By Hamza Ibrahim , Media Officer, CITAD
The Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has embarked on a weeklong chain of activities aimed advocating for Fast, Affordable, Safe and Transparent Internet access for all in Africa, the advocacy was tagged #FASTAFrica. Activities commenced last Sunday with a press conference on the need to have in place swift and cheap internet in Nigeria, a one hour live radio programme on Monday to sensitize people on the same topic, twitter conference on Tuesday, production of advocacy kits on Wednesday, advocacy visits to the Internet Service Providers ISPs on Thursday and finally engaging relevant stakeholders today Saturday May 7th at the Center for Democratic Research and Training also known as Mambayya House Kano for deliberation on providing speedy, safe and affordable internet in Nigeria.
Giving an opening remark on behalf of the Executive Director, Abdulganiyyu Rufai (Programme Officer Peace) said the objective of the #SwiftandCheapNet campaign is to highlight the need to work with all stakeholders to ensure that the speed of internet is improved, safety mainstreamed in its use, cost is reduced and the level of affordability is enhanced such that more people if not all can be able to access the internet in the country.
Also commenting the chairman of the occasion, Dr. Abdulwahab Lawan who is the Dean Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, Bayero University Kano said convening the forum is a welcome development especially at a time when consumers access internet that is not speedy, not reliable and not affordable adding that if education is a right, access to internet must also be a right. Dr. Abdulwahab then said that to ensure speedy, safe, reliable and affordable internet, the government must create an enabling environment while the Internet Service Providers must also be proactive, NGOs like CITAD must not relent in their advocacy for speedy and affordable internet access for all and broadband policy access should be implemented.
Discussants at the event shared their various experiences on the efficiency of internet especially in other countries and in Nigeria citing that the country is left behind in terms efficient and affordable internet demanding that the Internet Service Providers sit up and render quality service to internet users. Hajiya Hauwa Ali of Northwest University lamented how she was forced to stop using a sim card of one of the telecommunication companies and service providers as a result of continuous deduction of her money without the internet service she is forced to pay for.
Finally, the session unanimously agreed to form a coalition that will also pursue the advocacy for speedy, affordable, safe and transparent internet access in Nigeria, and it was tagged ‘Nigeria Internet Users Forum’, and the forum hopes to create presence on Facebook and Twitter, five coordinators were selected from the media, CSOs, academicians, students, women groups. The event was attended by academics, ISPs, IT Professionals, CSOs, the Media, youth groups, students bodies among others.