The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the government agency responsible for the development, implementation and regulation of Information Technology (IT) policies in Nigeria, in collaboration with the University of Lagos, has commenced the process of raising IT lawyers in the country.
The lawyers would be empowered to drive the implementation of IT policies in Nigeria.
In order to facilitate the objective, NITDA at the weekend in Lagos, signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Lagos.
The Director-General of NITDA, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, signed on behalf of NITDA, while the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, signed on behalf of the university.
According the Pantami, while NITDA would be responsible for selection and sponsorship of the IT Law students at the Masters and Doctorate levels, the university would be responsible for the academic training of the selected students on IT law, ICT law and cybersecurity law.
Pantami, said the move became necessary in order to address the shortage of specialised IT lawyers in the country, who were supposed to implement government policies across the country.
He blamed the non-implementation of the 2006 federal government order on the patronage of locally produced computer hardware and software on lack of sufficient IT lawyers to implement the order, saying the move to build capacity would address such anomalies.
Pantami, however allayed fears that the move would result in witch-hunting of organisations in the government and public sectors who fall short of obeying government orders on IT polices implementation and advised IT Law students to be diligent in their studies and take the opportunity of the sponsorship offered by NITDA very seriously.
Asked why beginning the training with the University of Lagos, Pantami said NITDA could patronise any university in the country on the training, but decided to patronise those that are well established with sufficient training facilities and manpower, whose certificates are well respected within and outside the country.
“It is based on these criteria that we selected the University of Lagos, University of Nigeria and Bayero University, Kano, while beginning the signing of the MoU with the University of Lagos,” Pantami said.
In his response, Ogundipe thanked NITDA for extending the training programme to University of Lagos, which he said, remained the university of first choice, and promised to maintain the programme and offer the students the opportunity to learn better. He pleaded with NITDA to invest in the university’s ICT Centre, brand it and provide more computers for the centre.