Nigeria is now rated fourth in global cyber crime rate and number 63rd in Information Technology (IT) global competitiveness rating.
National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), which disclosed this recently also identified lack of adequate political will from decision makers as a major challenge militating against development of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in Nigeria.
Director-General/CEO of NITDA, Prof. Cleopas Angaye said most policy makers do not understand what ICT is all about as it could not be seen physically like physical infrastructures.
According to the NITDA DG/CEO, apart from rating Nigeria as the number four in terms of cybercrimes in the world, Nigeria stands number 64 in ICT global competitiveness rating.
Examining internet access by the population over years 2000, 2006 and 2009, Angaye said the percentage penetration is still very low, in the single digit, adding that “it is obvious that if this is a major criterion in any assessment, we can’t make a high score.”
Cybercrime situation in Nigeria, Angaye maintained, is not very good, insisting that government cannot fight the situation alone, but with the support of stakeholders the situation would be a thing of the past.
The DG lamented that lack of political will hinders the nation’s leadership from fully supporting and embracing new technologies, stressing that necessary mechanisms should therefore be put in place to properly create ICT awareness among the political leaders at all tiers of government.
Angaye further noted that ICT infrastructura is not adequate in our environment, adding that “where they exist, they are not properly deployed for adequate use. For instance, computers in some offices are usually covered and many are dusty because of long time neglect. The issue of power is also a major infrastructural defect but this could be addressed by adopting alternative sources of power in order to enhance the deployment of technologies.”
The DG insisted that investment in ICT is capital intensive, but however noted that the amounts provided for it in the annual budgetary allocations are very low, hence, very little is achieved on yearly basis.
Aside requisite human capital, which in most cases not available at the rural level, necessary institutional frameworks are yet to be established at the rural level, this Angaye noted has slowed down the rate of progress in the few locations where the value of ICT are appreciated.
The DG however called on the government to make consistent substantive investment, at least a minimum of one percent of total annual budget in science and technology especially in information technology for Nigeria to be a key player and one of the leading economies in the world in the nearest future.
By Samuel Ogidan