Nigerian Internet Registration Association, NiRA Shuts Down Civil Rights Website

The Nigerian Internet Registration Association, NiRA has shut down the Every Nigerian Do something, website through one of its certified Registrar agencies, ENDS is a civil organization registered in the United states. The ENDS official site was put offline via suspension of its domain name on June 1st 2015.

The email received stated:
NiRA Registry Support has been suspended in the registry and will no longer be included in zone file generation. This means that any services connected with this domain, such as websites or email addresses will cease working shortly.

Please contact your registrar if you have any questions about this process. Your registrar's details are as follows:

Name: Web4Africa
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 27110838382
Fax: 27865514109
Address: 372 Oak Avenue, Ferndale, Randburg

However this explanation for the shutdown of the Nigeria domain registered website was untrue. On the 1st of April 2015, ENDS management had paid $98.44 for domain renewal till June 1st 2016.

Upon contacting Web4Africa support, the support agents feigned oblivious as to what ENDS was communicating and refused to reinstate the domain. A day later in spite of several support emails and tickets, Web4Africa refused to reinstate the domain which is rightfully owned by being leased till 2016.

NiRA was contacted and refused to respond as at the time of this Press release.

NiRA Sells Domains At Most Expensive Rate In The World To Nigerian Web Entrepreneurs

NIRA selling the .ng domain has been condemned for selling .ng domains at the most expensive rate of any domain in the world.

The cheapest a .ng domain sells for by companies listed on the NIRA website is N15,000 / $89/year with most sites selling domains for the one year lease as high as $99 and up to $600.

Examples of NIRA listed accredited registrars and their prices:

NigeriaDomains sells at N15,000, about $89
Web4Africa sells .ng domains for a whopping $93!
AfricaRegistry sells at $600, though we did not confirm they are accredited though NiRA allows the selling of domains by subsidiaries of their accredited registrars.

This compares to all international domains like .com, .org, .US etc which sell for just about $14/year.

The NiRA established under the Olusegun Obasanjo government has never explained why it discourages a Nigeria online presence and potential web entrepreneurs with its exorbitantly priced domains.

The same websites listed on NiRA that sell .ng domains at an average of $100/year sell international domains for $13 and less.

The Nigerian corporate commission has since the Obasanjo era and through the Jonathan years failed to reign in on this extortion of Nigerian web entrepreneurs and in effect online browsers who indirectly bear the brunt of this extortion.

In February this year the National Broadband Council took up NiRA on .ng cost requesting they slashed it at least by a half to make it more reasonable for Nigerians. Dr Omobola Johnson, the former minister of communication technology under the Jonathan government this April commended NiRA for its ‘activities.’

According to the website NiRA was created and transferred to private stakeholders by the Obasanjo government during the privatization (cabalization) era.

Quoting from NiRA:
The Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) was founded on March 23, 2005 as a stakeholder-led organisation, charged with the management of the Nigeria's country code Top Level Domain Name (ccTLD), dot ng. The transfer of the appropriate management of this important National Resource was coordinated by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on behalf of the Federal government of Nigeria. Stakeholders within Nigeria’s Internet community participated in its formation. It was registered as an Incorporated Trustee on February 9, 2007.

NIRA's formation brought to an end the long years of controversy in the country, over the management of this critical national resource, following the intervention of the then President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. The re-delegation of the .ng ccTLD came nearly 12 years after the country code was hosted first in Italy, and later by Mr Randy Bush, an American. While Mr Bush was the technical contact for the ccTLD, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote served as the administrative contact.

We are unable to determine what stakes and role the former president Olusegun Obasanjo still wields with NiRA. NiRA Board of Trustees are: Mr. Chima Onyekwere, Chairman, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote Secretary and Dr. Chris Nwannenna, others are Prof. (Mrs.) Adenike Osofisan, Dr. Isaac Adeola Odeyemi, Mr. Olaleye Alao, Mr. Emmanuel Edet, Mr. Yunusa Zakari and Ya'u, Mr. Shina Badaru.

ENDS believes the shutdown may not be unrelated to the recent victory of independent media, social activists and Nigeria’s youth cum masses who stood up and died fighting a corrupt kakistocracy that spanned 30 years, bringing CHANGE to Nigeria this May.

NiRA works under guidelines of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, ICANN. The exorbitant cost NiRA sells domain names as well as the possible targeting of civil right and anti-corruption activist organizations are issues that violate international principles as well as Nigeria’s corporate commission. These are issues ENDS is pursuing due to the illegal shut down of our organization website domain.

We will never cower in our pursuit of equity and justice for one and all Nigerians..

Dr. Peregrino Brimah; [Every Nigerian Do Something] Email: [email protected] Twitter: @EveryNigerian





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Articles by Perry Brimah, Dr.