Without much fanfare, the United States Government stood down from providing oversight to the management of Internet resources (also called IANA functions), on 1st October 2016.
Hitherto, the oversight was done via a contract between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the body responsible for the coordination and management of Internet Resources, and the US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
The road to the symbolic event started in 2014, when ICANN was asked to convene a global multi-stakeholder community that will provide the needed oversight when the NTIA contract expires. You can read more about this transition in the News section of this Newsletter.
That the global Internet community was able to pull this off, is testimony to the globalization of the Internet and the level of inclusiveness that ICANN has been able to achieve. Your Association, NIRA is one of the many global institutions participating in the Internet Governance ecosystem. We salute all the visionaries and those who worked tirelessly in the various committees and institutions to achieve this symbolic milestone. Congratulations to all.
As a true Multi-stakeholder entity in Nigeria, NIRA’s setup, composition and governance is proof that the Multistakeholder model works, and will continue to assure a global, inclusive, pervasive, scalable and reliable Internet.
Locally, we must now turn to confront the various impediments working against the average Nigerian getting online and being productive. The Internet is no longer a luxury, rather a tool for basic existence, so we must be proactive.
Government services must be readily available and accessible to all, at no cost. We should start immediately, with essential services. For example, Nigerians should not pay for Internet Access to file their Tax returns online, register births and deaths, apply for a Government ID online or give critical and important Information to the Police. We must look at how to educate our teeming youths using the Internet as a supplementary classroom, because they are the bedrock of a productive economy.
People must find content in their own languages. NIRA is working with other Institutions such as the Office of National Content (ONC), Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) and the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) in re-energizing the Local Internet Content Forum (LICF) to strategize on how to keep Nigeria’s content local, and conserve scarce Foreign Exchange resources as the nation adjusts to the current realities.
We should ensure that the physically challenged are not left behind. We must address the scourge of cybercrime, especially the advance fee fraud that has tainted Nigeria’s image Internationally. We all, must continue to assist the Government in developing, promoting and enforcing policies that will make many Nigerians anchor the emerging knowledge economy. That is when we can truly enjoy the dividends of the symbolic but significant IANA transition.
Come along, Lets do it!
Rev’d Sunday Folayan