NIGERIA | Federal Government Services Portal vanishes from cyberspace

NIGERIA | Federal Government Services Portal vanishes from cyberspace

NIGERIA | Federal Government Services Portal vanishes from cyberspace

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The Federal Government Services Portal (GSP) created to provide an online central access to government services in Nigeria has disappeared from the Internet, Technology Times checks have revealed today.

Technology Times investigation reveals that the portal on www.services.gov.ng has mysteriously disappeared closing access to public sector services like education, immigration, health and others accessible from the online hub.

The GSP which was launched a few years ago by Ministry of Communication Technology was envisioned to offer a converged hub for citizens to access government services under a broader e-government plan to “get government online.”

“The Government services Portal (GSP) www.services.gov.ng– The portal facilitates citizens to avail fully online services offered by the Federal government and MDA’s (sic). With this portal Citizens can access Government services through the internet without visiting any government office”, says a message seen this morning on the website of the Ministry of Communications (formerly named Ministry of Communication Technology), which oversees the information and communication technology (ICT) industry in Nigeria and also serves as custodian of the GSP platform.

“Four years after the GSP project came alive; Nigeria is home to 145,350,702 active phone connections and over 91,565,010 Internet subscribers have grown the nation’s local online community seen as target for the single access hub to government services.”

Screenshot of the Government Services Portal of Nigeria as seen in the archive record of Internet Archive Wayback Machine on June 3, this year.
Missing…Screenshot of the Government Services Portal of Nigeria as seen in the archive record of Internet Archive Wayback Machine on June 3, this year.

According to the Ministry, the “wide range of services” available through the GSP opens online access to services from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies like MDA’s like National Immigration Service, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Trade and Investment, Federal Road safety Commission, Federal Ministry of Health and Federal Ministry of Communications.

Dr Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology, who oversaw the creation of the GSP that was launched on her watch, had then promised at the project launch that it will take government services online and make them easily available to Nigerians.

Technology Times file photo shows Dr Omobola Johnson while she was Minister of Communication Technology of Nigeria. She would have been unimpressed with the alleged breach of right-of-way agreement by State Governors in the country
What would she think of GSP disappearance? Technology Times file photo shows Dr Omobola Johnson when she was Minister of Communication Technology of Nigeria.

When the ex- Minister of Communication Technology launched the GSP four years ago in Abuja as part of the initiatives for ‘Getting Government Online’’, her assurance was that the one-stop-shop will to improve service delivery to citizens and other stakeholders.

Johnson said the portal is one of the flagship projects of the Ministry to let Nigerians access government services efficiently at the click of a button.

According to her, the GSP developed out of the outcome of a United Nations (UN) survey of 48 countries on Innovative e-Government Practices that showed that citizen service delivery is topmost on the government innovative technology adoption all over the world.

The Minister at the times also said that e-Government offers not just a new technology, but also a mechanism to transform the way government operates when she cited examples of government service portals like USA (www.usa.gov), Britain (www.gov.uk), Canada (servicecanada.gc.ca), India (www.deity.gov.in), Singapore (www.ecitizen.gov.sg), South Africa (www.services.gov.za), Kenya (www.e-government.go.ke), among others.

Four years after the GSP project came alive; Nigeria is home to 145,350,702 active phone connections and over 91,565,010 Internet subscribers have grown the nation’s local online community seen as target for the single access hub to government services.

When Technology Times investigators clicked buttons this morning to discover more about the mysterious disappearance of Nigeria’s GSP, Internet records obtained from the archived record of Internet Archive Wayback Machine reveals that the website was last seen on June 3, this year. The GSP may have suffered a similar fate like Nigeria’s official gateway which also disappeared from the Internet for several years.

Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Commuications
Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Commuications

Internet checks also reveal that the Federal Ministry of Communications Technology which listed as the Registrant Organisation is also the Administrative Organisation for the GSP domain name, www.services.gov.ng. Galaxy Backbone, the government technology services company, serves as the Sponsoring Registrar.

The GSP online outage comes amid a key concern by Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the nation’s IT sector regulatory agency, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, who has identified failure to consider “our peculiar problems is one of the reasons that IT projects fail in the country.”

Pantami stated that, many laudable IT projects fail because “we do not give priority to our peculiar needs before deploying most of our IT solutions.”

Money down the drain: The Federal IT regulator at NITDA cited the case of whopping sum of $470 million Nigeria invested in the Close Circuit Television, (CCTV) project which has now become moribund as a typical examples adding that as “a people we need to think globally and act locally”

Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)
Worried about ‘failed’ IT projects…Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)

The Federal IT regulator at NITDA cited the case of whopping sum of $470 million Nigeria invested in the Close Circuit Television, (CCTV) project which has now become moribund as a typical examples adding that as “a people we need to think globally and act locally”

Meanwhile, the DG who was speaking on the backdrop of the Nokia’s visit to the Agency’s Corporate Headquarters also informed the meeting that the country is not ripe for smart city projects, according to a press statement issued by the government IT agency.

According to the NITDA DG, “Smart city is very critical to our collective development as a nation but it should not be seen as our immediate priority. Our immediate priority is to see the advancement of capacity building, digital literacy and creation of hubs across of the country where IT startups could be incubated.”

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

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