made of three categories, namely the registry, registrars and registrants. As recent as 2011, he noted that NIRA had made efforts to sensitize and encourage Nigerians to use the .ng by introducing a promotion tagged 50,000 domains in 50 days as part of the events marking the nation’s 50 years independence anniversary.
“We have done some modest sensitization like the 50,000 domains promotion and the corporate 1000 domains. Now we are trying to sensitize Government MDAs on .ng, one of the reasons why we requested for this meeting to intimate you and the committee on our efforts so far” he said. Lately, he noted that NIRA held a campaign in Lagos, tagged Switchto.ng of which the second edition had been scheduled to hold in Abuja, the nation’s capital. He urged the chairman of the committee on ICT to oblige the Switchto.ng workshop with his presence, mostly since the next session would be in Abuja.
NIRA, he further said was born out of the need to domesticate the hosting activities of the .ng name space. Also, he said that NIRA is building manpower capacity around .ng and creating a framework to combat cybercrime. “We have taken some of the challenges head-on. For example, our servers are now hosted locally at the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN),” he said. “We work with the government, though we are a private-sector-led organization,” he said, adding that the board reports to the general house of the Association, with NITDA as the regulator of its activities.
Equally speaking, the Chief Operating Officer, NIRA, Mr. Ope Odusan disclosed that currently the registry has over 40,000 domains and has been collaborating with some national and international organizations l to increase the usage of .ng. “Right now we have over 40,000 domain names including ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs),” he said, enlightening that .gov.ng is for government and its agencies.
Other members of the Executive Board on the delegation included Mr. Biyi Oladipo, Mrs. Yetunde Johnson, Mr. Remmy Nweke, Mr. Muhammed Rudman, Mr. Temitope Fashademi as well as the NIRA liaison officer, Ms. Uchechi Odo.
About NIRA: NIRA was founded on March 23, 2005 as a stakeholder-led organisation, charged with the management of the nation’s Country Top Level Domain Name (ccTLD), dot ng. NIRA’s establishment was the end of a long period of inactivity and dispute on the appropriate management of this important National Resource. Coordinated by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Stakeholders within Nigeria’s Internet community participated in its formation.
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Credit: Remmy Nweke