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Nitda: the Goad of IT in Nigeria

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Information technology (IT), as defined by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), is "the study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware."IT deals with the use of electronic computers and computer software to convert, store, protect, process, transmit, and securely retrieve information.
Our world today has changed a great deal with the aid of information technology. Things that were once done manually or by hand have now become computerised, and with computer a task is accomplished by just a single click of a mouse.
Nigeria like most developing countries is a little backward in the utilisation of information technology and as we are aware, information technology is the foundation for any nation’s survival and development.
The significance of IT can be seen from the fact that it has penetrated almost every aspect of our daily lives from business to leisure and even society. Today personal computers, cell phones, fax machines, email and internet have not only become an integral part of our very culture but also play an essential role in our day to day activities.
With the increasing growth in Computers and Telecommunications, the digital gap is still widening between those who have access to and those who have no access to digital devices and services. The Federal Government of Nigeria having recognised IT as a strategic imperative for the national development and taking into cognisance its immense benefits, has resolved to provide considerable national resources for the realisation of the national IT vision. In order to bridge such a gap locally, nationally and internationally, the Federal Government of Nigeria took a gallant stride to address some vital socio-economic issues like reliable infrastructure, skilled human resources, open government and other crucial issues of capacity building thus giving birth to the National Information Technology Development Agency (Nitda) in 2001 to serve as a clearing house for IT development in Nigeria.
In 2007, Nitda became a statutory body through the Nitda Act of 2007 with the primary vision to serve as a catalyst in transforming Nigeria into an information technology driven economy.
Most nations in the world develop national ICT policies with regards to the immense potentials of information technology so as to deter from becoming victims of the digital divide. To achieve this objective with maximum effectiveness, Nitda has implemented the IT policy, it also regulates, monitors, evaluates, and verifies progress on an ongoing basis under the supervision and coordination of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
On 17th June, 2009, Nitda came up with Nigeria’s National ICT for Development (ICT4D) Strategy/Plan. In the existing policy, Nitda is to enter into strategic alliance, collaboration and joint venture with the private sector for the actualisation of the IT vision which is to make an Nigeria IT capable country as well as using IT as an engine for sustainable development and global competitiveness.
The national ICT4D Strategic Action Plan was developed within the frame work of realising the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Seven Point Agenda and other socio-economic development programmes which is aimed at positioning Nigeria among the 20 leading economies in the World by the year 2020, thereby deploying ICT to achieve Nigeria’s Millennium Development Goals, Nepad development initiatives and the World Summit on Information Society’s plan of action.
The ICT4D will encourage investment on ICT and the use of ICT as a tool for wide range of applications and infrastructural planning. It will also help to fight illiteracy and improve health care delivery, quality of education, human capital development, national security and law enforcement, agriculture, governance and legislature, electronic government, and private sector partnership.
In its bid to bring information technology to the door steps of all Nigerians, Nitda established 16 Rural Information technology Centres (RITCs) across the country. These RITCs are designed as composite one-stop for information technologies in the grass roots while providing IT education to rural communities, enhancing system penetration and providing internet access.
In 2006, Computers for All Nigerians Initiatives (CANI) was launched. CANI is a government-private sector collaboration aimed at increasing PC penetration in Nigeria, thus creating a more computer-literate workforce. The scheme will make available desktop computers and laptops at prices significantly below the prevailing market prices for all such employees and in addition offer bank financing for the purchase of the PCs which will be repaid at affordable rates over a period of 24 months.
Nitda is also working on the establishment of Software Development Centres in each geo-political zone as well as internet exchange points so as to cut down the cost of bandwidth.
With just seven years left to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, Nigeria needs to effectively and speedily respond to the current global economic recession, climate change, and poverty. This has renewed Government’s interest and engagement in the issue of Capacity Development (under the auspices of Nitda) so as to achieve the internationally agreed and overarching goal of cutting extreme poverty by half by 2015. Capacity Development, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), “is the process through which individuals, organisations, and societies obtain, strengthen, and maintain the capabilities to set and achieve their own development objectives over time”.
From the foregoing, it is obvious that the Federal Government of Nigeria through Nitda is leaving no leaf unturned in implementing its vision of creating an ICT revolution aimed at positioning Nigeria as the foremost ICT territory in Africa and also be among the 20 countries of the world to be reckoned with in terms of development fostered by ICT capacity building and utilisation by the year 2020.

Hadiza Umar is of Corporate Affairs unit.
National Information Technology Development Agency

 

 


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Join Inlaks Live TechTalk Edition on Hyosung’s Revolutionary MV 100 ATM Model

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Inlaks, the leading Information Technology Systems Integrator specialised in the deployment of highly scalable ICT Infrastructure solutions, will on Monday September 28, deploy the second edition of its virtual thought leadership segment called “TechTalk”.

Techtalk which was formerly a pre-recorded segment hosted on the organisations YouTube channel has now transitioned into a live virtual event across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The virtual edition kicked off in August 2020 with a segment on Financial Crime Mitigation, honing in on the superiority of Temenos Financial Crime Mitigation Solution with Emmanuel Orororo, Sales Manager, Financial Business, Inlaks.

The 2nd edition of Tech Talk promises to offer the same measure of insights as it dives into the world of Automated Teller Machines (ATM) with a focus on MoniValue 100, a revolutionary ATM solution by Hyosung TNS. The MoniValue 100 is especially adapted to the present times as it is a cardless, contactless and changeless solution.

Join this virtual event live by logging on to any of the social media pages below on Monday, 28th September 2020. YouTube: Inlaks, Facebook: InlaksNg, Twitter: Inlaks, Instagram: InlaksNg

Inlaks is a leading system integrator in Sub-Saharan Africa. The company partners with leading OEMs in the technology industry to provide world-class information technology solutions that exceed the needs of its customers.

Over the years, Inlaks has built a reputation as the foremost ICT and Infrastructure Solutions Provider, helping customers effectively seize new market and service opportunities.

With an impressive customer base that includes six Central Banks in West Africa, 18 of the 24 banks in Nigeria and other major customers in the West African region, Inlaks has become the dominant Information Technology Company in Africa.

Inlaks’ customers cut across various segments including Banking, Telecommunication, Oil/Gas, Power, Utilities and the Distribution sectors of the economy. For more information, please visit www.inlaks.com


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Millions of Cyber Attacks Launched on Nigeria, Others- Reports

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There were 3.8 million malware attacks and 16.8 million Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUA) detections over a 7-month period in Nigeria, according to Kaspersky security solutions.

Millions of Cyber Attacks Launched on Nigeria, Others- Reports

Elsewhere in South Africa, there were almost 10 million malware attacks and a staggering 43 million PUA detections, showing the growing desperation of the attacks.

The company reported on 28 million malware attacks in 2020 and 102 million detections of potentially unwanted programs (pornware, adware etc.) accounted for by the beginning of August 2020.

These numbers show that it’s not only the malware that attacks users but also the “grey zone” programmes that grow in popularity and disturb their experiences, while users might not even know it is there.

Potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) are programmes that are usually not considered to be malicious by themselves.

However, they are generally influencing user experience in a negative way. For instance, adware fills user device with ads; aggressive monetising software propagates unrequested paid offers; downloaders may download even more various applications on the device, sometimes malicious ones.

calculating interim results of threat landscape activity in African countries, Kaspersky researchers noticed that PUAs attack users almost four times more often than traditional malware.

They also eventually reach more users: for instance, while in South Africa, the malware would attack 415,000 users in 7-months of 2020, the figure for PUA would be 736,000.

“The reason why ‘grey zone’ software is growing in popularity is that it is harder to notice at first and that if the programme is detected, its creators won’t be considered to be cybercriminals. The problem with them is that users are not always aware they consented to the installation of such programmes on their device and that in some cases, such programmes are exploited or used as a disguise for malware downloads,” said Denis Parinov, a security researcher at Kaspersky.

By taking a closer look at PUA, it becomes apparent that they are not only more widespread but also more potent than traditional malware.

Evaluating results over the same 7-month period in Nigeria, there were 3.8 million malware attacks and 16.8 million PUA detections – which is four times as much.

Kenyan and South African threat landscapes have been more intense. In South Africa, there were almost 10 million malware attacks and a staggering 43 million PUA detections.

Kenyan users faced even more malware attacks – around 14 million, and 41 million PUA appearances, Kaspersky said.


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Tech Giants Strike Deal with Advertisers over Hate Speech

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Web giants including Facebook have struck a deal with advertisers on how to identify harmful content such as hate speech, after an impasse over the issue which led to boycotts of the platform.

Tech Giants Strike Deal with Advertisers over Hate Speech

The agreement — which also included Twitter and YouTube — laid out for the first time a common set of definitions for hateful statements online.

In July, hundreds of advertisers including big-name consumer brands suspended advertising with Facebook as part of the #StopHateForProfit campaign, saying the social-media titan should do more to stamp out hatred and misinformation on its platform.

And earlier this month a group of celebrities — including Kim Kardashian, Leonardo DiCaprio and Katy Perry — stopped using Facebook and Instagram for 24 hours, to push a similar message.

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) said in a statement Wednesday: “Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, in collaboration with marketers and agencies through the Global Alliance for Responsible Media have agreed to adopt a common set of definitions for hate speech and other harmful content and to collaborate with a view to monitoring industry efforts to improve in this critical area.”

The alliance was founded by the WFA and includes other major trade bodies.

According to the WFA, key areas of agreement included applying the alliance’s common definitions of harmful content; developing reporting standards for such content; establishing independent oversight; and rolling out tools for keeping advertisements away from harmful content.

The WFA said that properly defining online hate speech would remove the current problem of different platforms using their own definitions, which it said made it difficult for companies to decide where to put their ads.

“As funders of the online ecosystem, advertisers have a critical role to play in driving positive change and we are pleased to have reached agreement with the platforms on an action plan and timeline in order to make the necessary improvements,” said Stephan Loerke, chief executive of the WFA.

Luis Di Como, executive vice-president of global media at Unilever, a major advertiser, sounded a note of cautious optimism.

He said: “The issues within the online ecosystem are complicated, and whilst change doesn’t happen overnight, today marks an important step in the right direction.”

Speaking in July, Facebook’s founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said he remained adamant that the company did not want hate speech on the social network.

On Wednesday, the company’s vice-president for global marketing solutions, Carolyn Everson, said the agreement gave all parties “a unified language to move forward on the fight against hate online.”

 


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