By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Minister of Communications, Dr Adebayo Shittu says Nigeria requires internet access to achieve quality and inclusive education in the country.
The minister made the remark while declaring open the 2018 edition of ‘Nigeria Internet Governance Forum’ held in Abuja, with the theme: ‘Internet: An Enabler for Good Governance.’’
He emphasized the use of internet as a tool to drive education process, which he said is the only way to guarantee socio-economic advancement of the country in an inclusive manner.
He said: “The task of improving the lives of the vulnerable and the underprivileged is not for the government alone, it is for all stakeholders.
‘‘Many Nigerians lack access to internet, but I can assure you that the ministry remains committed to ensure that internet access is extended to all parts of the country.
“Many people don’t have access to the internet but we know that when they get connected, they can achieve extraordinary things. The internet belongs to everyone.’’
Shittu, who underscored the need for collaboration among stakeholders called for improved engagements between stakeholders in the sector. He also urged the public to facilitate the growth and adoption of internet as a tool for enhancing the quality of lives of Nigerians.
The minister reiterated government’s resolve to seek a more insistent role in the governance of the internet and technology, said it would continue to push the boundaries of accepted normative standards, adding that the country cannot afford to lag behind the rest of the world.
“We need to look forward to the possibilities that the internet is yet to bring.
“The promise the internet held 26 years ago still holds true and we will continue to believe and advocate for the benefits it brings, the ability to inspire and its capacity to change people’s lives.
“Nigeria represents dynamic change, new ideas, and the next generation of leaders. An internet that includes Nigeria means an internet that exists for the good of all people. One that is shaped by diversity, inclusion, and equal voices,’’ he added.
He, however, expressed concern over unlawful use of the internet to perpetrate crime in the society.
According to the minister, bad actors will continue to attempt to hijack the very nature of the internet to cause harm where it was designed to help.
“However, we have the moral responsibility to protect our culture, youths and other vulnerable groups on the Internet.
“We take the issue of child safety online to be very important and will continue to do all that is necessary to ensure that our youths are engaged in the right direction,’’ he said.
In his presentation, the Vice Chancellor of Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Prof Muhammad Mainnima, said Information Communication Technology (ICT) has significant role to play in the elections.
“While we agree that internet can promote good governance, it is important to think of how to make Nigeria cyberspace safe and secured.
“Therefore, it is my sincere hope that this year conference will add value positively to the narratives of good governance powered by the internet.
Earlier, in her welcome address, Chair, NIGF Multi-Stakeholders Advisory Group, Mrs. Mary Uduma, said NIGF was the local initiative of the United Nations (UN) Internet Governance agreed on by the whole world in 2005.
According to Uduma, NGIF is a stakeholders platform that discuss public policy issues pertaining to internet, such as internet security, good governance.
“We have brought internet experts to dissect this along the line of global discussion in areas of access inclusiveness and diversity, cyber security and trust.