-By FUNMI FALOBI, Lagos.
Research has revealed that Africa lags behind among comity of nations in the area of internet usage and access to internet.
According to a report by the World Economic Forum, percentage of individuals using the internet showed that Europe has 77.6 percent; America 66.0 percent; Arab States 37.0; Asia and Pacific 36.9 percent and Africa 20.9 percent.
Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa, World Economic Forum advocates that there is a need to fix the digital poverty, explaining that if Africans have access to affordable and fast internet, they would be able to create a rich future for the continent.
“Initiatives like this will only work if everyone has access to the internet in the first place. For too many of us, this critical first step is still lacking. In fact, according to figures from the International Telecommunications Union, just over 20% of Africans have internet access,” she said.
Ahead of the 2016 World Economic Forum on Africa, which takes place in Kigali on May 11-13, the Global Shapers, over 1,000 young people across 94 cities in Africa with the drive to make a contribution to their communities, are launching an #internet4all conversation.
Similarly, the Web We Want Foundation, as part of efforts toward increased internet access in Africa has scheduled programmes from May through June sensitising and advocating fast, safe and affordable internet access in Africa commencing with an action week between May 1-7 through activities to commemorate the International Worker’s Day, the World Press Freedom Day, the African World Heritage Day, the World Economic Forum on Africa and African Union Summit.
Activities include calling for more action on internet rights in Africa; Speaking out on internet, economy, jobs and rights; free speech and the internet should go hand in hand, among others.
Communities in Lagos state have cried out over the poor state of infrastructural development, calling on the state government to come to their rescue.
Speaking at a media parley organized by the International Press Centre, IPC, Lagos with the theme “Solution-driven Reporting of Poor Social/Living Conditions in Lagos Rural Communities” supported by the World Association for Christian Communications (WACC), the communities urged the state government to ease the suffering of the people in by addressing the deplorable state of amenities.
According to representatives of the communities from eight Local Government Areas in Lagos, namely Offin/Oreta in Ikorodu, Otumara – Ilaje in Lagos Mainland, Bolaji Omupo in Somolu, Ituagan Waterside in Amuwo Odofin, Oko-Oba community in Orile/Agege, Peace Estate community, Command in Agbado/Oke-Odo, Erejuwa in Makoko and Obele Odan in Surulere; issues facing them include rehabilitating and completing abandoned road projects, provision of primary health care facilities and ensuring development of other social infrastructures to make life comfortable for them.
Prince Adeyeye Adebisi, a community leader from Offin/Oreta declared that he has witnessed the delivery of women on the popular motorcycle otherwise known as Okada as a result of bad road in the community.
“The major link road to our community is in very bad state. This road was the one constructed by former military governor, Gbolahan Mudasiru. We are on number 364 in road construction on government list. I’ve recorded women delivering on Okada. We spent over three million naira to dig drainage from Igbogbo. When it rains, you find yourself straining your ankles. Local government is not helping at all. When we manage to repair the road, they will come and video it in the night and take it to Alausa to collect money,” he said.
On his part, Jude Ojo, representative from Otumara said there is no public toilet and the area suffer from sanitation issues. “Government policies are politically driven instead of citizens driven. There is no consideration for the poor even in acquiring shops. We need road, town hall, the existing clinic has no drugs, no personnel; we are suffering in silence, we need help,” he said.
“There is no road, drainage in our area. The little project is by self effort. As a matter of urgency, we need primary healthcare; we use private hospitals and the bills are high. Drainage will also help us because the carnal is so close to us,” said Solomon Okosu, representative of Peace Estate in Command.
For John Ogunfuyi, Ituagan has no secondary school and no sufficient teachers in the primary school. “There is no electricity in our area, we need health centre. We want government to put these in place,” he said.
Moses Adewunmi, General Secretary, Boshua Community Development Council, Somolu said: “The canal project in our area is uncompleted; it has stayed for almost two years and has paralyzed the entire community. The road construction in Bolaji Omupo was abandoned and hoodlums now come and steal people’s property due to this abandoned project.”
Contributing to the discussion, Francis Abayomi, Director, Peace and Development Project, noted that the focus of development by the government should be people centered. “There is no how one can talk about development without the people in the area. Whatever development issues they are focusing can’t be completed without the people”, he said.