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Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) Holds Convention (Posted 20th Nov, 2001) Tell your friends about this page! Email it to them.

The Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), a non-governmental organisation based in Lagos, Nigeria successfully organised its first Internet convention and Annual General meeting between the 12th - 13th October 2001. The convention was held at the Golden Gate Paradise Restaurant, Ikoyi, Lagos. This is the first of its kind in the South Saharan region.

The convention, whose theme was "Promoting Internet Awareness and Strategies for Effective Internet Penetration and Use in Nigeria", was centered on how to properly link Nigeria to the Information super highway. In the keynote address delivered by the Chairperson of Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and the out going Chairman of the Steering committee of the body, Mr. Earnest Ndukwe, said, "in the modern world telecommunication is a vital element in the infrastructure of modern society, nations and economies". Also, when delivering his paper titled "Development of Internet In Nigeria" he stressed that the theme has been appropriately chosen because of the need to continually remind ourselves of the importance of the Internet to our country's development and the overriding need to promote universal access to the cyberspace for Nigeria.

The first attempt at introducing Internet in Nigeria was made through the UNESCO sponsored RINAF project, in 1995. Several workshops in Ife and Lagos aimed at propagating the Internet idea have been held. Notable among these workshops was one put together by Yaba College of Technology in collaboration with the Nigerian Communication Commission and a number of other national and international organisations. Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) was formed at that forum as a non-profit, non-governmental organisation with the primary aim and objective of promoting and facilitating access to the Internet in Nigeria. Membership of the group was thrown open to all interested persons or organisations and presently the membership of the body cuts across all the strata of the society which forms the stakeholders in the internet business.

Underscoring the importance of IT in governance, both the Federal, States and the Local government were enjoined to embrace IT and make government to be more accessible online. Internet Service Providers (ISP) were also advised to make their services cheaper and affordable to the general public, as one of the major constraints to Internet growth in Nigeria has been the exorbitant cost of leasing international dedicated circuits, the cost and inefficiency of telephone lines, inadequate and irregular power supply, and more importantly the lack of a Local Internet Exchange Point. These constraints are being gradually eradicated through progressive government policies and committed private sector participation in service delivery. Wireless Internet access is also bringing some relief and is enhancing Internet development in areas that were hitherto unreachable.

Another important issue that was discussed at the convention is Insurance and the Internet business. In a paper delivered by Mr. Remi Olowude, the Executive Vice Chairman, Industrial and General Insurance Co. Ltd (IGI). He said that the Internet has come to stay. Not only will it determine the way the Insurance business is done in the 21st Century, it will determine the market share of Insurance companies and their success or failure.

Mr. Earnest Ndukwe, also concluded that the new world order will be dominated by IT, the exchange of ideas, where knowledge and information will be a major key to sustenance and survival of any country and only those countries, which implement the required communications policy and infrastructure will continue to define culture and information transfer as well as dominate political and societal views on issues and events. Thus, Nigeria will therefore leave no stone unturned in its efforts to manage, exploit and grow with the Internet.

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