We begin this week's blog round-up with Timbaland‘s entry about Nigeria Internet Exchange.
It so happens that I desire to create an Internet utopia in Nigeria. I have a dream of providing Internet access to every Nigerian citizen. This became stronger when I was having a discussion with a friend yesterday and in our discussion, we identified that there are a lot of problems that could be solved.
I have fallen into the temptation (many times) of wanting to solve all these problems. Today, I might decide it’s going to be web applications – I mean lots of Nigerians are going online these days and there is not enough local content and so I think being a web developer will help solve this problem. Tomorrow, I identify that lots of Nigerians have Internet-enabled mobile phones and there’s lots of applications that can be built upon this platform. Honestly speaking, I will probably list about 20 or so problems that I can solve but to make any significant difference, I will require focus.
He goes on to highlight the main problem facing Nigerian Internet users today:
A lot of Nigeria’s local traffic still goes outside before it finally comes back. If you’ve ever used a VoIP application before and were trying to make a call to a Nigerian destination, although you’re even in the same state as the destination you’re calling, you will still experience serious latency; let’s not even talk about network gaming – with the current structure, it makes little or no sense for all those fast-paced games.
He concludes by offering a solution:
The solution to this problem is undoubtedly to create an Internet exchange point. Last year, I was made aware of discussions amongst ISPs to interconnect and I was glad today to find the Nigeria Internet Exchange web site. The site is really informative and I’m impressed by the fact that they’ve done a good job in really letting you know how to interconnect and the procedures required to do so. This will come in handy when creating the Nigerian Internet utopia. For now, I’ve gotten no suitable name and oh I’m reading up on IPV6.
From ICT, we move to money. Deola Akinyemi declares: Money – The More you Look, The More you See
Just about a month ago, when I wrote the article on Nospetco, Hazonwao, Wealthzone, Uphenry and other high return investments in Nigeria, the key thing on my mind was sharing information, creating awareness and sensitizing people. I have gotten a lot of thank you mails to this effect, and I thought I had done a good job. Little did I know however, that I was the one who would benefit the most from this enlightenment gesture.
I have always known that the hand that pours water on others cannot be dry. I had also known that the hand that pushes others up, cannot be down, but I have been shocked at how much information I have also come to gather in the course of providing information to you. In the course of the last one month I have come to hear about many more investment and money making schemes in Nigeria. Some of them, I’m still researching, and some I have decided to plunge in head on as well. There is one where you invest N6,000 and earn up to 2.5Million Naira in one year, that is worth trying as the risk is very low and it’s a banks product. There is another where you invest N70,000 and get the opportunity of earning about N300,000 and diamonds within 2-3months depending on you. I also got information about another where you invest a fixed amount and earn up to 30% per month, and yet another with over 200% returns in 8 weeks. I can’t contain them all in one post, but check out this two, and watch out for the others in future posts.
We switch gears and travel with Chippla's weblog, as the author blogs about the capital city of Nigeria in a post titled “On Abuja“:
The Nigerian capital city of Abuja is something of an oddity. Conceived in the mid 1970s and built from scratch on land obtained by the Federal government of Nigeria, Abuja is the next best thing to Lagos when one speaks of cosmopolitan Nigerian cities. In reality though, Abuja is very different from Lagos. While the latter is heavily congested and suffers from infrastructural decay, the former, it appears, has managed to blossom, maintaining a sense of decorum and orderliness that can hardly be found in any other large Nigerian city.
Unlike Lagos, Abuja enjoys the status of ‘federal capital.’ This was the status held by Lagos from October 1960 till December 1991. Having the status of federal capital directly translates to the allocation of extra funds from the public purse to maintain existing infrastructure and build new ones. Thus, today in Abuja, one finds residential buildings, roads and flyovers being constructed (albeit at a rather slow pace) for a ‘befitting’ federal capital city. The city of Abuja could rightly be described as a huge construction project, which still has a long way to go. Worn down structures and road signs are regularly replaced—in contrast to what one often finds in other Nigerian cities.
Chippla then goes on to highlight other features of Nigeria's capital city and offers an advice for the government of Nigeria:
By law, the current Abuja administration, headed by Mr. Nasir El-Rufai (who is also called ‘Mr. Demolition Man’ for ordering the demolition of illegal structures and buildings in Abuja, even those owned by powerful and once untouchable politicians) will be out of office in May 2007. The next Nigerian government must appoint people who at least have the guts of Mr. El-Rufai to manage the capital city. Going by the records of Mr. El-Rufai's predecessors, the making or breaking of Abuja largely rests on the individuals who govern it.
Yomi Says – a blog about web and mobility, the church, Work & Business, and life in general – highlights the fact that a private telecom operator (PTO) in Nigeria is now offering a special range of phone numbers that are not locked to a specific geographical part of Nigeria: Multi-links first PTO to launch Unified Licence numbers
Last week, private telecommunications operator, Multi-links launched its Unified Licence numbers. Customers with these numbers will be able to use their Multi-links phones in all parts of the country where there is Multi-links network coverage. The new numbers start with 07027.
Existing customers may migrate to the new numbering plan or retain their old numbers.
With service availability in over 6 cities including: Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Ilorin, Ijebu-ode and Sagamu, and the new national roaming facilities, Multi-links is gradually closing the gap between itself and the GSM boys.
While it certainly is a wide gap, it is worth cheering still. Starcomms and Multi-links seem to be doing a good job in leading the PTO pack. For subscribers, its better days ahead. Very soon we should be able to ask, who needs a GSM phone?
Election time is near in Nigeria, and Oro blogs about one of the aspiring presidential candidates: When A Professor Endorses Another:
Yesterday, in Lagos, Prof. Wole Soyinka publicly endorsed Prof. Pat Utomi and announced him political party’s support for the other Professor. While I am not too surprised by the much-awaited endorsement, I am not ignorant of the weight it lends to the candidacy of Prof. Pat Utomi. Over the last few years, Prof. Soyinka has established himself as a leading social crusader with both national respect and global influence, and his warnings about the political environment have always been taken seriously by both sides of the equation. So strong are his public comments that some not-so-smart paid public servants spend our tax-money trying to unravel the words of this igilango Oyinbo. Simply put, Prof. Soyinka’s endorsement of Prof. Utomi goes to show that like minds think alike, and that there are more forces for the good of Nigeria than there are against.
If the insurgency in the Nigeria oil rich Niger-delta is allowed to continue unresolved, it will cumulate into a catastrophic event of epic proportions with dire consequences on the socioeconomic and political stability of the nation. This is not a dooms-day prophesy, or a forecast that requires some complicated regression analysis; it’s simple common-sense.
The following paragraphes however, convey the crux of the matter:
It’s getting seriously irritating to read about hostages been taken and released every other day. How much has been paid as ransom since the bandits perfected this scam-strategy? Where does the funds come from, and whose pockets does it go? I suspect a cabal runs these militia and it’s quietly profiting from the scams at the detriment of all Nigerians, particularly the innocent indigenes of the Niger-delta.
It’s long overdue for the respective governors and state assemblies of the militia-prone regions to be challenged for their complacency. In fact, they should be investigated; I won’t be surprised if they have strong ties with the Niger-delta militia after all.
Still in the Niger Delta, Black Looks blogs about US Marines & the Niger Delta:
Recently the National Geographic magazine published a feature piece on the Niger Delta “Curse of the Black Gold: Hope and Betrayal in the Niger Delta”. For those familiar with the issues of the Niger Delta there was really nothing that has not been reported by human rights environmental activists and Human Rights Watch over the past 15 years. What is new and cause for concern is the article “Nigeria and the United States: Convergent Interests” published by the Center for International Policy. A few months back I was contacted via my blog by a US contractor called Carol Chapital asking if I was willing to assist on a project in Nigeria.
We are preparing a study which is required to be reviewed by subject matter experts. Your name was provided as an expert. If your name is inappropriate with the academic subject experts, I apologize for the inconvenience.
The concluding paragraph of this blog entry however, reveals some very interesting statistics:
To put the scale of wealth into perspective and to emphasise the stakes for Nigeria, the US and more recently China, the World Bank reported that 80% of oil wealth is owned by 1% of the population; 70% of private wealth is abroad whilst 3/4 of the country live on about $1 a day – at least 15 million of those live in the Niger Delta (there are estimated 12 million Ijaws – an ethnic group that covers a very broad range of languages and city states)- though as the latest census did not include ethnic origin that number is somewhat arbitrary in 2007). President Obasanjo has made it clear that his policy towards the Niger Delta is to eliminate the militants and subjugate the non-violent movement for self-determination and resource control that started with the late Ken Saro Wiwa. It is therefore not surprising that the US has become directly involved with this Nigeria as part of their overall AFRICOM policy and in Nigeria’s case to protect their petroleum interests. Obasanjo will soon leave but the PDP will no doubt win the elections and realistically the same group of elite forces will continue to run the country so it is highly unlikely that there will be any changes in Nigeria’s relationship with the US.