By Favour Unukaso
COMPUTER Professionals (Registration Council of Nigeria) (CPN) has condemned the proposed NITDA Bill 2021 in its entirety.
CPN delegates, led by the President and Chairman of Council, Kole Jagun, were at the stakeholders engagement, recently organized by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to consider the proposed NITDA Bill 2021 which, among other things, aimed at changing NITDA from an IT Development Agency, to a regulator of the information technology industry ecosystem.
CPN in a statement, yesterday, signed by its Registrar/Secretary to Council, Muhammad Bello Aliyu, said it observed that it was obvious from the comments, suggestions and opinions expressed by all other stakeholders, at the meeting which held in Abuja on February 18, 2022 that the NITDA Bill 2021 arrogates powers of several other regulatory agencies to NITDA, which is an infringement on the statutory powers of other agencies of government like CPN, National Communications Commission (NCC), Galaxy backbone, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), the National Universities Commission (NUC), among others.
The computer professionals claimed that stakeholders, who attended the meeting were unanimous in their opinions that several sections in the proposed NITDA Bill is an usurpation of the statutory powers of other agencies of government that had been in existence before NITDA, and which have been performing their statutory roles.
“For instance, Section 6, 13, 20, 21, and 22, which talked about NITDA’s power, licensing and authorizations, and offences and penalties, among others, raised some pertinent issues.
“Section 6 arrogated new powers to NITDA, which included the ability to fix licensing and authorization charges, collect fees and penalties and issue contravention notices and non-compliance with the Act,” the body stated.
According to CPN, all the agencies present during the stakeholders’ engagement were unanimous in their opinion that all the offending sections of the proposed NITDA Bill, giving NITDA powers to perform other agencies’ functions should be expunged.
CPN said it strongly believe that NITDA should stick to its role as an IT development agency and stop seeking regulatory roles since there is so much that is yet to be done under information technology development in the country.
Commenting on the bill, a telecoms expert, Kehinde Aluko, said the bill is outrageous and duplicitous, a grotesque mirror image of the original already in existence. He urged the National Assembly to be wary of all contraptions that come in the name of Bill, including this ostentatious manifestation of ignorance, arrogance and avarice.