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NITDA’s Compliance With ICANN’s Memorandum of Understanding  




Femi Oyesanya

 November 14, 2004



Today,  as I write, Nigerians that wish to register an Internet Domain Name under the .ng Top Level Domain assignment may not be able to do so,  if the choice of Domain Registration is the Government sponsored Web Site.  The .ng Registration System,  much advertised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is currently experiencing Nigerian factor technical difficulties.  The URL to the .ng Registration Site is at

The site is down!  Not responding! 


Nigerian Government operated Systems have traditionally been plagued by a culture of inefficiency.   For this reason, some months ago, when the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), decided to wrestle control of the  .ng  CCTLD  away from non-government affiliated  bodies, there was national uproar within the ranks of  stakeholders.   Promptly, NITDA’s  Lawyers and  Public Relations machinery went into motion.  The issue became a big mess. 


It took the intervention of  President Olusegun Obasanjo.   Accordingly,  the  President issued a directive, “On January 16, 2004, The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief  Olusegun Obasanjo, directed that the management of the Nigerian country code top level domain (ccTLD).ng, be transferred to the National Information

Technology Development Agency (NITDA) by the erstwhile Administrative Contact  Person, and that NITDA should establish a non-governmental institution comprising of ICT Stakeholders and the Internet Community to manage the .ng  in the interest of all Nigerians”    


A few months later,   NITDA under the protective umbrella of the Presidential directive,  took formal control of the .ng Domain.  The agency signed a  Memorandum of Understanding with  ICANN on  June 9,  2004.  Professor Ajayi became the new Domain Manager, and NITDA issued a  “Call for Paper”   Interested Nigerians were  urged to submit proposals on recommendations for the structural composition of the .ng  Domain Administration. 


Incidentally, the Memorandum of Understanding signed by NITDA and ICANN contractually obligated  NITDA to comply with certain terms within a  4 Months deadline  (See copy of MOU at )   Section  5.3 of the MOU specifically stated,  “The Manager shall be afforded a reasonable period of time (not to exceed four months unless the nature of the specification or policy under Section 5.2 reasonably requires, as agreed to by ICANN and the Manager, a longer period) after receiving notice of the establishment of a new or revised specification or policy under Section 5.2 in which to comply with that specification or policy, taking into account any urgency involved”  


Well, fellow Nigerians,  NITDA missed the deadline.  Not only is the  Registration System not  functioning like it should be.  NITDA is yet to implement compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding.  The  Agency has failed to  comply with Section  5.1 of the Memorandum  of Understanding, failing to publish  and make available  governing policies and procedures of the .ng  domain  as clearly stated in  ICANN’s  guidelines;    “the policies and procedures for the use of each TLD must be available for public inspection. Generally these are posted on web pages or made available for file transfer. While variations in policies and procedures from country to country are expected due to local customs and cultural values, they must be documented and available to interested parties”   


Lastly, don’t  try and contact  Professor Ajayi, the Domain Manager, he does not reply to Email Messages as required to dutifully carry out the functions of a Domain Manager. 


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