By Olasunkanmi Onifade
The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) has appealed to the Federal Government to withdraw the controversial National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) bill, before the National Assembly.
It is recalled that the 2007 NITDA Act is currently awaiting passage, following its amendment at the National Assembly.
President of the NCS, Prof. Adesina Sodiya, at a news conference in Abuja on Saturday said the bill lacked stakeholders’ input and was hurriedly put together by vested interests.
According to him, some stakeholders had condemned the bill for attempting to arrogate the powers of other government agencies to NITDA.
“Unfortunately, we got to know from the social media that the bill was being proposed and it had gotten to the advanced stage by the time we got our information.
“We saw that the bill was not good for us as a nation, we called on NITDA to arrange for stakeholders meeting.
“The meeting was held in some cities, but all our inputs, as stakeholders were not considered.
“We have asked questions, if the new bill is for all of us, we are all part of government.
“Even the operators in the digital space must make contributions, but we discovered our position was not considered by NITDA,” Sodiya said.
He said there was public hearing about two weeks ago on the matter, saying what the social media said concerning the bill remained the same.
Sodiya said even if the bill was to be upgraded, there was need to consider all stakeholders.
He noted with concerns, that the bill, if passed into law, would lead to multiple regulations for telecom operators and other service providers in the ICT sector.
Sodiya urged NITDA to focus on its core mandate of Information Technology development in Nigeria.
He said having NITDA as another regulator in the telecom sector would send wrong signals to investors, as they would be subjected to multiple regulations and fees, if they invest in the industry.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NITDA Act 2007, which established the agency, says its main objective was to use ICT as a tool in tertiary institutions, to drive the mechanism of the education sector in the country.
“As the agency of the Federal Government, responsible for developing Information Technology in Nigeria, NITDA is empowered by its enabling Act to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardisation, application, coordination, monitoring, and evaluation of IT practices, activities, and systems in Nigeria”. (NAN)(www nannews.ng)
Edited by Idowu Ariwodola/Maureen Atuonwu