The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) says it has been advocating for a citizen-driven national policy for sustainable community networks to bridge the digital divide in Nigeria.
The center said, the current market-driven technology rollout has left over 100 million Nigerians without access to the internet and excluded from technology advantages.
”CITAD conducted a number of programmes toward supporting ICTs and specifically, advocating for the establishment and sustaining community networks across the country”.
Community Networks Officer of the Center Malam Haruna Hadejalia stated this today at a press conference in Kano.
CITAD said it has engaged policymakers and stakeholders in the telecommunications industry for the past two years to develop a national policy for community networks but has not yet achieved a consensus.
”Series of advocacies were organized, meetings and other consultations with various professionals, friends of community networks, the CSOs, service providers (local and international), academia and other interest groups to influence and support the deployment and sustenance of community networks in Nigeria. In the present context, the uncertainty of the digital divide is known by Nigeria government and its agencies. According to government statistics, only about half of Nigerians have access to the internet. This means that within the country, an estimated population of over 100 million people is already left behind and excluded from the benefits of the internet and other technology advantages”
CITAD then, called on private sector operators, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, the Galaxy Backbone PLC, the Universal Service Provision Fund, the Nigerian Communications Commission, and NITDA to take specific actions to support the deployment of community networks and bridge the connectivity gap in underserved and unserved areas.
CITAD urges CSOs and political office holders to support communities to go digital, and media to add voice to the call to bridge the connectivity gap.