By Yakubu Salisu, Kano
A Kano Based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Centre for Information Technology ( CITAD), has called on government at all levels to formulate policies that aims to solve digital problems facing the country.
CITAD made the call on Friday in Kano as it joins to mark The World International Telecommunication and Information Society Day which is celebrated on the 17th of May of every year.
According to the Senior Programme Officer, Isah Garba, the call became pertinent considering the huge challenges of digital divide and ICT marginalization in Nigeria hence the need for stakeholders to use the day to reflect on matters arising.
He said, “While the world is moving to bridge the standardization gap with programmes aim to facilitate the efficient participation of developing countries in Information Technology Union’s standards-making process, to disseminate information about existing standards, we in Nigeria are far left behind in terms of accessibility, availability and penetration levels of the internet and its usage.
This, he said is even worse when it comes to access and use of the internet by women and girls who face many obstacles related to culture, level education and gender norms etc”
That if the country continue to move in this direction, without developing quick and effective, pragmatic approach towards solving the problems around access to information and the internet through creation of a robust mechanism of bridging the digital divide, the country will remain under developed and thus, “our economic and other social problems will further increase”.
To Address some of the challenges, Garba opined that government at all levels must ensure that there is internet policy on ground that is aimed at solving the digital problems, creat an enabling environment for actors willing to contribute in the sector to help mitigate the problems and ensure that citizens have fair access to data free of monopoly of the internet service providers while all government agencies must not only be ICT friendly but stick to use of ICTs in their day to day operations and that should be made compulsory on all staff to have the basic knowledge and skill of ICT and be Prepare to address the issue of gender base violence online which is a major factor that promotes digital marginalization of women.
Furthermore, that ICT companies working in the country should Include targeting corporate social responsibility projects towards educating and training the citizens in the area of ICT, Support CSOs that are working in the areas of ICTs to promote campaigns and awareness creation among the citizens in need to migrate from the analogue behavior to digital as well as Reduce high cost of data and facilities especially in the rural areas.
In the same vein, Isah stressed the need for civil society organizations in the country to Intensify campaign on the need for the citizens to adopt and push for access and use of internet in their endeavor and Include in ICTs driven activities in their works.