Internet development in Nigeria is receiving some hard knocks as a result of
certain mistakes in the past. A consortium of foreign (American companies)
operating in Nigeria represented by Ambassador Mills found its way into
influencing the national blueprint for development. This document is called
Vision 2010. In the said document, the government of Nigeria (GON) agreed to
privatize major industries including telecommunication. But the more
important point is that it also agreed to sell 40% of equity to foreign
firms. The IMF incorporated this interest in its memorandum of understanding
with Nigeria signed in February last year. As this was happening, it was
discovered that five countries: Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and
the USA, through the Echelon project was spying on other nations using GSM
and other satellite-based technologies. So the question immediately shifted
from purely technical issues to strategic/security issues.
In a bid to reassure Nigerians, the president mandated that the whole
privatization process be redesigned. In addition, he appointed a former UN
(Vienna) staff as presidential adviser on Space Science and Technology as a
way to forestall creating holes in the nation's telecomm infrastructure.
This gentleman was appointed just about a month ago. So you can understand
why GSM is being considered with caution while the analog telephone system,
the usual portable telephone is being strengthened. We have valid security
concerns, especially developing countries that have to import software and
technologies to run their systems. It is not an easy task but efforts (some
of them known to this writer) are being made to streamline the situation and
clear the mess past regimes created in the country.
I hope this helps. If you have any specific questions, I will be glad to
find out and let you know provided it is not of classified nature, in which
case I will not even have access to it.
> I had a look at the site recommended by Sunday Folayan of the
> communications regulator in Nigeria, and found information pertaining to
> the 1999 conference on internet use in that country.
> There were a number of recommendations made to improve internet useage.
> Have any of those recommendations been implemented? For example,
> privitization of gov't telecommuniation companies.
> V. Bruce
> >> Secondly, I would like to know if, apart from NITEL, there already
> exists private telecom. companies in Nigeria, who they are, what they do
> and what system they use. Thank you ever so much.