Monday, 1 October 2012

CommTech Minister rues Cynthia’s Facebook murder, canvasses beneficial use of internet by Nigerians

Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communications Technology, has continued to mourn the gruesome murder of Nassarawa State University post-graduate student, late Cynthia Osokogu, lured to a Lagos hotel on July 22 and murdered by her Facebook friends.
So also did the CommTech Minister commiserate with the family of the hapless victim as well as others who have suffered from abuse of the internet to perpetrate fraud and other criminal activities.
Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communications Technology, tells the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum that, “Indeed, we mourn and commiserate with the family of Cynthia Osokogu and all those that have suffered at the hands of people that use the Internet for criminal activities. We all – government, the private sector and civil society – have responsibilities in ensuring that the beneficial uses of the Internet far outweigh its manipulations to cause harm.”
However, as Johnson put it to participants at the Nigerian Internet Governance Forum held in Abuja this week, such few extreme aberrations should not blur the big picture about the enormous benefits the internet imparts to the way the interconnected world lives, works, plays, learns, profits, governs and communicates.
“The government, private sector and civil society have responsibilities in ensuring that the beneficial uses of the internet far outweigh its manipulations to cause harm,” the Minister told attendees at the event.
Moreover, she reminded that the professionals, the Internet Governance Forum and other professionals’ decisions have a major impact on the deployment of technologies, products, services and the application of ICTs to solve problems in the country.
“In Nigeria, we care about our freedom to seek, receive, impart and use information, especially when it relates to the creation, accumulation and dissemination of knowledge.  We also care about insecurity, (cyber)crime, piracy and spam as well as the security and stability of Internet infrastructure.  These cares often find expression as competing concerns: it is the responsibility of all professional fora to search for consensus, to be representative, allowing for views from each stakeholder ‘community,’ as well as neutral – that is, open to all participants, irrespective of their origin”, she adds.
According to her, statistics show that an estimated 33 per cent of the world’s population currently use the internet including some 13.5 per cent of Africans connected to their counterparts on the global computer network.
Also, the rate at which Africans’ using internet is increasing rapidly.  For the decade to 2011, the number of Africans who used the internet grew by almost 3,000 per cent.  For instance, as at December 2011, 45 million Nigerians used the internet at least once, up from a mere 200,000 at December, 2000, she adds.
The CommTech Minister notes that the internet has been used as a medium to perpetrate heinous crimes and distribute falsehoods but such infractions should not diminish the broad scope for its successful deployment for the benefit of mankind.
The rueful Johnson said to attendees at NIGF that, “Indeed, we mourn and commiserate with the family of Cynthia Osokogu and all those that have suffered at the hands of people that use the Internet for criminal activities. We all – government, the private sector and civil society – have responsibilities in ensuring that the beneficial uses of the Internet far outweigh its manipulations to cause harm.”

SOURCE: TECHNOLOGYTIMESNG

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