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The Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) has identified possible causes of the slow adoption of the country's code top level domain name (ccTLD) otherwise known as the dot ng domain name and is taking measures to tackle the challenges.
President of NIRA, Mrs. Mary Uduma, who spoke with THISDAY in Lagos shortly after NIRA's Annual General Meeting (AGM) said: "Issues have been raised at the AGM concerning the challenges that most Nigerians are facing in the adoption of dot ng domain name. We have identified some of the challenges and we are going to address them without delay."
According to her, some of the identified challenges include: arbitrary pricing of the domain name by registrars; fear of insecurity surrounding the hosting and usage of the domain name; and the class status syndrome of most Nigerians that shy away from using the domain name.
Although the dot ng domain name registration grew more than 50 per cent from 10, 000 to over 16, 000 last year, Uduma said the registration figure was not enough compared with the country's population size of over 160 million as well as with the large population of Nigerians that are registered with foreign domain names like .com, .co.uk., .za, .ca, among others.
The Nigerian domain name is the country's identity in the cyberspace, through which people communicate on the internet. Each country is identified with its unique domain name and the hub is built and hosted in the country of origin.
But Nigeria, before now, had no domain name, the reason why several Nigerians have foreign domain names. But NIRA, the body in charge of domain name administration for Nigeria, is making efforts to encourage Nigerians to register with the country's domain name.
Addressing some of the identified challenges, Uduma said the security issues raised, was a thing of perception, insisting there is enough security built around Nigeria's domain name.
“The .ng is as secured as the .com and most of the infrastructure used in running .com is also used in running .ng. So I do not see any reason Nigerians still prefer foreign domain names to our own domain name, that is supposed to identify Nigerians and their mails on the internet,” Uduma said.
NITRA's vice president, Mr. Sunday Afolayan, who also allayed security fears surrounding Nigeria's domain name, said: "Security is a game of protection and we are making efforts in ensuring that our domain name is as secured as foreign domain names."
He, however, explained that no technology is without flaw, noting that the efforts put in place to monitor cyber-attacks and correct them almost immediately, is what really matters.
He therefore, called on Nigerians to have confidence in the Nigerian domain name, assuring them that NITRA is making efforts to address every issue concerning the registration and use of .ng domain name.
With regards to arbitrary pricing, Uduma assured Nigerians that NIRA would work closely with all registrars to address the issue.
Commending Nigerians that have already registered with .ng domain name, Uduma said the total number of those registered is improving by the day, but not yet encouraging.
“The figure is not much but it is an improvement and that is the reason why we are coming up with some interventions that will encourage more Nigerians to register. We want every category of Nigerian both the low and high class, to register with the country's domain name,”Uduma said.
She added, "We need more awareness campaign. Last year we had the Switch to .ng Campaign where we targeted government officials and that campaign compelled government to issue a directive that all government staff must register with the dot ng domain name. That alone helped in boosting the registration exercise but we are not there yet and we need more Nigerians to register with .ng domain name. We have accredited several registrars and they are out there registering people."