Business Hilights
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Why MDAs are avoiding .gov.ng domain contrary to NITDA’s directive

More facts have emerged on why over 35 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are yet to run on .gov.ng domain, but continue on .ng, .com and .org.

Before now, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said any government agency or ministry not running its website on Nigerian domain name, .gov.ng, will be blacklisted.

Dr Ali Isa Ibrahim Pantami, NITDA director general in a statement made available in Abuja, added that most of the agencies still run their websites on generic top level domain (gTLD).

Though the DG said he has observed the disregard to the use of .gov.ng domain in transaction of government business despite previous warning by MDAs, analysts say the fact remains that hooking on .gov.ng will deny the MDAs, the right of hosting their sites abroad.

Research shows that several credible foreign web hosting firms hardly entertain sites that are country-attached like .gov.ng.

Besides, further investigations also revealed websites hosted aboard perform faster and are more secured with no down time and other inconveniences of updates, hanging and accessibility.

Not considering the above, NITDA is insisting that the agency would henceforth ensure strict compliance stressing that government business transactions should be carried out in the country’s code top level domain of the Nigerian government (ccTLD.ng)

Dr. Pantami averred that “Furthermore, .gov.ng domain names are free with no rental or renewal cost attached. We therefore call on all MDAs and service providers to support government on the scale on the scale of ease of doing business.”

Checks by Business Hilights show that in the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, about two government establishments have not adopted the gov.ng domain name. They are the Nigerian Television Authority and the News Agency of Nigeria.

Others, such as the Voice of Nigeria, Nigerian Film Corporation, and the National Orientation Agency that appear to have adopted the gov.ng domain name are not accessible through the websites.

The Federal Ministry of Education has the highest number of parastatals – 12 – that still maintain the old domain names.

Details gathered by Business Hilights from the Government Domain Name Policy showed that “all Government Websites must use .gov.ng exclusively”.

“The above naming Policy applies to all Government Websites irrespective of where they are hosted. Also based on the extant rules as stipulated in the Regulatory Guidelines for Nigeria Content Development of 2013, all Government Services and Websites must be hosted in Standards and Guidelines for Government Websites.,

Section 2.2.3 of the Guidelines for choosing a Domain name says that “NIRA has set out Domain Name naming convention as contained in www.nira.org.ng with much clarity. Government Institutions with complex names that cannot easily conform to NIRA’s policy documents should choose a suitable domain name that is not at gross variance to the basic naming convention policy of NIRA. Such selected names shall as much as possible to reflect the

names or brand to which the name is chosen for.

“A set of guidelines for selecting a suitable domain name to align with the overall policy on registrations of domains under the Top Level Domain (TLD) for

Government (.gov.ng) is given below:

  1. Choose a single short name that establishes the identity of the Government Institution or Service, provided that the name is not a common/generic name shared by two or more Government Institutions or Services (e.g. Communication, Education, Defence).
  2. Choose abbreviations that are easy to remember (nitda.gov.ng, buk.edu.ng, navy.mil.ng). This is more appropriate for Institutions or Services that are not temporary in nature.

iii. Prefix or suffix D or M (to denote Department or Ministry) and insert

O (to denote of) within an abbreviation to make it more memorable (e.g. moe.gov.ng)

  1. Use shortened forms where acceptable (e.g. meteor – meteorology, exams – examinations)
  2. When there are unrelated/multiple subjects assigned to a department, choose the most important or well-known subject (which is less likely to change) for the domain name (department of intergovernmental affairs – intergovernmental.gov.ng)
  3. In case of States and Local Government Institutions where the area name is longer, shorten it in a meaningful and memorisable manner.

vii. Dash or underscore is not recommended.

viii. Characters like $, @, % etc. are not allowed and shall not be used.

2.2.4 Procedure for Registering a Domain Name

“All Government Institutions that wish to register domain names shall submit their applications to National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for. gov.ng domains and to Galaxy Backbone Limited (GBB) for .mil.ng and  Standards and Guidelines for Government Websites.