Why Government ‘banned hosting of websites outside Nigeria’

Why Government ‘banned hosting of websites outside Nigeria’

Why Government ‘banned hosting of websites outside Nigeria’

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Federal Government stopped hosting of public sector websites outside Nigeria to grow the local tech sector; official documents seen by Technology Times have shows.

National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the nation’s IT sector regulatory agency, had hinted that it is reviewing rules mandating government institutions to host their websites locally.

The tech agency says the local hosting rules derive from the Governance Framework for the implementation of the Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in Information and Communications Technology (ICT). The guidelines were also “intended to serve as NITDA’s guiding principles on Local Content Development governance.”

Except with the express approval of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the nation’s top public servant and NITDA, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have been prohibited from hosting their websites outside Nigeria.

Technology Times checks show that the Federal Government rule on domestication of website hosting and data has attracted mixed reactions while the compliance levels have also been marginal among MDAs. Market analysts also reckon that the government rules will unlock growth for local players in the web hosting and data space.

Except with the express approval of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the nation’s top public servant and NITDA, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have been prohibited from hosting their websites outside Nigeria.

Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)
Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)

NITDA has lately said that it is pushing forward to ensure compliance with several IT rules with plans to enforce stricter compliance with existing guidelines, standards and other policies of government hoped to grow local technology capacity and industry.

Under the local content rules, MDAs are to “ensure that all government data is hosted locally inside the country within 18 months from the publication of these guidelines.”

The MDAs are also to ensure that “reasonable care is taken to adequately secure the data and information of government and civil service that is created, transferred and stored in digital formats.”

The guidelines also task MDAs with responsibility to “promote as mandatory the presence of system logs and other computer data logging technologies to aid in the effective troubleshooting and forensic investigation of events in government and civil service systems.”

Under the guidelines, Data and Information Management service providers are also expected to host government data locally within Nigeria and “shall not for any reason host any government data outside the country without an express approval from NITDA and the SGF.”

Sunday Folayan, President of Nigeria Internet Registration Association of Nigeria (NIRA) seen at a display of Nigeria's .ng Internet domain name in Lagos
Sunday Folayan, President of Nigeria Internet Registration Association of Nigeria (NIRA) seen at a display of Nigeria’s .ng Internet domain name in Lagos

In what is also seen as a key effort to drive up uptake of Nigeria’s Internet domain name, the .ng, service providers are also expected to sell and market the online resource under standards set by local managers, the Nigeria Internet Registration Association. The .ng domain name is also the only domain name allowed for hosting official government websites in Nigeria.

On its part, the nation’s IT industry regulator is expected to promote and support local data hosting firms and also set appropriate service level requirements and standards for data service provisioning for such firms.

NITDA is to “work with respective institutions to design and determine data formats and interchange standards across all levels of government and between various departments.”

The tech agency will also promote awareness of appropriate data formats, database technologies, computer security and other data and information technologies that will be used by the government and the civil service “in order to achieve the right degree of security.”

NITDA is also to work with the National Copyright Commission (NCC) towards the implementation of the treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), which is one of the 17 specialised agencies of the United Nations created in 1967 “to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world” Locally, NITDA is tasked with the responsibility to work with NCC to drive the local adaptation of specific provisions of WIPO in Nigeria.

Technology Times Reports News and reports from Technology Times Newsroom

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