Article Summary 

  • Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) is appealing to the Federal Government to withdraw the controversial NITDA Bill from the National Assembly.
  • According to the President of the society, the Bill was put together by some ‘vested interests’ without any input from stakeholders.
  • The NCS also noted that the bill, if passed into law, would lead to multiple regulations for telecom operators and other service providers in the ICT sector.

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.

President of the NCS, Prof. Adesina Sodiya, at a news conference 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.

He said the NCS got to know from social media that the bill was being proposed and it had gotten to the advanced stage by the time the Society got the information.

Actions taken

Explaining what the computer professional body has done to let the bill reflect the will of the industry, Sodiya said:

  • “We saw that the bill was not good for us as a nation, we called on NITDA to arrange for a 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 the Even the operators in the digital space must make contributions, but we discovered our position was not considered by NITDA.

He said there was a 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 a 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. Adesina Sodiya Adesina 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.

Telcos are also against the bill

Earlier, telecommunications operators in the country asked the National Assembly to exclude them from any regulatory powers that will be given to the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) under the new NITDA Bill being considered by the lawmakers.

The telcos under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) stated this in their submission to the Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives on ICT and Cyber Security, during a public hearing on the Bill.

According to them, including telecom operators as part of the entities to be regulated by NITDA would put the telecom industry under the pressure of multiple regulations as they are currently being regulated by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The 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,” the Act states.