The idea to setup a chapter of the Internet Society in Nigeria was mooted by a group of friends in July 1997. It was borne out of an urgent necessity provoked by the doctoral thesis of an Electrical Engineer. As a PHD student in the Electrical Engineering Department of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Port Harcourt (Nigeria), he urgently required some data/bibliography/documentation for his research programs. He hit a dead end in the search for these vital materials. He therefore contacted a friend in the Department of Electrical Engineering RSUST who referred to another friend. This friend had already been exposed to (dial-up) Internet connectivity for over one year. The Internet offered access to an avalanche of information/materials in diverse fields of human endeavour.
With rare access to the Internet (at that time), the student was able to reach out to different sources for the vital materials badly needed for his research. Thrilled by this discovery and the realization that life could be made much easier in various fields of human endeavour if many more people came to know about Internet and take advantage of it, the friends decided to be organized and popularize Internet in Nigeria.
Some other friends were involved in the process and this led to the birth of Internet Society Nigeria Chapter. Other people also showed interest and became pioneer members as well. Dr. Vint Cerf of ISOC in USA, co-inventor of the computer networking protocol, TCP/IP, which has become the language for Internet Communications, was contacted and much encouragement was received for the formation of the chapter.
On January 19, 1998 the first general meeting held and the first 26 members of the chapter in attendance appointed the Executive Committee as follows:
Prof. Thomas Chukwuemeka Nwodo (President)
Engr. Giandomenico Massari (Vice President)
Engr. Effiong B. Umoren (General Secretary)
Engr. Odieari O. Oruye (Social/Program Secretary)
Engr. Christopher Ahiakwo Okwuchukwu (Technical Secretary)
Mr. Alapuye S. Cotterell (Financial Secretary)
Mr. Abiola Sikiru Abdulaziz (Treasurer)
Mr. Ishaku Tikon (P.R.O.)
Mr. John Fakado (Esq.) (Legal Adviser)
Mr. Kajode Adetunji (Auditor)
Immediately, the process for recognition both locally and at the US main office was put in motion. After several months on June 3, 1998 we were recognized as chartered chapter by US main office, and on June 8, 1998 we were recognized as a registered society in Nigeria.
While awaiting the final registration and approval we carried out different tasks:
The organization promoted Internet in some Local Universities and Schools as well in other public and private institutions, organizing local seminar where a majority of the initial chapter members gave their own contributions.
Presently, the organization has more than two thousand members across the nation. With a renewed membership, the membership is expected rise.
Mission, Success and vision for the future
The Chapter has as major aims:
- To promote the Internet to all concerned in Nigeria territory. Our task is to sensitize Institutions, Companies and Individuals on the importance of the Internet.
- To facilitate and support the technical evolution of Internet as a research and educational infrastructure, and to stimulate the involvement of the scientific community, industry, government and other sectors of human endeavor in the evolution of internet.
- To educate the scientific community, industry and the public at large concerning the technology, use and application of Internet.
- To provide a forum for exploration of new Internet applications, and to stimulate collaboration among organizations in their operational use of the global Internet.
- To encourage interaction and cross-pollination of ideas amongst members for the achievement of the aims and objectives of the chapter.
- To foster unity and cooperation between the chapter and the parent society in particular and the public at large.
- To promote any other educational, charitable and scientific purpose that Internet can lead and in particular the advancement of Arts and Culture, the furtherance of health and the relief of poverty, distress and sickness.
All the activities carried out so far have been sponsored by the chapter members by way of donation of funds and voluntary activities. The parent society also provides some support for ongoing activities.
To help the improved ISOC Nigeria Chapter make a greater impact in the drive for an open, neutral and more accessible Internet, we welcome financial contribution and cooperation from well-meaning individuals and organization that have a similar vision.