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NIRA: Local Internet hosting to ‘drive Nigeria’s economy’

NIRA: Local Internet hosting to ‘drive Nigeria’s economy’

Local Internet hosting that keep Nigeria’s online traffic local is a key revenue generator that can boost economic growth, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), managers of the country’s Internet real estate has identified.

NIRA, like other key stakeholders in the technology space are advocating the hosting of locally-relevant content as key to saving foreign exchange for Nigeria.

The domain name body says that majority of content accessed by Internet users in Nigeria are hosted abroad, and such content traverse often expensive and sometimes under-provisioned international links before it can be hosted.

”People register names and just pack them, they don’t host them locally. Out of all that are registered and hosted, just 1.33% of these are hosted in Nigeria. The rest are hosted outside Nigeria”, Reverend Sunday Folayan, President of NIRA told journalists in Lagos today head of the 10th anniversary celebration of the domain name body, billed to hold later this year.

”This is capital flight. It is something that bothers NIRA, and we are looking for ways to mitigate that and help conserve foreign exchange at this very tight time for the country”, the NIRA President says.

A cross section of NIRA Board members during the press briefing held today at the NIRA Corporate Head Office in Lagos
A cross section of NIRA Board members during the press briefing held today at the NIRA Corporate Head Office in Lagos. Photo: Kehinde Shonola/Technology Times

According to him NIRA, is proud to celebrate a decade of managing Nigeria’s critical national resource and identity flagship on the Internet, the .ng name string.

In his presentation to the journalists, Folayan gave statistics of the .ng domain name uptake trend across the country.

”In Nigeria, we have done 60,000 registrations; in Africa, 15,000,000, and globally, 294, 000,000. That shows that there is a huge opportunity for us in Nigeria. We have not even scratched the surface”, he says.

According to him, NIRA has so far signed up a total of 56 accredited registrars that handles the actual registration to the registrants, the end users.

Afolayan commended the co-operation of government in not only creating awareness but also blazing the trail in hosting its content locally, outstripping the trend seen in the private sector

”Focusing on government websites, and leaving all the commercial and individual websites, it’s a very encouraging story in the sense that 30% of government domains registered are hosted in Nigeria compared to 1% that is being done by other Nigerians. I think it’s very commendable that our government is preaching local hosting and also walking the talk”, Folayan says the local hosting trend.

Looking at the sub domains, the NIRA President says that the .com.ng name string too up almost 70% of the registrations, while second level domain, the .ng is just 17%. The other domain names that account for 1.9% include name.ng and i.ng that has just been opened up in the previous year.

According to him, to encourage domain name owners, expired domain name owners are given 60 days’ grace to renew their registration, the first 30 days serves as a reminder while the domain name gets deleted at the expiration of the 60-days grace.

Commenting on the milestone of the association in the last 10 years Mr Folayan stated, “NIRA has been able to set up a robust registry in terms of infrastructure, policy, and co-operation.”

According to him, “our infrastructure is distributed across the five continents of the world and they are on Anycast servers on different networks so that if a particular server on a particular network goes down, they just target that particular server without getting rid of the service.”

According to him, NIRA has “been able to build such a resilient network and I am sure in the last five years nobody has heard any complain that .ng is down.”

He also stressed that the domain name group has been built on a peaceful co-existence and “we have also been able to put in place a very robust organization that is absolutely peaceful with no fraction or disagreement.”

Folayan says that, “we have been able to manage our proceeds very judiciously, there has not been any case of embezzlement. We have built a good account of our revenue. It’s 10 years now, and we are standing tall and going taller.”

Mrs Mary Uduma, the immediate past President of NIRA in her own intervention says the toughest challenge so far faced by the domain name group is the slow uptake of .ng by Nigerians.

She however urges NIRA to  broaden its scope in creating  awareness such that more Nigerians will see reason why they need to own a .ng domain

In his submission, Deacon Chinma Onyekwere, Chairman of Board of Trustees of NIRA says that, ”we are passionate about local content development and we believe that great ideas begin with a simple inspiration.”

According to NIRA BoT Chairman, ”with our passion in mind, we will launch the NIRA.ng selfie and animation competition to create compelling local content that inspire. We encourage Nigerians to take advantage of the opportunities offered by these competition.”

Onyekwere says that the domain name system industry is a revenue generator with abundant business opportunities in the .ng domain industry.

”We request that all Nigerians join in the noble act of promoting our businesses, culture heritage and our economy online, by promoting .ng”, he adds.

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Kolade Akinola Technology Journalist at Technology Times Mobile: + 234 (0) 807 401 6027