NRS Advocates Active Participation of Nigerian ISPs in African Internet Governance

Emma Okonji

Number Resource Society (NRS), a global non-profit membership organisation that campaigns, empowers and supports global businesses to own the fundamental elements of their Internet Protocol (IP) business, is advocating for an active participation of the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Nigeria at the forthcoming meeting and election of the African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC), which is the regional Internet registry for Africa with headquarters in Ebene, Mauritius.

The need to create the awareness for Nigerian ISPs to participate in AFRINIC activities became necessary, following their non-participation in previous meetings, where crucial decisions were taken concerning African internet governance, especially the distribution and management of internet number resource like IP address space. 

The advocacy was made at a recent seminar in Lagos with the theme: “Advocating For A Global Unlimited, Free, Accountable and Accessible Internet For All,” which NRS organised for its members and other ISPs in Nigeria.

The seminar, which was well-attended by its corporate and individual members was centered around topics such as Cybersecurity and Data Privacy, Customer Experience/Retention and Internet Governance.

Speaking to Journalists on the sideline during the seminar, Relationship Manager at NRS, Mr. Williams Adebayo, said the call for Nigerian ISPs to participate actively at the next AFRINIC meeting and election became necessary since Nigeria as a country is a key player in the industry and has the highest number of ISPs registered with AFRINIC.

He however said Nigeria has never shown enthusiasm towards internet governance, which controls their internet businesses, because their ISPs do not participate at AFRINIC meetings.

“Nigerians have this nonchalant attitude of not participating. They do not vote. For them, it is not their business and concern. Meanwhile, it is AFRINIC that controls the IP of their business. So why don’t you have a voice in the body that controls you, even when the positions are open or every member?” Adebayo asked rhetorically.

He disclosed that NRS remained willing to support and encourage resource members to actively participate in AFRINIC elections and ensure that their votes count so that their voices can be heard and interests made known.

He also explained that being part of the continental body would help to enlighten the people about the relevance of being part of internet governance.

Asked if NRS intends to sponsor a Nigerian to contest for a position at the next AFRINIC election, Adebayo said contesting for a position would not be the most important push for now, but the desire to be able to participate in the activities of AFRINIC and be able to vote and be heard.

“We are not particular about contesting for positions, not our main aim. We aim to ensure that people vote for their nominated candidates. So NRS, which is made up of resource members and Internet Service Providers, agrees with the member’s candidates and gives the necessary support. We believe in the people’s representations,” he stressed.

According to him, NRS is not against AFRINIC as many are thinking, insisting that NRS is never contending against AFRINIC but an organisation that solicits free internet for all and encourages transparent governance.

“We create awareness about trending industry information. We also advocate for the active participation of resource members in internet governance. We serve as a voice, seeking the best interest of the resource members. AFRINIC is a registrar, and we are not seeking power but to monitor the activities of AFRINIC officials to curtail excesses and sensitise resource members. We also want to ensure that resource members enjoy the best privileges and opportunities they are entitled to,” Adebayo added.

He therefore called on all Nigerian ISPs to be a part of the movement in order to amplify their voices in NRS and to achieve their common interest, adding that the collective goal is to ensure that members get the best services from AFRINIC.

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