By Emma Okonji
Experts have stressed the need for adequate policy formulation and implementation to enable Nigeria benefit from digitalisation that is fast driving transformation across nations of the world.
They insisted that the right policy formulation would enable Nigerians key into the success stories from other regions on global digitalisation.
Speaking at the 2019 Nigeria Internet Governance Forum (NIGF), which held recently in Lagos, the Chairperson of the forum, Mrs. Mary Uduma, said the world had gone digital with everything being digitalised and that government needed to fast-track digitalisation processes in Nigeria to enable Nigerians benefit from it.
“We need the right policy implementation to achieve it. We need policies that will further drive the processes of digitalisation in Nigeria through the implementation of Big Data, Internet of Things (IoTs), Artificial Intelligence (AI).
“Our focus at NIGF is to commit government into driving digital transformation in Nigeria, and we need policies that will promote ubiquitous broadband infrastructure, which is key to digital transformation.”
Also, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Deputy Director, New Media at NCC, Dr. Chidi Diugwu, said internet remains an important and critical tool.
Danbatta, however said in order to achieve an efficient and effective identification of potential challenges, implementation of policies and functional stakeholder engagement, there was need to domesticate the activities and benefits of the Global Internet Governance Forum (GIGF).
According to him, “This is carried out through both the regional African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) and the sub-regional West African Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF). “The desire to integrate local participation therefore gave rise to the Nigerian Internet Governance Forum (NIGF). The forum is dealing with the challenges and policy issues as it relates to the local use of the internet.”
He added, “At the forum last year, I mentioned a major regulation intervention designed to increase internet usage namely licencing of infrastructures (Infracos).
“So I am pleased to remark that by end of December 2018, we have collectively achieved more than 30 per cent broadband penetration.”
“We are delighted at this achievement even though now facing corresponding challenges in the sense that there is a lot of impact at all levels of internet governance, namely: NIGF, WAIGF, AfIGF, and Global IGF,” Danbatta further said.
In one of the breakout workshop sessions, the participants discussed the issue of Nigeria’s data protection bill, which has not been passed into law, and called for its speedy passage, which they said, would speed up the process of digitalisation in Nigeria for enhanced digital transformation.
Although the workshop participants blamed the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for not implementing the NITDA Data Protection Regulation, the Director, Cybersecurity at NITDA, Dr. Dimie Wariowe, who was one of the panellists, explained that the Data Protection Regulation came into force in May 2019 and NITDA is currently using the general multi-stakeholders approach to implement its Data Protection Regulation.
“Nigerians needs to know what is contained in the regulation and be mindful of how best to protect their data. If anyone feels infringed, he or she can rely on the regulation to seek redress and get justice,” Wariowe added.
Nigerians were advised to always protect their data instead of allowing such data to be infringed upon before seeking legal redress that is slow in the country.
“Nigerians should be extra careful with what they post online and maintain their integrity while online.
“Nigerians can maximise the use of social media like Facebok which allows us to restrict certain group of people from seeing and having access to our postings.
“We can actually control the number and calibre of people that can have access to our postings if we so wish,” they advised.