The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has said that over 100 million Nigerians are excluded from the benefits of the internet, thereby limiting their access to interventions through financial institutions, exclusion from the national identity database among others.
The Centre said that there is a need for a citizen-driven national policy for sustainable community networks to bridge the digital divide in Nigeria.
The Coordinator, Nigerian School of Community Networks, Haruna Adamu Hadejia at a press conference in Lagos on the need for a citizen-driven national policy for sustainable community networks to bridge the digital divide in Nigeria, said by government statistics, only about half of Nigerians have access to the internet.
“This means that within the country, an estimated population of 100 million people is already left behind and excluded from the benefits of the internet,” he said.
He noted that people especially those at the community level often lose many opportunities provided especially access to loans or other facilities while those in rural areas where internet infrastructure is lacking find it difficult to be enrolled in the database of the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC.
The centre called on the minister of communication and digital economy to ensure full implementation of the draft National Policy on Community Networks while urging private sector operators to see community networks as complimentary, and not as competitors.
An associate professor of Journalism, Dr Tunde Akanni, explained that Nigeria loses millions of naira every year over its inability to connect more people to the internet.\