Africa Centre for Citizens Orientation (ACCO) held a one-day FASTAfrica forum on May 5, 2016 in partnership with Youth Crime Watch of Nigeria, Pan African Institute for Entrepreneurship and Community Development, and Youth Alliance on ICT for Development that brought together 59 people, including students, civil society groups, academics, policy makers, and lawmakers with the aim of promoting universal access to fast, affordable, safe and transparent Internet for all Nigerians and Africans.
The event was nearly canceled when school authorities ordered an evacuation of the university campus due to a student protest against lack of social amenities and open and free Internet within the school, including a shut down of access to the school Internet portal… Through this event, we were able to resuscitate one of the moribund ICT centers within the school for use by the students.
Before the event, organisers conducted a survey and opinion poll about the cost and safety of Internet (127 replies) which was analysed during the forum. They also approached different stakeholders in advance of the forum to seek for their opinions and get to know the problems and possible solutions to tackle the cost of Internet subscriptions.
Papers were also presented by speakers from government agencies (National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, and the Oyo State Agency for Youth Development) as well as representatives of key stakeholders such as the National Youth Council of Nigeria.
We reached policymakers and were glad they came for the event, because you hardly see policymakers or government agencies participating in an event they are not organizing themselves. We reached out to them believing that if they are involved in a processes that leads to final resolutions, they will be glad to implement it.
As a result of the meeting a community-based Internet Forum Team was established by participants to continue discussion, campaign and advocate for Internet access, rights and safety in Nigeria and Africa.