Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA)

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.NG DOMAIN NAME REPORT FOR DECEMBER 2021

Nnamani, ATCON President, evaluates Twitter ban, restoration: Says ‘It goes beyond financial losses’

The Federal Government of Nigeria on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, announced a reversal of the ban on the microblogging platform Twitter in the country exactly after 222 days of total disengagement with the Nigerian public.

The lifting of the ban was issued by Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the Chairman of Technical Committee Nigeria Twitter Engagement and Director-General National Information Technology Development Agency. Abdullahi said the approval for lifting the ban was granted after Twitter agreed to respect Nigeria’s law and culture.

He said the company also agreed to collaborate with the federal government and the broader industry to develop a code of conduct in line with global practices application in most developed countries. Other conditions accepted by Twitter included committing to setting up an office in Nigeria by the first quarter of this year.

Speaking on the lifting of the ban and what to expect from Twitter under the terms spelled out by the government, Engr. Ikechukwu Nnamani, President of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said the most important thing is that Nigerians that depend on Twitter for their businesses or a means of socialising now have access to the platforms and others that still exist.

“It is a welcome development and I'm personally happy that we've been able to make progress on this,” he told Arise News during an interview. Nnamani said that in terms of the cost, the reality is that no one was happy with this, “not even the federal government. If you engage with them as I did, I got first-hand information on what the challenges were from regulators and security agents”. He added that the challenges were not only monetary and that there were other issues that needed to be tackled which have now been resolved.

When asked what it cost the Federal Government of Nigeria - the cost of goodwill from the public and also just a betrayal of basic democratic tenets like freedom of expression, Nnamani responded by highlighting that there were “serious national security issues” which also needed to be addressed.

When asked if he supported the Twitter ban, Engr Nnamani’s response was an outright No.He however enlightened the public on ATCON’s engagements with government to better understand what the challenges were. He added that it was unfortunate that the resolution took so long. He provided some counsel on what the future holds and gave the much-needed thought-leadership at this time.

NiRA is proud to be associated with Engr Ikechukwu Nnamani who is also a former Executive Director on the NiRA Board. This interview has changed the perspective of Nigerians regarding the Twitter ban, encouraged Nigerians to look inwards for solutions to our problems, and provided additional perspective about the challenges which Nigerians may not have recognised, with the way that the Twitter platform managed its presence in Nigeria before the ban.

We encourage you to watch the full interview here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCiqgU13Q5E5

 

Domain Name Dispute: What to do

Domain name disputes are a common phenomenon that can hamper the existence and growth of an online business or website. According to reports, in 2021 alone, the World Intellectual Property Organisation managed about Five thousand, one hundred and twenty-eight (5, 128) domain name disputes. Often, individuals and businesses clash based on claims to the ownership of a domain name. Sometimes, people acting in bad faith may try to exploit for profit the goodwill of a brand by registering internet domain names identical to the brand’s trademarks, company names, service marks, or personal names. Their intentions may range from planning to sell the domain names to the rightful owner at an exorbitant price to offering counterfeit products and services in the company’s name to unsuspecting customers. This practice, called cybersquatting under the law, has legal implications and is a cause of domain name disputes.

How do you resolve domain name disputes?

NiRA DISPUTE RESOLUTION POLICY (NDRP)

Under the NDRP policy, most types of trademark-based domain-name disputes must be resolved by agreement, court action, or arbitration before a registrar will cancel, suspend, or transfer a domain name. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) adopted the UDRP policy on August 26, 1999, based on recommendations made by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

Disputes alleged to arise from abusive registrations of domain names (for example, cybersquatting) may be addressed by expedited administrative proceedings that the holder of trademark rights initiates by filing a complaint with an approved dispute-resolution service provider. The Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) is an approved domain name disputes-resolution provider in Nigeria.

The Complainant in a domain name dispute situation can file a complaint addressed to the .ng Registry via email. The complaint can be filed on the following grounds:

  • The domain name in question is identical or confusingly like a trademark/service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
  • Registrant/Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
  • The domain name in question has been registered or is being used in bad faith or for illegal/unlawful purposes.

On receipt of the complaint, the .ng Registry shall evaluate the same for compliance, and discrepancies (if any) will be notified to Complainant within 5 working days who will then be given 7 working days to make rectifications. Once the complaint has become compliant with the Rules, the .ng Registry will appoint an arbitrator within 5 working days. The arbitrator will then set a time limit for the Registrant/Respondent to file its submissions. Thereafter, the arbitrator would review the submissions made by both sides and then pass a decision on the merits of the case.

The arbitrator is required to pass the decision within 60 days of commencement of proceedings and under exceptional circumstances, it can be extended by a period of 30 days. The decision of the arbitrator is communicated in writing to the parties by the Registry within 5 days of receiving it from the arbitrator.

However, while it is possible to seek redress in domain name disputes situations, it is best for you to actively protect your domain names. Here are some measures to take in this regard:

  • Register all popular top-level domains and have those domains redirected to your original website. For example: if your original website is www.domainname.com, you can also register www.domain name. ng and have it redirected to the original website on the .com domain.
  • Renew your domain registrations in a timely manner to prevent parties from sweeping them away.
  • There is no special legislation to deal with domain name policing and legal grounds for filing complaints depend on your trademark registrations. Therefore, it is important to get the distinctive part of your domain name registered as a trademark.
  • Subscribe to legal watch services to conduct frequent checks for identical and similar domain names.
  • It is also imperative to spread awareness among consumers and explain to them what fake domains may look like, so they are not compelled into visiting incorrect websites or buying counterfeit products.

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

Welcome to 2022!

On behalf of the Executive Board of Directors and staff of NiRA, I welcome you to the new year!

The past year offered us numerous opportunities to creatively support Nigerian entrepreneurs by empowering them to take advantage of the internet economy. We rolled out several initiatives including the recently concluded .NG Promo ,to expand the adoption of our country code Top Level Domain. We are grateful for the collaboration of NiRA’s Accredited Registrars who provide acess to register .ng domains. As always, our goal was to increase awareness about the immense benefits of the .ng domain name brand and empower Nigerians to succeed in their various endeavours using the internet. NiRA also facilitated capacity development initiatives for the Accredited Registrars, individuals, and businesses through the NiRA Academy and Resource Centre. It was a busy year for us, and we hope you had a productive 2021, too!

We have entered 2022 with many plans and promises for collaboration and partnerships with Accredited Registrars, Stakeholder organizations, entrepreneurs, and so on. During the Association’s annual retreat in December 2021, we discussed innovative ways of bringing .ng domain name closer to you and as the year unfolds, we will implement the plans and consolidate on our gains from the previous year. We owe it to you, to develop and execute initiatives which empower the aspirations of Nigerians and expand the economic outcome of the country. We will commit to our mandate, and we count on your support to position Nigeria as an internet powerhouse within the continent and across the globe.

I would like to extend my gratitude to the management and staff of our parent agency, NITDA, for their unwavering support throughout last year. Special appreciation to the Director-General, NITDA, Dr. Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi, for his innovative leadership and for steering the organisation in the right direction. We look forward to more collaborations with our parent organisation this year. 

We appreciate the NiRA Board of Trustees and Members of the General Assembly for their unwavering trust in the Executive and wish everyone a great year ahead!

Thank you and do stay safe!

Muhammad Rudman.

President, NiRA

 

.NG DOMAIN NAME REPORT FOR NOVEMBER 2021

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