The federal government has been advised to explore the abundant opportunities of the Internet to further develop the country and empower Nigerian youths.
The advice was given by technology stakeholders at a two-day Nigeria Internet Governance Forum held in Lagos Tuesday this week.
Stakeholders urged the federal government to come up with strategic programme for youth development especially as it relates to the internet. Internet access, they said, remained key to national development and an enabler for job creation.
Internet goes beyond social platform, but could be used for business development and wealth creation if properly harnessed, they said collectively.
Speaking on the untapped benefits of the Internet by the Nigerian youths, the former Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Prof Cleopas Angaye, said there was need for information technology stakeholders to discuss on the responsive use of open and abundant opportunities that are available on the net and also chat new avenues for Nigerian youths that would require a proper guidance on the right use of the internet due to its pervasive nature.
Angaye equally challenged Nigerian youths to explore new Internet application that would offer rich digital experiences on the go.
African Regional Coordinator, Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), Mrs. Nnenna Nwankanma, said it would be out of place for any youth to play on the Internet instead of making the best out of it considering the high cost of bandwidth in the country.
Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah, who was represented by the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services at NCC, Usman Maska, said government is aware of the importance of the Internet for national development, insisting that every resolution reached at the forum would form part of the discussion for the forthcoming African Internet Governance Forum holding in Abuja this year.
Speaking on the theme of the forum, "Harnessing Multi-stakeholders' Framework for Internet Governance and Economic Growth", the Minister of Communications Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson, who was represented by her Senior Special Assistant on Information Technology, Mr. Ola Ogunneye, said government remained committed to Internet development, especially among the Nigerian youths.
The minister said that her ministry in the last three years has focused on facilitating a universal access to communication infrastructure, promoting the utilisation of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in all spheres of life, as well as promoting and facilitating the development of the ICT sector and its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
"Already, our efforts are yielding results as depicted by the recent figures, which show that 63 million Nigerians now connect to the Internet through the major telecoms networks," Johnson said.