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LAGOS, NIGERIA.     Friday, February 21 2003

 

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Nigeria to dump .com for .ng as domain name
By Sonny Aragba-Akpore, Communications Correspondent)

NIGERIA seems set for higher grounds in the information superhighway, with the disclosure yesterday that it will soon bid bye to the ".com" domain name, for a home-administered nomenclature, "ng".

It was thumbs-up for the licensed administrators for the project, the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), which said at a press briefing that the infrastructure for the domain-name had now been completed.

In effect, all corporate organisations and individuals whose websites on the internet end with ".com" will soon have their names changed to .ng.

The project, coming to fruition seven years after it was conceived, will result in cheaper and faster connectivity to the internet.

The NIG is a non-governmental and non-profit organisation, licensed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to administer the domain name. It has the chief executive of Zenith International Bank, Mr. Jim Ovia as president, a computer guru Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem as vice president. NCC's chief executive, Ernest Ndukwe and former communications minister, Chief Olawale Ige are members.

Ovia told journalists at the press conference that with the completion of the infrastructure, Nigeria would soon host its Top Level Domain (TLD) name, required for the change.

Currently, all websites in Nigeria are hosted abroad by other countries' TLDs, the suffix for every website hosted by individual organisations in such countries.

Nigeria's late entry into the information superhighway has been blamed for inability to have a TLD for nearly eight years when commercial internet made its entry.

The NIG, which was licensed in 1996 has lived on bad times as it lacked the funds and human resources to acquire the necessary equipment to host the TLD.

Ovia said the organisation is now ready to host a Nigerian TLD in Lagos to serve the interest of all Nigerians. All current and future websites will then fly the Nigerian flag as their servers will now be hosted in Lagos and not abroad.

Ovia, said his bank committed about N35 million to put the infrastructure in place.

As a prelude to the final flag off ceremony, Ekuwem, and NIG's executive secretary, Muywa Laleye will be in Geneva, Switzerland between March 3 and 4 to attend an International Telecommunications Union (ITU) "Workshop on Member State Experience with Country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs).

The NIG has also opened talks with the New York-based Internet Cooperation for Assigned Numbers and Name (ICANN) for effective transition of the old names of websites to the new ones ending with .ng, the Nigerian TLD.

ICANN is the administrators of all domain names on the Internet.

"We will sort out all the documentation with the ITU and ICANN before we announced an effective date for take off of the new domain name," Ekuwem told The Guardian after the press conference.

Ovia conducted reporters round the equipment, located at the NCC Lagos liaison office complex on Saka Tinubu Street, Victoria Island.

They included Very Small Aperture Terminal (V. SAT) equipment for primary internet link, Radio equipment for back up Internet link, Cisco firewalls and switches for Wide Area Network (WAN) and Security, Compaq servers to run the required .ng TLD services as primary and back up, generator, Uniterruptible Power Supply (UPS), inventers for necessary power back up.

Ovia explained that under the licence granted by the NCC, government recognised the NIG as the sole body to manage the domain name in the country, adding that the actualisation of the objective is near because of the infrastructure put in place and the near conclusion of talks with relevant global bodies for the domain name registration and administration.

He said that the domain name would make access to the Internet cheaper and more affordable, adding that the NIG would flag off a "Youth Empowerment Programme through digital revolution" schedule for the University of Lagos March 5 to 6.

The conference is aimed at sensitizing the youth on digital revolution as a veritable outlet to growth and development.

 

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