By Emma Okonji
The Nigeria internet Registration Association (NiRA), has raised concern over the low figures recorded in domain name registration in Africa, including Nigeria.
NiRA made the observation during the 2019 Dot NG Media College, organised in Lagos.
Addressing media practitioners during his presentation, titled: ‘Understanding the Domain Name System (DNS) Industry and Local Hosting,” the President of NiRA, Mr. Muhammed Rudman, expressed dissatisfaction over domain name registration in Nigeria and across African countries.
He stressed the need for more engagement with Nigerians and Africans in the areas of generic Top Level Domain Name (gTLD) and country code Top Level Domain Name (ccTLD) that represent a country’s identity in cyberspace.
Nigeria’s domain name in cyberspace is .ng, South Africa is .za, United States is .com, and United Kingdom is .uk
Most Nigerians and Nigerian organisations still use foreign domain names from United States and United Kingdom, thus depopulating the .ng domain name, which is Nigeria’s identity in cyberspace, and populating foreign domain names, he said.
Disturbed by the development, Rudman said there was need for enlightenment of Nigerians on the need to populate Nigeria’s domain name registration.
According to him, the global statistics of ccTLDs showed that as at April 2018, Africa had 3.3 million ccTLDs, America had 13.7 million ccTLDs, Asia had 37.6 million ccTLDs and Europe had 72.2 million ccTLDs.
According to the statistics, in 1994, global domain name registration was 30,000, but as at 2019, the figure had risen to over 351 million, an indication that the growth domain name registration is on the increase, yet in Nigeria and Africa, the growth is abysmally low.
Nigeria’s total domain name registration was put at 140,709 as at June 2019.
Rudman who expressed worries over the dominance of foreign domain names in Nigeria and Africa, and the hosting of such domain names and data outside of Africa and Nigeria, said African countries would continue to lose revenue streams from the hosting rights of domain names outside of Africa and Nigeria.
He described internet as a network of networks, joining many government, university and private computers together and providing an infrastructure for the use of email, bulletin boards, file archives, hypertext documents, databases and other computational resources.
“There are over 4.4 billion internet users worldwide out of the 7.7 billion people worldwide. We have about 351 million registered domain names globally as at June 2019, and these figures show growth of both internet users and domain names registration globally, which is a wake-up for Nigeria,” Rudman said.
Speaking on the benefits of domain name registration, the Vice President of NiRA, Mr. Toba Obaniyi, said “a domain name is a unique name on the internet that points visitors to the hosting account that serves them content.”
According to him, people can have a wider range of domains to select from when registering with the .ng extension; people can also get creative with their domains, such as drivi.ng, sleepi.ng, danci.ng, ceili.ng, just like what Google did with googli.ng and Microsoft did with bi.ng; and the registry is local, making resolution of issues easier and faster.
The Group Executive Editor, DigitalSENSE Africa Media Group, Mr. Remmy Nweke, highlighted some fundamentals of changing the DNS industry through a well-set out and thought-out structure of media engagement via professionals; conducting training sessions for media practitioners in the country, especially for those on the line of reporting/covering the DNS industry in Nigeria. He equally advised NiRA to institute a reward for excellence in DNS coverage in the country within the media.