By Rita Michael, Bauchi
The Internet Governance Forum and CITAD, a non- governmental organization, have ended a one-day Internet sensitization meeting in Bauchi.
Participants deliberated on women empowerment and protection of children on the Internet.
The event, with the theme, “The Internet of our choice: Empowering women and promoting children online, held at Prof Iya Abubakar Centre Bauchi. It was attended by stakeholders from all the six states of the North East.
At the occasion, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Umar Garba Danbatta, disclosed that the commission has developed a Child Online Protection framework to promote the protection of Nigerian Children on the Internet.
Represented by the Director, New Media and Information Security of NCC, Haru Alhassan, Prof Danbatta said that arrangement NCC would soon launch and commence implementation of the Nigerian Child Online Protection Policy.
He explained that the implementation would promote the protection of Nigerian children on the Internet against all forms of negative influence.
He lamented that some Nigeria children through the internet have been influenced negatively by participating on negative issues on the internet, expressing optimism that the framework would protect them against such negative influence.
According to Danbatta, as number of mobile users, digital applications and data networks increases, the opportunities for utilization of the Internet also increases. “It is obvious that with the growing concerns with issues around the privacy rights, safety, security and exclusion, greater attention is required to protect sensitive business and personal information, as well as safeguard national security. The governance of the Internet has therefore become a major global issue.”
He also revealed that the commission has commenced the development of the Internet Industry Code of Practice document, saying, “This document that will guide the Commission and the Industry in developing obligations, processes and procedures for dealing with Internet Content issues, outlines the obligations on Internet service providers, content service providers, application service providers and mobile network operators in relation to Internet inappropriate, offensive or potentially harmful content for minors and vulnerable audiences.
“This will lead ultimately to the establishment of Shared principles, Norms, Rules that shape the use of the internet in the country,” he said.
According to him, “The Commission has also commenced implementation of the National Broadband Policy, by initiating the licensing process for the Broadband Infrastructure Companies. The implementation of the policy is expected to improve Broadband Internet penetration from currently 10 percent to about 50 percent in 2018.
He assured that the Commission would continue to engage with relevant stakeholders and other members of the Local Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group, the planning committee for NIGF to ensure that NCC offers more platforms such as this for the other zones in the country.
“At the end of the discussions and deliberations at the forum, we would have a clear position on what needs to be done, who needs to do what and how it should be done. Also articulating Nigerian’s position in the Global Internet Governance Fora.
He thereby commended the NIGF, Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) and the other organisers for the anticipated success of the forum.
Also, the Excutive Director of CITAD, Yunusa Zakari Ya’u, said that the aim of the forum was to provide a platform for various internet user groups and excluded communities to engage their views.
According to him, ” views and positions harvested from this would feed into both national and international discussions around the issues, including the Nigeria and Global Internet Governance Forum that are holding in November this year”.
He also said that the forum would also provide opportunity for stakeholders from Nigeria to harmonize their positions before going to the Global Internt Governmace Forum holding on November in Mexico this year.
“This is the first Forum after the global internet Forum held in November last year in Brazil and report back to the stakeholders and it is an honour for that this is being done in the North East, the second zone to host the zonal forum.
He thereby expressed the determination of CITAD to continue to educate and sensitize women on the use of Internet facility to make wealth and protect children on Internet.
Also, the Chairperson of Nigeria Internet Governance Forum, Mrs Mary Uduma, frowned at the way and manner young people abuse the use of Internet facility by engaging in negative activities that are capable of destroying their future.
She said that young people and women were supposed to use Internet forum as a platform of learning as well as create wealth to better their lives, saying the aim of the forum is to sensitize and educate Internet users on the positive way of using Internet facility.
She lamented that many youths are being recruited online to join terrorist groups hence the need to counter such evil activities on Internet.
Mrs Uduma expressed determination of the forum to take internet to rural areas to ensure that rural women, children and youth learn utilise internet especially as a way of making wealth and creation employment for themselves.
She said, “With the advent of Internet, you don’t need to always go to market to sell your product because you can market your product online and people will patronize you”.
Mrs Uduma thereby stressed the need to counter western culture on Internet by introducing Nigerian culture as well as local languages that will enable illiterates to utilise Internet facility to better their lives.