On the 14 th of September, 2022 the Centre for Information Technology and Development held
the 4 th Women Internet Governance Forum as part of the 2022 Internet Governance Forum
activities. The event which is being held annually is part of the Nigerian Internet Governance
Forum (NIGF) pre-event activities., This year, the event theme was Making the Internet for
Livelihood, Love and Life: Tackling Gender and Child Abuse Online and was held online with a
limited physical attendance/participation in Kano. The theme was a well thought one, looking
at the global happenings around gender and child abuse online which has become a norm by
the perpetrators. Madam Marry Udoma, Chair West African Internet Governance Forum served
as the chair with Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, Chair, Kalu D Foundation as the Keynote Speaker while
Jan Moolman, Co-Manager: Women’s Rights Programme, Association for Progressive
Communications served as the Guest Speaker.
Also, two technical sessions were held on Gender Violence Online and Child Protection Online.
At the two sessions, distinguished personalities and experts on Gender Based Violence and
Child Protection spoke and shared their experience and knowledge with the participants. The
first session which was titled Dealing with Gender Violence Online was chaired by Professor
Amina Kaidal of the University of Maiduguri while the speakers at this session were Zainab
Aminu, CITAD Technical Officer, Mrs. Martha Alade, Founder, Women in Technology and Msen
Nabo, Digital Media Associate at Connected Development.
The second session which focused on Dealing with Child Protection Online, had Hajiya Suwaiba
Muhammad Dankabo, Programmes Manager at ActionAid International as chair while Aminu
Adamu Naganye of the Star Newspaper, Harira Wakili, a Gender and Human Rights Activist and
Barrister Aisha Mahdi of Green Edge Attorneys served as the speakers.
In his opening remarks, the Executive Director of CITAD, Y.Z Ya’u started by explaining the
purpose of this year’s WIGF during which he stated that, the essence of organizing the forum
was to encourage discussion, especially among women, on internet governance and harvest
strategies for addressing issues that tend to reinforce the marginalization of women in the
digital space. Mr. Ya’u further stated that the WIGF focuses on two specific issues:
- Issues of Gender Based Violence: in this regards, Mr. Y.Z said a lot of young women have
suffered and still suffering from different kind of gender violence from people whose aim was
to deter them from using the internet. He also lamented that in some cases these young
women face gender violence by their social media friends. Moreover, the Executive Director
also said many women especially political aspirants are being abused and castigated on social
media based on their gender, which contributes in furthering the political marginalization of
- Child Abuse Online: on this, the Executive Director stated that the Federal Government of
Nigeria has set up panel to advise on a policy framework on how to address this issue. Speaking
further on this, Ya’u hoped the forum would give the participants a chance to harvest strategic
ideas that can help in shaping the policy, raise awareness and involve other stakeholders in
trying to sanitize the digital ecosystem so that the women in particular can be able to make
effective use of the internet in the country, have access to educational materials and ability to
use the internet without being harassed or intimidated.
Speaking about the importance of the internet, Mr. Ya’u stated that internet allows individuals
and academics to make research when there is accessible and safe internet. Fearing that some
factors may hinder the proper use of the internet, Ya’u advocated that factors which inhibit
people from using the internet needed to be removed and issue of affordability should also be
addressed. He observed that women find it more difficult to access the internet than men due
to the economic disparity that exists between two.
Moreover, Ya’u said the aims of the forum were to: improve user security competence among
women, ensure women are able to use the internet safely & secure their communications and
that their privacy is well respected. At the end, he emphasized that “we must take internet as a
right for everybody in the country”
Giving her remarks at the Forum, the West African Chair of the Internet Governance Forum,
Mrs. Marry Uduma said in discussing about children and women on the net, we need to first
understand that these category of people are already being marginalized and a huge gap exists
in the society. She also stated that women and children are every day being abused and
violence being meted on them online but little is being done to curtail the situation. Further,
the West African Chair said, these categories needed to be encouraged and supported to use
the internet without being harassed and their rights not being violated in order to benefit from
the ample opportunities the internet presents. At the end she encouraged the participants to
actively participate at the forum.
The Keynote Speaker at the Forum, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, Chair, Kalu D Foundation mentioned
that in the early days of the internet, it has been a concern to the whole nation. Discussing on
the responses to Gender Abuse Online and the multiple questions to address bordering around
gender violence online, the keynote speaker said, there is need to develop campaigns messages
to counter the misusers of the internet and contributed to the current processes of developing
national strategy on child protection online. The speaker also stated that the essence is to find
ways on how to address physical and online abuse, and how to protect vulnerable people from
being harmed on the internet. For this, she said more budget need to be allocated to this area.
Mrs. Ibukun went further to state that under United Nations Charter for Child Protection, every
child is expected to have a fundamental right to education, a right to health and a right to
livelihood, children are supposed to be allowed to speak and to be heard, but a lot of
constraints are preventing them from being able to fully access their fundamental rights
especially in Africa due to the cultural issues. Speaking about the ample advantages of the
Internet, Mrs. Odusate said if there was no internet during the COVID-19 pandemic, many
people could have lost their lives. The internet had also served as school for many children
during the lockdown, however, it also came with many disadvantages where some people used
it to abuse children.
Buttressing child abuse further, the keynote speaker said child and women abuse is a daily
reality in Nigeria; six out of ten children experience one form of abuse or the other, one in four
girls, and ten percent of boys have also been abused according to UNICEF data. She said
Technology when use in the right way has a potential to broaden opportunities and reduce the
level of abuse if there are proper guidance. The keynote speaker also lamented that many
opportunities are still not fully explored, but people tend to use the negative side of the
internet, bullying others and amplifying hate speech on social media platforms.
On the negative consequences of child abuse on education, Mrs. Odusate said report has
shown that one in five children skipped school due to abuse, and of recent, kidnapping of
school children has also brought a lot of problem to children education in the country.
Discussing about the strategies to follow in preventing gender abuse and safety promotion
among children, the speaker said, for that, educational institutions must to be protected as well
as ensuring privacy of children online. For this, government must ensure all the necessary
regulations are in place and civil society organizations need to intensify advocacies to relevant
government agencies on the issues. Also teaching digital literacy and online safety skills will go
a long way in addressing the menace.
Moreover, there was need to articulate and introduce policies on how to prevent the abuses,
promote parental care education, enlightenment on online activities for the children and
women need to be properly educated. There is need for guidelines on installation of
appropriate technology and software to prevent children falling into the traps of their abusers.
And creating trauma management techniques and advocacy for protecting young people online
will go a long way in finding the solution to the problem.
In her contribution, the Guest Speaker, Ms. Jan Moolman started her contribution by saying
that the journey for the improvement of women’s rights especially on the internet is a difficult
one, looking at how the internet impact the lives of women from the ICT to digital technology,
from the focus of ICT for D from the 1990s to 2000s and even in the contemporary discussion
regarding privacy, disinformation, misinformation, censorship and hate speech, the role of
women in influencing, shaping and benefiting from digital technology is getting much more
grounded, and this recognition is largely due to the consistent work of organizations and people
in the global south that consistently call for inclusion, diversity and bringing gender approaches
to all the work that concerned human rights, both online and offline. Information around
gender based violence has been at the core of this work and has duly serve in bringing different
actors into the same room to find solution, the speaker added. She went further to say that it
took many years of lobbying and advocacy and work within women movement, including
building knowledge, research, campaigning, sharing experience and finally getting a common
language to get recognition on violation women experience when they are online. And this
work and persistency led to the 2018 adaptation of the UN Human Rights Council first ever UN
resolution on preventing and responding to violence against women and girls in digital context
and other different resolutions including the recent one in Africa has brought more relief to
women and girls in the continent.
Speaking on the issues APC and its partners pay more attention to when it comes to women
rights and digital technology, Ms. Moolman mentioned the followings:
- Joy, hope and Justice: according to the Guest speaker, for people who experienced
violence online, there is hope they can find joy with regards to connection, information,
solidarity, friendship, fun and even in some cases love. And for this, APC and its partners
think it is important to encourage people to continue the work they are doing and to
keep women safe and in a productive way on the digital space.
- Access: Even though women face many forms of violence online but there is need to
ensure they have access to online platforms as easily and affordable as possible in order
to carry out their normal activities. Emphasizing on how women are being marginalized
when it comes to accessing the internet, the speaker said, the 2019 ITBU report stated
that globally only 48% of women are online and in the global south this is even lower at
28%. This according her shows that there is wide gap between the connected and
unconnected in the society. And unless we are able to address the issue of accessibility,
many women and marginalized communities will remain in darkness and their voices
- Third is about companies that own social media platforms that are regulating contents
that lacks clarity and consistency and which upon violate the rights of people without
accountability or remedy. These companies are determining online discourses with
focus on profits at the expense of users’ privacy and rights.
- The fourth is about how feminists organizing online and offline are expanding and taking
new forms. These groups are upon targeting for gender based violence online and it
sometimes manifest to offline spaces.
FIRST TECHNICAL SESSION: DEALING WITH GENDER VIOLENCE ONLINE
CHAIR: Professor Amina Kaidal
PANELISTS: Martha Alade, Zainab Aminu, Msen Nabo
The first technical session was on Dealing with Gender Violence Online. The session which was
chaired by Professor Amina Kaidal of the University of Maiduguri had Mrs. Martha Alade,
Founder of Women InTechnology, Zainab Aminu, Gender Technical Officer, Centre for
Information Technology and Development and Msen Nabo, Digital Media Associate at
In her presentation, Zainab Aminu started by defining the Gender-Based violence which
according to her refers to harmful acts directed at an individual based on their gender and
rooted in gender inequality, the abuse of power and harmful norms. Mss. Aminu said Gender-
based violence (GBV) is a serious violation of human rights and a life-threatening health and
protection issue, which is estimated that one in three women experiences sexual or physical
violence in their lifetime.
Zainab further stated that gender violence is not a new phenomenon; it has been existing since
time immemorial which can include sexual, physical, mental and economic harm inflicted in
public or in private and threats of violence, coercion and manipulation. Mss. Aminu also said
gender violence can take many forms such as intimate partner violence, sexual violence, child
marriage, female genital mutilation and so-called ‘honour crimes’ while its consequences are
devastating and can have life-long repercussions for survivors.
Speaking about the impact of cyber violence, the speaker said it differs according to the victim’s
gender. She gave an example with a study conducted by the Pew Research Centre which
revealed that 38% of harassed women found their most recent experience with online
harassment extremely or very upsetting, compared to only 17% of harassed men. The research
further said that compared to male users, who tend to be more concerned about damage to
their reputation, females are more likely to fear physical harm. This corresponds to the nature
of online abuse these groups experience. Where men and boys are more likely to be victims of
defamation and libel, women are more likely to be subjected to derogatory remarks or sexual
images and threats, such as non-consensual pornography. She gave another example with
another study which found that female college students (age 18-24) who were victims of offline
stalking were three times more likely to be stalked online than their male counterparts. The
study also found that “while particular variables influence victimization risk among females,
virtually none of the variables in the analyses produced statistically significant relationships
with victimisation among males”.
Moreover, Zainab said key distinction between offline and online gender-based cyber violence
is that it is significantly more difficult “to permanently remove abusive or triggering content
from the Internet, which obliges the survivor to re-experience their victimisation all over again.”
This can exacerbate the psychological impacts of these forms of violence, such as flashbacks of
the incident and/or perpetrator, as well as increase the victim’s isolation period.
Discussing on the long term negative impact of gender violence online, Zainab said the greatest
impact that women experience is self-censorship. Women start censoring themselves online.
And that is what the abusers want. Another impact she said is that online violence attempts to
keep women from major sectors of the public sphere because public only take physical violence
seriously. The third impact is that some women leave the online platform [after being
harassed]. The forth impact which is being associated with online violence is public health issue
and the effects which results in physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm, and erodes
Offering some solutions on how one can protect selves online, Zainab Aminu mentioned the
• Creating a strong password
• Having different passwords for different accounts
• Downloading apps from authentication platforms and using two factor verification
• Logging out of accounts when not in use
• Not using public WIFI for sharing sensitive information
At the end the speaker said, to stop gender violence online, there is need for public awareness
in order for people to understand it consequences which in many cases metamorphosed to
The second speaker, Mrs Martha Alade started by quoting the 1993 UN Declaration on the
Elimination of Violence against Women which defines ‘violence against women’ as an act of
gender-related violence (GBV) that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual,
psychological or economic harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion
or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life [or online].
Discussing on the different types of Gender Violence Online, Mrs Alade said it includes; Doxing
(leaking unauthorized info to public), Sexist abuse, Hate speech, Threat to free expression,
Threat to privacy, Impersonation, Defamation, Gender-based discriminatory memes,
Cyberstalking, Online misogyny etc. On the category of people that experience Gender
Violence, Mrs Martha said women and girls from marginalised communities are the easy
targets and their voices are often unheard. Mrs Alade also said, in most of the times, girls in
local communities are being violated but they are not even aware they are being violated. She
gave a scenario on a case they worked on which happened to a small girl in a community they
are working in and the girl was abused but due to lack of proper awareness about the issue she
was not even aware she was abused until she was examined then it was discovered the girl was
At the end, the speaker said, to stop gender violence the followings need to be considered
- Education in local languages
- Increase Sensitization/Advocacy – culturally responsive and relevant
- Consent and privacy
- Human Rights Enforcements by Public and Private
- Employ AI for Filtering offensive contents
- Content Enhancement
- Enable more support and help channels for victims
- Drive programs that amplify voices of the marginalized women and girls
- Support NGOs working around the subject
The third at this technical session, Miss Msen Nabo, Digital Media Associate at Connected
Development said appealing to governments to take the issue of GBV more serious is
something its advocates need to take beyond social media and also people’s attitudes need to
be changed. Mss. Nabo also stated that Gender Violence especially online is something that
people come across everyday but most of the times the victims ended up being punished by the
society. The gender activist said when victims of gender violence try to speak out against the
violence mated on them they usually receive silent feedback or they are advised to keep mute
in order to protect their image.
Mss. Msen went further to say that a clear example where government is an accomplice to this
act is the case of Kano State where the State House of Assembly refused to domesticate the
Child Protection Act even though the state is ranked among the states with high rate of gender
based violence and child abuse. According her, this need intense advocacies and awareness
Speaking further on how people violate others on social media platforms, Mss. Nabo stated
that sharing someone’s pictures, address, videos without his/her consent are all forms of
violence online and these types of violence can turn to offline. And for this, she suggested that
advocacies and awareness creation need to be carried out in order to stop it.
SECOND TECHNICAL SESSION: DEALING WITH CHILD ABUSE ONLINE
CHAIR: Hajiya Suwaiba Muhammad Dankabo
PANELISTS: Barrister Aisha Mahdi, Harira Wakili, Aminu Adamu Naganye
The second session was moderated by Hajiya Suwaiba Y. Dankabo of ActionAid Nigeria and the
Three (3) distinguished personalities and experts on Gender Based Violence and Child
Protection spoke and shared their experience and knowledge with the participants.
A Gender and Internet Right Advocate, Harira Abdulrahman Wakili started her presentation
with explaining the ample opportunities internet presents to young generations, Mss. Wakili
said that growing up internet offers limitless opportunities through computers, smartphones,
gaming consoles, and televisions, children learn, imagine and develop their social networks. But
she cautioned that these platforms need to be used in the right way, where she stated that
when these are used in the right way – and accessible to all – the internet has the potential to
broaden horizons and ignite creativity. She also said that with these opportunities come serious
risks. Harira added that cyberbullying and other forms of peer-to-peer violence can affect
young people each time they log on to social media or instant messaging platforms. Speaking
about what children can be exposed to on the net, Miss Wakili mentioned that when browsing
the internet, children may be exposed to hate speech and violent content – including messages
that incite self-harm and even suicide. According to her, what happens online reflects the
realities children face every day – at home, at school and in their wider communities. In
conclusion, Ms. Wakili emphasized that every child must be protected from violence,
exploitation and abuse on the internet.
The Second speaker at this session was Barrister Aisha H. Mahdi of Green Edge Attorneys, who
emphasized that with the widespread use of the Internet, the advancement in technology and
the proliferation of Internet-enabled devices have created borderless and unlimited access to
information. Barr. Aisha said progress brings by the internet has given the bad eggs in the
society the opportunities to exploit, put the children at risk, and make them vulnerable to
abuse. She said that there is an urgent need to balance the immense benefits of technology,
commercial interest and ensuring online safety of children with appropriate safeguards and
strong legal and institutional framework. Speaking on the safety on children online, the speaker
said there is a growing concern about the safety and privacy of children online which is amongst
the problems identified by relevant stakeholders in Nigeria.
Discussing about the internet penetration in the country, Barrister Mahdi said as internet
penetration increases, more children are connected to the grid, and this gives the children
better understanding of technology than the average adult. The speaker also mentioned that
new phones, smart toys, computers, and privileges for using a device give birth to new
responsibilities. Speaking about the exposure of the children to social media, Aisha stated that
the increased use of social media and online services allows children to share and consume
tremendous volume of personal information online. And at the same time the children use the
Internet as a means to learn, share and participate in civic life.
The legal practitioner added that in Nigeria, Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 8
of the Child Rights Act provide for children’s right to privacy. And Section 23 of the Cybercrimes
Act 2015 punishes child pornography. The Cybercrimes (Prohibition and Prevention) Act also
criminalizes cyberbullying and cyber stalking that could affect children. According to her,
though the Act punishes consumption of such contents and provides for other offenses, there is
no other specific legal guidelines or direction to protect the online safety and privacy of the
Nigerian child. Giving recommendations on how to safeguard children online, Barrister Aisha
i. Nigeria needs an online privacy protection law for children which will seek to protect
the personal information of children on websites, online services and applications
and it should be binding on online service providers collecting the personal data of
children to ensure consent management.
ii. Service providers should require the consent of the parents or guardians if the data
collection affects a child below the established age.
iii. There is need to digitalize the Nigerian courts and repeal some laws to ensure
efficient and quick judgments related to children abuses
Sharing his experience at the forum, a Kano based journalist, Aminu Adamu Naganye of The
Star Newspaper said Internet Service Providers and Electronic Service Providers need to ensure
their platforms are secure and do not put children at risk. He added that Service providers
should implement privacy and security by design and default. Service Providers have to do
more in creating and ensuring age-appropriate contents by managing content and dealing
effectively with abuse, misuse of their platforms and illegal contact with children.
Aminu Naganye said the legal framework alone cannot guarantee complete protection for the
Nigerian child. Excessive regulation will stifle children’s participation and access to the immense
benefits of the internet. Speaking further, Mr. Naganye said there is need for increased digital
literacy for both children and their parents/guardians. According him, providing this will ensure
children implement best privacy preferences, understand the implication of oversharing, and
have good online behavior. Another recommendations the journalist gave was that
parents/guardians should ensure they always install safety tools on their wards’ devices which
will protects children from inappropriate behavior and laying their hands on inappropriate
online contents. It will also prevents disclosure of personal information and assist parents and
guardians manage time spent on the devices.
Following the presentations, participants asked questions and made comments as well offered
specific recommendations that would help in making the internet safer for both women and
children. This segment also allowed the presenters to clarify on some of the issues they raised
and positions advanced as well as father interrogated some of the proposed solutions to the
challenges that women and children face online. Participants agreed that there was need to
carry both the discussion and the proposed solutions offline to reach more people and
especially engage government and other stakeholders to respond to these challenges so that
both women and children would use the internet safely and productive to ensure that it serves
The organizers also promised to distill the recommendations and issue a communique as the
outcome of the Forum while exploring all possibilities to continue to engage both the
participants at this Forum as well as other stakeholders to mount a sustained public awareness
on the issues and an advocacy for action to address the problems,
By Rabiu Musa
HOTPEN – The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has presented prizes to winners in the 3rd round of its ‘Report a Project Competition’.
The Centre said the champions were honored to encouraged them continue contributing their best for the sustainable growth and development of the society.
The program, according to the Centre is in support from MacArthur Foundation and is targeted at encouraging students from tertiary institutions to report abandoned or poorly executed projects in their respective communities.
In his remarks, the Executive Director of the Centre Dr. Y.Z Ya’u said the project was in line with the pursuit for a collective action to demand accountability from the government at all levels.
The Executive Director who was represented by the Centre’s Campaigns and Communications Officer, Mal. Ali Sabo explained that the idea is an accelerated step to holding governments accountable for its actions in the spirit of transparency as a critical element of good governance and improving citizens’ livelihood.
The winner of the competition, Mr. Taneem Garga, from Plateau state was presented with a Computer, while the first runner-up Ishaq Abdullahi Shehu from Kano Municipal got Huawei Nova and the second runner-up Ridwan Garba from Gwale local L.G, Kano state was presented with Huawei Y6 Pro.
Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) is a capacity
building civil society organization whose activities cover research, advocacy,
training and publicity in all areas of ICT for development and good governance.
CITAN in partnership with Action Aid Nigeria held a training for 30 (21 males and 9
females) community activists on election observation, on Tuesday 1 st February,
2022 at Goodview hotel Dutse Alhaji, Abuja. The training aims to improve
accountability and transparency in the electoral processes, and to strengthen
citizen’s voices in other to amplify actions in pursuing specific policy change
proposals in Nigeria.
The training started with a self-introduction by participants, followed by a
welcome address by Mubarak Ekute who explained to the participants the
purpose of the training. There was a quick review of the FCT observer’s election
experiences of the past elections from the fields and photo gallery, for better
positioning at the coming election.
Celestine Okwudili ODO AAN’s governance manager exposed the participants to
the election observation procedure and code of conduct while understanding the
key principles, electoral guideline in line with the electoral frame work, incident
reporting & escalation of issues; procedures for communicating issues from the
field to the situation room and understanding the observation checklist. In his
presentation he stated that the training was to make voters observe the dos and
don’ts of election generally, especially in the Abuja Municipal Area council’s up-
coming election. The experiences of past elections there were many challenges,
especially the failure of machines, thuggery, vote buying, hijacking of ballot boxes
and sundry issues. The training showed the participants that the February 12
election is an opportunity to change the Local Government chairmen that failed in
carrying out responsibilities for their communities.
The training was interactive, participatory and inclusive as participants asked
questions and discussed. A social media platform was created to allow all
participants to engage in and raise their concerns after the training, before the
Election Day. A toolkit on election observation was presented to each participant
in order to learn, engage and take action while on the field. The challenge
encountered was in time management, the time was not enough to allow for
group works, as participants had to break to pray and have lunch at intervals.
Yesmin Salako delivered a vote of thanks to end the training, she stated that the
participants should make sure they do not sell their next four years, but rather
secure their future. She assured the participants that they will be kept abreast of
the next process to get their kits to observe the election.
The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has expressed its readiness to collaborate with the Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), in procurement, to promote transparency and accountability.
This was disclosed by a Senior Programme Manager of CITAD, Isa Garba, when he led his team on advocacy to SUBEB and his management.
According to him, CITAD trains directors and deputy directors on accountability and transparency in public service.
“We are here today to inform you that CITAD is granted by the United Sates Agency for International Development (USAID) through the ‘State Accountability, Transparency and Effectiveness’ (State2State) to implement a governance project in Bauchi State,” he explained. “The goal of the project is to strengthen citizens’ participation in governance through active participation in the budgetary and procurement processes of the state.”
According to him, the project’s objectives include enhancing the capacity of 40 CSOs to engage both government and citizens in the budget process to improve citizens’ participation in budget processes and the skills of 40 government officials, among others.
He added that in the implementation process, CITAD would work with SUBEB and engage legislators in increasing the budgetary allocation to the education sector and help the agency in monitoring projects.
In his response, Permanent Commissioner, Alhaji Idris Hardawa, said, “Our books are always open for you to go through, and we are ready to work with you in achieving a transparent procurement atmosphere. We are partners with you in the development of the basic education sector.”
He added, “Everything we do here is open and transparent in line with financial and procurement regulations. We ensure that due process is followed in procurement transactions.”
Text of Press Conference addressed by Y. Z. Yaú. the Executive Director of the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) at Treasurers Sites and Conference, Abuja on February 10, 2022
Last week, precisely on February 2, 2022, the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) convened a meeting of stakeholders in the telecommunication sector on the need for a National Strategy for community networks to address the various dimensions of the digital divide in the country. The meeting, which was attended by over 40 people including people from government agencies, representatives of private sector, development partners, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), professionals, civil society organizations, community based organizations piloting community networks and academics, had the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy Prof Isa Ali Pantami, represented by the Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission, Engr Abdulaziz Aliyu delivering the keynote address.
Participants at the meeting affirmed the viability of community networks as one of the innovative strategies that is being used by many countries across the world in addressing their connectivity gaps, especially where mobile network operators (MNOs) have found too unprofitable, either because the populations are spare, communities are poor or they are hard to reach. The understanding is that there is need for new business models of small, flexible and nibble providers to fill the gaps that bigger players (MNOs) cannot fill.
Participants also realised that unleashing the potentials of community networks to address connective gaps requires a robust policy on community networks. Unfortunately, as of now, Nigeria does not have such a policy.
In the meeting, CITAD recounted the efforts it had made so far in advocating for a national policy on community networks. These efforts include:
Meeting with the team of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) to explore ways on how a community networks policy could be articulated for the country
Submission of a position paper to the NCC on its request, making the case for a policy regime and providing policy experiences from other countries
Follow-up communications to find out if the NCC had commenced the process of getting a policy for Nigeria
Meeting with the Hon Ministry for Communication and Digital Economy, robbing minds on the how the community networks sub-sector could be catalysed through policy making
Submission of a policy briefing notes to the Minister at his request, providing pathways for the development of the national community networks
Making further submission during the consultation processes for the policy on the 5G licensing
Meetings with a number of IT related agencies such as National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), Galaxy Backbone, etc as part of an advocacy drive on the need for such a policy
Addressing a series of press conferences to drive the point that Nigeria needs a policy for community networks to address the digital divide
Participants, including the Representative of the Hon Minister agreed that it was urgent that Nigeria had its policy for community networks. In particular, the Representative of the Minister averred that if all that was needed to catalyse the emergence and growth of community networks in the country, then the matter was simple since the Minister for Communication and Digital Economy is well known for his proactiveness in articulating policies for the digital space in Nigeria.
We at CITAD acknowledge the various efforts that the Minister in particular has put in repositioning the country for a digital transformation. We note for the example that in the last couple of years, he has led in the following, among others:
The development and steady implementation of the Federal Government National Digital Economy Policy NS Strategy (NDEPS)
The implementation of the Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2021-2024) by NITDA
The articulation of a new National Broadband Plan and Policy
Developed a vibrant digital ecosystem that supports Innovation Driven Enterprises (IDE) and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in a way that engenders innovation
Provisioned robust digital platforms to support government digital services and drive the digital economy
We conclusion of the development of the National Start-up Bill which is being transmitted to the National Assembly whose key objective is to create laws that will support the growth of the tech start up ecosystem in the country.
All these policies, laws and initiatives are important digital transformation elements for the country. However, with the digital divide in the country, the good objectives of these policies and programmes will be difficult to achieve. In particular, a large number of people in rural areas and hard to reach communities will be left behind as the experience has shown that even when broadband is rolled out, economic and accessibility factors are key hindrance to their affordability in these communities. The initiatives have not, in a fundamental way addressed the issues of bridging the connectivity gaps in the over 114 underserved and unserved communities in the country. It is instructive that the number of unserved and underserved communities is the result of the pain taking work of another government agency, the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF). Community networks remain the tool to unleashing the creativity of citizens, mobilising their resources, skills and other endowments to meet their collective digital communication challenge by themselves without asking for government to fund such bridging efforts or waiting for MNOs who are reluctant to do so because what is left are the unprofitable leftovers.
It is in this connection and in furtherance of the voice of the stakeholders meeting, we would like to renew our call on the government to as a matter of urgency provide the country with a national policy on community networks. The advantages are too numerous that we should not give to farther procrastination.
In particular, we would like to:
Call on the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy to set up a mechanism for the development of a National Policy for Community Networks
Call on the NCC to develop guidelines and regulations for the operation of community networks in the country and to allow communities to access and use TV White Space (TVWS) for the purposes of setting up community networks
Enjoins the Galaxy Backbone PLC to provide communities with access to its backbone for them to use as their community networks getaways.
The USPF to support the upgrading of the many community digital centres they set up in the country to serve as nucleus of community networks for communities that desirous and passionate to set up such in their communities
NITDA to work with communities at grassroots level to drive digital literacy which is critical for the effective utilization of digital technology and which is the foundation upon which the digital transformation agenda of the country will rest.
Call on the private sector operators in the sector to as, their corporate social responsibility support communities building community networks.
Call on all other stakeholders, including political office holders to support communities to go digital as critical contribution to community development.
Centre For Information Technology And Development (C ITAD) organized a monthly We-You Pro Influencers’ meeting The meeting started with welcome remarks by Malam Isah Garba, Senior program Officer, CITAD Who represented by Executive Director Malam Y.Z Yau Where he thanks everyone for attending the meeting on behalf of CITAD Board, and the Executive Director
Malam Isah gave the objectives of the meeting, as:
To formally introduce the ambassadors/ Influencers and get them know each other and be familiarized with each other.
To introduce the project, its objectives to the influencers
To design and agree of a work plan for the ambassadors/influencers
To agree on the activities and methodology of conducting their activities in their various localities.
To share the Demand charter with the ambassadors
Then John Otaro give brief explanation of the project and the new slogan for the campaign for the inclusion of Women and Youth in party leadership and elected positions nin Kano state. The new slogan is
Hope, Action, Progress, which has the symbol of traffic light as its logo and urge that hence the campaign will be identified with these symbols. the slogan and the logo According to John the project is aimed at contributing to an inclusive and responsive democratic process and outcomes through citizens’ led actions towards 2023 general elections in Nigeria. The duration:the campaign is a build up to the 2023 elections. Strategic Objectives
To enhance peoples’ power in democratic and inclusive governance.
To Enhance democratic choices for citizens.
To mobilize a critical mass of young people and women leading disruptive campaigns towards translating citizens’ demands into policy actions in Kano State.
To ensure that Citizens’ capacity is strengthened to demand accountability
to enhance capacity of government and its institutions for gender responsive service delivery to strengthen the capacities of young people and women on campaign strategies, policy, and influencing towards taking leadership positions to drive positive change
To engender an inclusive decision-making political process that reflects the priorities of the young people and women in kano state.
PROJECT SCOPE: The project will be working in the following Local government areas in kano including :including Bichi, Dala, Fagge, Gwale, Kano Municipal, Nassarawa, Sumaila, Tarauni.
During the meeting the Youth and women political charter of demand was shared to the influencers which each gave his personal and organizational commitment to amplify the demand of the women and youth and their messages towards 2023 general elections.
The demand and messages are:
We collectively agreed and came up with a charter of demand that will remove political blockages for the effective participation of youth and women in politics in Kano State. Therefore, we are submitting this charter which contains the demands of youth and women in Kano State ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Citizens demand at least the allocation of 35% of all positions in political party leadership and elective positions to youth and women.
Political Parties should subsidize /offer free forms for youth and women aspirants respectively
Media houses should support youth and Women aspirants and contestants in amplifying their manifestations in their programmes.
Media houses should support youth and Women aspirants and contestants in amplifying their manifestations in their programmes.
Communities and stakeholders should find ways to identify credible youth and women in their communities and support them to aspire as candidates.
We are soliciting the support of Religious leaders to lend their voice and influence in support of youth and women candidature through their sermons and preaching, especially come out with the roles youth and women played in the history of religions and societal development
Media, Civil Society Organizations and community Based Organizations should sensitize the public on the need for women and youth participation in politics
Security agencies should stick to the rules of engagements and non partisanship in all their engagements with political parties and politicians
Community Influencers should support young and female politicians to gain positions in political parties and win elective positions
Religious and Traditional leaders should engage in voter education to help in providing safer political space that will encourage youth and women participations
Business communities and individuals should support credible candidates among youth and women, lacking the financial capabilities to contest elections
Both in the socio-political and economic sectors, women and youth in Kano State are not well represented: therefore, women and young aspirants need to be supported by all.
Every decision making that does not have women and youth representation is not inclusive: stakeholders should support women and youth for inclusive decision making
As gender based violence almost becomes a norm, women and youth need to be part of the decision making process to raise and support decisions that will fight the menace better
Inclusion of youth and women in to key political and elected positions means inclusion of about 61% of the population into the process, support that for a better and inclusive society
The high number of out of school children in Kano can easily be mitigated if youth and women are involved
There is nothing for us without us, include youth and women into leadership positions to get their buy in and contributions in all policies and decisions to be taken on their behalf.
The next meeting is scheduled to hold in the third week of February 2022.
For over many decades, corruption has become the most destructive phenomenon which wearies away the economic growth and development of the entire Nigerian state. Corruption has penetrated to all levels of starting from the wards in local government areas and up to the federal level of government. Similarly, Nigeria is a state that is blessed with all forms of resources including land, human and natural resources that could place the state in the top countries of the world and compete with first world countries. Unfortunately, the persistent political corruption and lack accountability in Nigeria have kept Nigeria backward with excessive embezzlement of public fund by political officers, election rigging, bribery etc in all sectors including health, security and education.
Fighting corruption and promoting accountability therefore is collective and a task for all. To discharge their responsibilities in line with this postulations, Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), with support from MacArthur Foundation started implementing a project titled â€œAnti-corruption and Accountability,â€ where CITAD is working with 26 social influencers who use the influence especially on social media and other media outlet to influence citizens in Nigeria to stand against corruption and advocate for accountability at all level of government.
On January 15, 2018, the Social Influencers Cluster on Deepening Anti-Corruption and Spreading Accountability led by the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) and supported by MacArthur Foundation held it First quarter meeting. The participants were sub grantees working on anti-corruption and accountability project. Over 20 Social Influencers took turns at the meeting to speak on their experience on the project on anti-corruption and accountability. The meeting which held at Newton Park, Abuja allowed members of the cluster to review their work and reflect on the uptake of accountability and anti-corruption issues in the current campaigns by political parties for the 2019 General Election.
While giving an opening remarks at the beginning of the meeting, Dr. Tunde Misbahu Akanni who chaired the meeting, harped on the need for members of the cluster to adhere to the deadlines for the submission of quarterly reports, as such delays hamper the prompt release of subsequent tranches of funds.
This point was further adumbrated by Dayo Olaide, the representative of MacArthur Foundation, Dayo Olaide during general discussion who stressed on the importance of prompt filling of reports. He also emphasized the need for sub-grantees to avoid the issue of conflict of interests in the course of their work particularly as we approach the general election.
ACTIVITIES DURING THE MEETING
The Meeting was divided into three segments.
The first segment consisted of presentations; one on â€œUnderstanding the Human Cost of Conflict and Corruption in Nigeria,â€ by Chris Kwaja of Centre for Peace and Security Studies, Modibbo Adama University of Technology Yola, Adamawa State. In his presentation, Chris Kwaja explained that despite the victimhood associated with their experiences with conflicts, many Nigerians lack the power to exercise their civic rights in relations to the demand for accountability and transparency as it relates to conflict related responses by state and non-state actors. He lamented that Corruption has become a dominant features of responses by these actors â€“ monies appropriated, distributed and used under the guise of conflict related interventions are mis-applied, mis-used or stolen through official and unofficial means.
In his presentation, Kwaja also explained how corruption has killed Nigeria to a bottom line. He stated that corruption erodes public trust on the state and its institutions, thereby perpetuating a regime of impunity. Similarly, citizens are cut off from knowledge of what happens to the monies meant to address their problems, leading to social tension (Boko Haram emerged because the state is â€˜corruptâ€™). In the eyes of the citizens, the state is also perceived as corrupt in way it allocates and uses resources to fight Boko Haram).
At the end of his presentation, he opined that empowering communities to demand social accountability through the availability of information as well as the right communication tools and channel for combating corruption is imperative and a collective responsibility. Another important point he made was to train key community actors on the monitoring and tracking of the distribution of budgeted funds and relief materials
The second presentation was on â€œCreativity in the Fight against Corruptionâ€ by one of the subgrantees, Diego Odoh Okenyedo (Splendors of Dawn), who uses creativity in poetry to deepen anti-corruption and spread accountability. Diego explained that creativity such as in Drama and poetry could be used to send messages on anticorruption and accountability in an entertaining manner. Citizens including young people as well as political officers could be connected with anticorruption and the need for accountability and transparency through poetry, pop culture, stage drama etc. This could be done by using imagination of original ideas to create messages on anticorruption and accountability. He explained that key elements in doing that involved associating by drawing connections between questions, problems or ideas from unrelated field; question by posing queries that challenge common wisdoms, observing by identifying new ways of doing things, networking by meeting people wth different ideas and perspectives and lastly; experimenting by constructing interactive experiences and provoking responses to see new insights.
2ND SEGMENT 2:
The Second segments consisted of issues relating to the activities implemented by each sub-grantee. 21 social influencers attended the meeting and shared their experiences on their various activities and their challenges. The activities carried out by the social influencers in the first quarter included poetry, documentary, drama, journals, radio programme, online news updates, daily tweets and researches etc.
Challenges as shared by the social influencers include:
- Getting across to the politicians and political stakeholders.
- People are not willing to engage themselves in matters that concerns their rights.
- People challenge some of the social influencers thinking that they are not neutral and or were being paid by some politicians to carry out the activities.
- Physical threats from people against some staff who went to public areas for shooting.
- Some Sub grantees made known that the project has been yielding positive results.
- In some locations in Nigeria no much is been said on anti-corruption and accountability, citizens in that region talk more on insecurity which is a challenge.
- The issue of feedback from the citizens is a challenge.
In this segment also, the CITAD team discussed on how to properly prepare report and retirement for each quarter. Aliyu Dahiru Aliyu who is the M&E officer, Spoke from the monitoring and evaluation perspectives and stated some guidelines on how to properly meet all its requirement. Maryam Ado Haruna, the programme officer also explained the guidelines needed to be followed while filling the quarterly narrative form. She also stated that there is need for monthly update of each sub-grantees activities, adding that a timetable would be developed and sent to them to know when they need to submit any required document. This was to enable timely submissions on time and avoid unnecessary delays as experienced in the first quarter. Abubakar Yusuf Auyo, the project accountant also stated requirements for the financial report including supporting documents of all transaction made with the project fund.
In the third segment which was the last segment, consisted of general discussion and observation on corruption in Nigeria. The outcomes were:
- The participants discussed that People on the ground who are directly affected by the conflict in the North East can sometimes see the international agencies themselves as beneficiaries of the insurgency and feel that they themselves do not always meet the highest accountability standards.
- Similarly, there is a backlash against those working on accountability issues when it come s to the fight against the insurgency in the North East or the provision of humanitarian aid.
- Again, the issue of production of fake news has aided toward deepening corruption in Nigeria.
- At the end of the meeting, the communique drafted during the meeting was presented and was signed by CITAD and the social influencers.
- It is important to collaborate with other social media influencers working on the anticorruption project, in the print media, the performing art and other socially conscious CSOs.
- Many Nigerians lack the power to exercise their civic rights in relations to the demand for accountability and transparency as it relates to conflict related responses by state and non-state actors.
- The Nigeriaâ€™s security sector remains one of the most visible actor in the countryâ€™s conflict landscape
- Security funds are outside the budget and financial reporting systems (they donâ€™t account to anyone about how such funds were spent.
- The issue of diversion of relief materials by aid workers, government officials and diversion of humanitarian funds through fraudulent contracts
- There is practice of classified expenditure under the guide of security votes, which end up as slush funds that are spent without any iota of accountability.
In continuation of its stakeholder consultations on the Kano ICT Park the Office of the Special Adviser to the Kano State Governor on Education and Information Technology on Thursday, 23rd October held an interactive meeting with bankers and telecommunication companies. The event which held at Horizon Hotel, Kano was attended by representatives of banks and telecommunication companies operating in Kano. Speaking at the occasion, the Special Adviser Dr. Bashir Galadanci said that the forum was meant to discuss on how the state government can partner with bankers and telecommunication companies to make the ICT Park reality. He briefed the participants on the project from its conceptualization to its current stage and explained the rationale for the choice of the ICT Park as a mechanism for the implementation of the stateâ€™s ICT policy. CITADâ€™s Director, Y. Z. Yaâ€™u who made presentation on the Role of Banks and Telecommunication Companies in the ICT Park identified three different roles that they could play. They include being tenants in the park, beneficiaries of outsourcing programme of the ICT Park companies and financers and partners for the infrastructure development in of the Park.
The Buji Youth Development Association (BYDA) organized Accountability Forum in Buji Local Government. The activity took place at the Community Primary School on Wednesday April, 3rd 2008.
Miss Oge Okeye, the National Endowment for Democracy, (NED)â€™s Assistance Program Officer for Africa, paid an official visit to Centre for Information Technology and Development, (CITAD), on 3rd- April-2008. Miss. Oge had a meeting with the Executive Director, CITAD, Y.Z. Yaâ€™u as and other officers of the centre.
Issues discussed at the meeting involved; CITAD activities in promoting political awareness especially in Jigawa State, women participation in politics, CITADâ€™s contribution to the development political participation, itâ€™s execution of NED program, accountability among others.
With regard to promoting political participation, the Executive Director, Y.Z. Yaâ€™u unveiled that CITAD has formed a political sensitization team, which actively participated in creating political awareness through holding comprehensive discussions and lectures with the mass populace of Jigawa State. â€œThrough activities like these,â€ according to Y.Z. Yaâ€™u, â€œthere has been a large turn out of voters in Jigawa State especially in contrast to with previous elections.â€ Further, the Director informed Miss Oge that due to the positive impact of CITADâ€™s team in eradicating political apathy in Jigawa State, the government in the plan to replicate the same so as to reinforce CITADâ€™s effort and create a democratically advantaged populace in Jigawa State.
On the gender issue and women political participation, Mrs. Fatima informed the NEDâ€™s Assistant Program Officer for Africa that in Jigawa State there is still the problem of inadequate political participation of women in politics. She added that CITAD has been trying very hard to ensure that women come out and cast their votes. Says Mrs. Fatima:
â€œWe have been going to every nock and corner in Jigawa State, reaching out to women, educating and sensitizing them on the dividends of democracy and the important role they can play especially with their large population. Culture in this part of Nigeria does not promote women mixing freely with men, but with more sensitizations, people are now understanding the responsibilities tied around their neck, and so in the recent time there is improvement in the number of women who come out to cast their vote. The effort of CBOâ€™s like CITAD contributed a lot.â€
Miss Oge Okeye, went around the various CITADâ€™s units and saw their activities with satisfaction.
A two- day International Workshop titled: The Kano ICT Park: from concept to reality was conducted at Tahir Guest Palace, Kano. The workshop which took place between Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th May 2008 was an official declaration for the opening of the Kano State Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Park.
The occasion witnessed the attendance of international representatives from Malaysia and Ghana, representatives of International Organization such as DFID, top governmental officials, academicians, professional ICT companies, various non-governmental organizations from all part of the nation. A number of papers were presented dealing with the Conception of the ICT Park in Kano, its development, sustainability, entrepreneurship, man power supply among other important issues. The Deputy Governor of Kano state Engineer Abdullahi Tijjani Muhammad Gwarzo who represented the Executive Governor of Kano Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau declared the ICT Park open after expressing the state government appreciation on the workshop. Engineer Abdullahi Tijjani stated that the entire world socio-economy is moving faster due to Information Communication Technology [ICT] which is the driving force behind it. He added that Kano State Government, in its effort to catch up in the race for ICT and socio-economic developments, establish the office of the Special Adviser on Education and Information Technology under the leadership of Dr. Bashir Galadanchi which eventually metamorphosed into the Kano ICT Park from concept to reality. The Deputy Governor concluded that even though the ten storey building popularly known as investment house was not build for ICT purpose, it is now an excellent decision by the state to convert the structure into an ICT park.