The ICT industry is currently one of the fastest growing sectors in Nigeria and reports show that the use of ICT in Nigeria is becoming more and more prevalent among businesses and organizations. Information Technology has become an imperative tool for economic and business growth, helping to access, produce and apply information to managing business and developing human capacities. Most companies have IT departments with the task of disseminating information either electronically via company websites or via print.
According to NCC, 83.3 million Nigerians have access to internet as at February 2015. The regulatory body disclosed this in its monthly internet subscriber data, which was reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. The data revealed that there was an increase of 1,316,176 internet users on both the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) and the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) networks in February. According to the data, 82,046,638 users were recorded on the networks as at January 2015.It showed that of the 83,362,814 internet users as at February, 83,209,380 were on GSM networks, while 153,434 users were on the CDMA networks. Based on this development, technology has been integrated into the everyday life of an average Nigerian; be it youth, professionals or business executives.
It is pertinent to know that following different researches, Nigerian youths have a higher usage percentage of IT products than the Nigerian adults do (Annuobi and Mbagwu, 2009). Studies show that young adults use internet facilities, computers, IT-advanced phones among other IT instruments more frequently than the adults do nowadays in Nigeria. This can be attributed to the fact that IT facilities having been integrated into the educational system. This is so now that they are being exposed to these facilities from a young age and learn how to use it on a regular basis.
Benefits of IT use
Information Technology saves the time and energy either of individuals or in a work environment. It increases the efficiency in businesses and organizations. It makes communication very easy and fast with the use of telephones, emails, etc. People can communicate from across the world, thus an asset to organizations and individuals as it saves time and money of having to be physically present in order to receive information.
Education has been made less stressful and more available as well as more effective to the masses through part-time online schools making it easy for lecture notes to be accessed online and other useful resources are made more accessible to the average student. Businesses take advantage of the technology to forge new business relationships with partners outside the country hence increasing global relationships and competitiveness. Biometrics registration undertaken by government parastatals and the ongoing Banking Verification Number (BVN) will not have been possible without the use of information technology. It has enabled the use of internet banking, online trading, and consumer surveys, opened up to country to a greater number of tourists for the country, among others.
But some drawback
Individuals, especially youths spend too much time on internet and social media thus reducing the time spent on valuable endeavours like studying. The internet is an unregulated world, as anyone can post anything on it. Hence, a minor accessing the internet unregulated will be opened to both the good sides and the bad sides of it.
Some sectors of the economy that have not integrated a fair use of information technology are being left behind in the dust. Good examples exist in the medical industry, most government owned secondary and tertiary institutions. Hence, they are finding it had to catch up with the rest of the sectors. Also of concern is the increase in the rate of cyber-crimes in the country either through fake promos, emails, social media etc. These are done to dupe hardworking citizens of their precious savings.
And The Way Forward
Government has to put regulatory framework in place especially with the Nigerian teenagers and youths in schools so as to redirect their usage of the internet into more productive areas. Government should expedite infrastructural development to enable more internet penetration especially in the rural areas.
In addition, there should be programmes to educate and enlighten the people on the importance of information technology even in their day-to-day activities, especially the adults who are resistant to change. In addition, Nigerian government should enforce laws that will discourage cybercrime to give the masses the courage to transact businesses online without the fear of being duped.
In conclusion, as the IT sector is growing in leaps and bounds, Nigerians, especially the adults should understand that the world is a global village and for us to remain relevant and productive in this global world, we are to embrace information technology with open hands.