2019 Nigerian Youth Internet Governance Forum Communique

Theme: “Internet Governance Policy and Fundamentals”

The launch of the Nigerian Youth Internet Governance Forum (NYIGF) took place on 23 January 2019 at the Center of Information Technology and Systems – CITS, University of Lagos, Lagos State. Inspired by a REN – NRI co-developing model, the initiative will create a platform for Nigerian young people who are passionate about Internet technology to contribute to the development of a healthy Internet ecosystem in Nigeria. The rapid development of the global Internet, emergence of new technologies and the crucial role the network plays in our daily lives, creates a growing need to address the role of the Nigerian young population in determining and contributing to the policies that govern the Internet in Nigeria.

About 100 youth were present for the event including a few who participated remotely. The event participants were mostly undergraduates from Nigerian higher institutions. Young professionals in the ICT sector also participated in the event as both speakers and event attendees. The event welcomed delegates from the Lagos State Ministry of Science and Technology.

With participation and support from the following organizations; Eko-Konnect, WACREN, NIGF, ISOC NG, NITDA, NIRA, University of Lagos, IXPN and Paradigm Initiative, students and young professionals present at the event were able to;

  1. Recognise the role of young people in the global Internet ecosystem
  2. Identify some internet governance issues currently faced in Nigeria and proffer some solutions
  3. Launch the NYIGF website www.youthigf.ng and introduce the NYIGF Ad-hoc steering committee.
  4. Learn about the work being carried out by two Nigerian Internet organizations (NiRA and Internet Society Nigeria Chapter)
  5. Discuss opportunities available for young people in the global Internet ecosystem

The NYIGF participants deliberated on issues relating to Internet governance and made the following contributions:

  1. The role of young people in Internet governance
    • Young people (majorly millennials and generation z) make up a great population of Internet users and contribute to the creation of a large percentage of online data. Hence, they should be involved in enacting laws which determines how this data is managed.
    • Youth are at the forefront of using the Internet as a tool for development, justice and social change in communities. Their advocacy activities promotes the core principles of the network.
  2. Internet Policy
    • The Internet should be kept open rather than restricted. It is a shared global idea and hence should be governed by policies which are formed by deliberations by all Internet stakeholders. These policies should not be rigidly defined but rather be able to accommodate a revision based on the needs of Internet users within a region.
    • Law makers should enact laws which will address the collection and use of personal data of Nigerians
  3. Cybersecurity
    • Youth should be be cautious when giving out their private data online in order to avoid issues relating to identity theft.
  4. Challenges and Opportunities for Human Rights Online
    • Encourage youth to advocate for online freedom of expression in Nigeria which is currently being threatening the recent jailing of journalists.
    • Urge all data collection bodies (governments, schools, churches, banks) to set up data privacy laws which will protect their users data. Data breaches often lead to third party data usage which creates further issues such as unsolicited SMS
    • Encourage and educate the government to not embark on digital rights abuses in Nigeria such as Internet shutdown
  5. Internet for Economic Development
    • Encourage small business to be more technology friendly
    • Advocate for young people to build government IT solutions for economic development in Nigeria and for the government, academia and private sector to create opportunities and platforms for IT projects for start-ups and young people.
    • The Nigerian IPv6 council should drive awareness on IPv6 deployment, its challenges and implementation.
  6. New and Emerging Technologies
    • Recommended that curriculum in higher institutions be updated to include education for technical skills for new and emerging technologies
  7. Opportunities for Youth in the Global Internet Ecosystem
    • Internet stakeholder organisations should come up with more innovative ways to engage young people in Internet governance discussions.
    • Youth were advised to explore fellowship opportunities provided for youth inclusion in Internet governance by some organisations such as AfriNIC, ICANN, ISOC, IETF, IFF and IGF
    • Urge youth to subscribe to Internet stakeholder organizations mailing lists, participate remotely in their public meetings and volunteer for working groups
Next Steps
  1. The NYIGF Ad-hoc steering committee will publish the meeting outcomes and share with Internet governance stakeholders and partners in Nigeria
  2. Online newcomer webinars and campus meetups will be scheduled to raise awareness and provide students and other youth with the principles and basics of Internet governance. The webinar topics will include;
    • History and structure of the global Internet ecosystem,
    • Internet governance terminologies and acronyms
    • Internet actors and stakeholder groups and
    • Internet principles
  3. A discussion will be started on planning for NYIGF participation in the 2019 edition of the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum (NIGF) taking place in July