THE National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has established over 228 Rural Information Technology Centres (RITCs) across the nation in a bid to spur Internet usage and make Nigerians more digitally inclined.
NITDA disclosed that many of the RITCs are located in the rural areas of the country, which is in a bid to reach both the un-served and under-served areas of the country in line with the country’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the International Telecommunication Union directive.
The RITCs, according to NITDA were established between 2007 and 2012 in all the geopolitical zones and the agency plans to take the RITCs to all the 774 local government headquarters of the country in the years ahead.
According to information received from NITDA at the weekend over 116 of the RITCs were located in the Northern part of the country, while about 112 have been established in the Southern part of the country.
The deployment of RITCs across the nation is part of the MDGs and NITDA’s target objective of providing Internet access to the undeserved communities.
Director General of the NITDA, Professor Cleopas Angaye said the idea behind the RITCs is government’s response toward providing access to the rural populace across Nigeria and making them an integral part of the new global economy driven by ICT.
“Nigerians who reside in the rural communities cannot be neglected in any meaningful citizen-centred programme”, Angaye said.
Indeed, the deployment of the RITCs, according to Angaye has contributed in boosting Internet usage from 2,418,679 users in 2005 to an estimated number of about 10 million users in 2008 and over 44 million internet users in 2012, thereby, positioning Nigeria as one of the fastest growing internet users in sub-Saharan Africa.
It is expected that Internet users will reach 70 million by 2015 and NITDA hopes that the various RITCs being deployed across the nation will help push the level of usage in the years ahead, Angaye said.
Also NITDA is successfully pursuing two ICT incubation centres to facilitate software development in the country. The centres are in Lagos and Cross River State. It is hoped that the incubation centres will create 25 successful ICT businesses by 2015.
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