The 9th edition of the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum 2020 (NIGF-2020) with the theme “Achieving Inclusive Digital Economic Development in the post-COVID-19 Era” was held recently in Abuja. This year’s edition was held virtually due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Musa Istifanus, chaired this year’s first-ever virtual edition of the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum (vNIGF).
In his address, the Permanent Secretary stated that he was convinced that the activities of the forum are germane in no small measure to the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and would also afford him the opportunity to listen and learn from the various experts that would be present at this year’s event.
Istifanus added that while Countries all over the world are actively creating and fostering transformational innovation on how to remain in business during this period of COVID-19, the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and its Agencies are well ahead of time by creating an enabling environment for Public and Private Sector of the economy to thrive through the launching of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020-2030 being the roadmap for the implementations of the National Economy and Strategy Development as well as the National Broadband Plan 2020-2030.
He noted that this year’s edition is being held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic and this has demonstrated that the whole world can be connected as an indication that “we are leveraging digital technologies to cushion the effect of the pandemic”.
He emphasized that the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy has been a key Stakeholder in the Internet Governance Ecosystem since 2012 when the NIGF was formed and each year, the Ministry partners key stakeholders in hosting the National IGF to strengthen Nigeria’s position towards the annual Regional and Global IGFs.
While urging participants of the event to accord priority to the deliberations which outcome would pave the way to accelerating the delivery of Government Policies and to achieving inclusive digital Economic development in the post COVID-19 era, he commended the wisdom displayed by the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) for organizing the pre-NIGF event tagged “Women IGF” with the theme “women, COVID-19 and the Internet” and the youths for participating in the Youth IGF programme with the theme “Shaping a Resilient Internet for Societal Sustainability”.
Corroborating the Permanent Secretary’s view on leveraging the COVID-19 era achievement on digital economy development, the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, represented by the Director, eGovernment Development and Regulation, Dr. Vincent Olatunji said the event is apt in that it presented a new era for which “it is important for the government to ensure that the infrastructure required to keep governance running are on ground and functioning until a time when government organizations fully come on board”.
According to the Director-General, the campaign to move government businesses online has now become a reality. He added that there was no other choice than for the government to deliver its services online which could only be achieved with corporate internet.Abdullahi noted that with the pandemic, working remotely has become the norm in the country and world over. He said, “whether you are a developed or developing nation, public or private sector, you don’t have any choice but to use the internet to deliver on your services”.