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NITDA pantami
Director general of NITDA, Dr. Isa pantami

NITDA opens up on diverted Microsoft’s $30bn data centre investment to S/Africa

The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr Isa Ali Pantami has for the first time, made reference to the sad news of the diversion of Microsoft Data Centre investment worth $30bn from Nigeria to South Africa.

Business Hilights had reported the foreign direct investment diversion few weeks ago and the two key reasons given by the US based group for the relocation.

According to Microsoft, the idea to relocate the investment to South Africa is because Nigeria lacked the needed infrastructure backbone and manpower to drive the multibillion dollar investment which was planned to serve the sub-Saharan African market.

However, while advocating for the local hosting of data, Pantami said recent event that made Microsoft to establish a data centre in South Africa is regrettable.

He also assured that NITDA is working assiduously to forestall future occurrence of such huge investment diversion.

According to NITDA boss, “We are seriously putting in place a strong data protection policy that would put a stop to such action. It will also aim at motivating service providers to host data locally. The issue of Data sovereignty is also critical; we are talking with some Ministries Departments Agencies (MDAs) to bring back their data to Nigeria. Some of them have come to our office and we gave them time frame to achieve this because it is secure, reliable and available for us to host our data locally”.

Pantami who paid a visit to the Galaxy Backbone Headquarters in Abuja recently, expressed dismay at the non utilisation of the Nigeria Internet Service Point (NISP) which was created for proper regulation of internet services in the country.

According to him, the poor usage of NISP gave room for many illegal online news, radio and television stations across the country which had been wreaking havoc through the circulation of hate speeches and allied offerings to the Nigerian populace.

The DG submitted that “It is our collective responsibility to respect the NISP in order to coordinate the activities of internet usage in the country. Many illegal online radio and television stations that have sprung up today were due to non utilisation of this point.  Most of these online radio and television stations are being abused; use to canvass for agitations and causing disunity in the country.”

“Recently, we got report from some Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) complaining of poor quality of service and as the regulator of ICT in the country, I personally issued a press release on this and we are hoping that service would soon improve.

The NITDA boss called for service improvement on the part of the service providers, especially Galaxy backbone and urged the company to prevail on other service providers to adopt various policies of NITDA in the discharge of their services.

Continuing, he said it has now become more compelling for the two organisations to strengthen the existing relationship between them because of the very wide scope of ICT sector, adding that no agency can do it alone.

Pantami added further that “We need to support each other, strengthen our relationship and advise ourselves on how to move the industry forward to enable us deliver on our mandate”.

Responding, the Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone, Mr. Yusuf Kazaure agreed that there is still a lot to be done in the Nigerian ICT sector and only collaboration with related agencies like NITDA and other stakeholders will the desired results.

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