Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA)

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THE INTERNET: FOR EVERYONE? The need to ensure that the internet is made affordable and accessible to everyone across the nation, at this time, cannot be overemphasized. This was the objective of the 2019 edition of the Nigerian Network Operators Group (ngNOG) conference which was themed ‘The Internet: For everyone?’ The conference held on the 28th and 29th October, 2019, at The MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos and brought together individuals with various levels of technological expertise.

Commercial Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Mobile Network Operators, Infrastructure Providers, Security Agencies, Technical staff of research and education networks, Public and Private sector networks, NGOs, End users, and other relevant stakeholders all gathered for the two-day conference to discuss critical issues and exchange technical and operational information.

The need for increased collaboration among the stakeholders was re-iterated severally during the event, especially in the areas of infrastructure and information sharing in order to reduce the overall cost of doing business. It was said that this will furthermore ensure high quality and affordable internet services provided by the ISPs.
Mr. Dewole Ajao, Managing Director, Bandwidth Consortium noted the progress made by stakeholders in ensuring internet provision for everyone. He commended the ngNOG conference for providing stakeholders the platform to talk to one another and decide the way forward.

In her keynote address, Mrs. Edith Udeagu, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) noted the strides being made by the Registry in coordinating the use of the .ng country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) and the Domain industry in Nigeria. She also emphasized the role of NiRA in resolving disputes through its Dispute Resolution Policy. In response to questions fielded from the audience, she explained that the Data Privacy Policy is strictly adhered to by NiRA and this ensures the security and protection of personal data for those who use the .ng domain name.

The Co-Founder of Meed Networks, Mr. Ahmed Atere explained the importance of joint efforts in building Fiber Optic networks. He noted that Telcos would benefit immensely by working together in building scalable backbone networks that would help reduce constructional, operational and maintenance costs.

On day two of the conference, while addressing the importance of holding the government accountable, the President of NiRA and Chief Executive Officer, Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), Mr. Muhammed Rudman charged service providers not to ignore the government but to hold them accountable to their promises. He suggested that this should be done by service providers, collaborating and setting concrete agendas for the government every year and providing updates on the implemented policies, executed projects and achieved goals.

Various panel discussions were held during the conference, one of which was titled ‘Affordability, Ease of Doing Business and the Reality of Internet Service Provision in Nigeria’. Panelists during this session; Mr. Ahmed Atere and Mrs. Edith Udeagu shared valuable insights, while Rev. Sunday Folayan, the Immediate Past President of NiRA, facilitated the panel discussion. They all agreed on the essential focal points needed to achieve excellent delivery of Internet Services to end-users with a reasonable margin of profit. Some of these essentials include Patriotism, Functional Business Plans, Business Integration, Dynamic Regulation, Deferred Taxes and Capacity building amongst others.

The National Coordinator of ngNOG, Dr. Adewale Adedokun noted the relevance of global information networks and how they currently effect transformational change in various spheres of the economy.
The conference created the opportunity for organizations to exhibit their products and services. Some of the exhibitors included NiRA with three of its accredited registrars, Medallion Communications, Flexoptix, MDx-i, AFRINIC, WIOCC, Layer 3, IXPN, Internet Society Nigerian Chapter and Rack Center.

The Conference ended with the presentation of awards to various sponsors of the conference including the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), Facebook, Netflix, Google, Bandwidth Consortium, and NISTech Limited. Mr. Ikechukwu Ezeji who received the sponsorship award on behalf of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), thanked the organizers of ngNOG for creating a platform that bridges the gap between providers and consumers. He added that the platform fosters the engagement between multiple stakeholders to initiate lasting solutions to various Information Communication Technology problems within Nigeria, Africa and the World at large.