By Martin Ekpeke
There major Data Centre operators in Nigeria have called on the federal government to make policies aimed to localizing data and content in the country, saying that would help reduce capital flight, boost economy and ultimately create jobs.
The three operators, Medallion Communications, MDXi and Rack Centre made the call last week at the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA)’s February 2018 Edition of the monthly interactive session with ICT industry helmsmen tagged: ‘Breakfast Meeting With The CEO.’
According to them, a huge chunk of Nigeria’s content and data is hosted abroad, a situation they described as worrisome, arguing that the localisation of data will help leapfrog Nigeria’s infrastructure and technology readiness put at 2 per cent in the global eReadiness ranking.
They noted that, for Nigeria to move into an upward vertical on its economic journey, the required infrastructure and technology components needs to be addressed, as the relevance of infrastructure and technology to a nation’s economy cannot be overemphasized.
Making more emphasize on the relevance of making Nigeria’s content and data domicile in the country, Mr. Ikechukwu Nnamani, the Chief Executive Officer of Medallion Communications Limited, owner of a Lagos and Abuja based Carrier neutral Data Centre, said the domiciliation of data will boost user experience for some critical services that are presently hosted outside Nigeria.
He said, since some major global content owners, especially the Over-The-Top operators are seeking to locate their servers in Nigeria and closer to the end users for a better user experience, it is just right for the government to do the needful by ways of making strong local data hosting regulation in the country.
“Indigenous Data Centre operators are beginning to make inroad, but it would be nice for the government to understand the importance of localizing data hosting for security, safety rather than giving top secrets to foreign companies,” he said.
Asked what are the infrastructures available to warrant the hosting of data in Nigeria, Ikechukwu said: “At Medallion, we have deepened our offerings to the extent that many companies that hosted their data aboard are beginning to come back home.”
He said the Medallion infrastructure is the most connected Data Centre in Nigeria today, as it currently host leading national and international companies and corporations that hitherto host their data abroad.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of MDXi, Mr. Gbenga Adegbiyi noted that confidence to
host data in Nigeria is rising with the gradual proliferation of tier 3 Data Centres in the country. He believes evidence available so far have shown that Nigeria has the capacity to deliver world class services to businesses in the country and outside the country.
Highlighting the facilities available at the MDXi Data Centre, Adegbiyi said the MDXI can be said to be one of West Africa’s leading Data Centre companies, as it offers colocation, wholesale deployments, interconnection and cloud services.
“MDXI is the gold standard for data centre real estate in the region as it develops a data centre ecosystem spanning facilities in Lagos, Sagamu, Accra, Cote D’Ivoire and Senegal,” he disclosed.
While urging the federal government to declare Data Centre critical national asset, Adegbiyi said the MDXi is already making additional investment of N2.5 billion this year as part of capacity expansion to have a total of 600.
“Government should be able to make regulations that ensure data are hosted locally because when data is hosted abroad, it makes Nigeria prone to security and economic hazard,”he said, noting that many corporate organizations have realized that it is far better to Nigeria’s content locally than hosting it abroad.
Also, in his presentation, Mr. Ezekiel Egboye, Director of Operations at Rack Centre, said Data Centre is pivotal to modern economic development, urging the government and private organizations to get the country into the race to a digital economy.
He said, though the challenges of Data Centre operations in Nigeria revolved around power, Rack Centre has made all necessary arrangements to have Tier IV compliant power framework in Nigeria by 2019.
In his words: “At RackCentre, we have not less than 250 rack capacity and expansion for more space is ongoing at the company in reaction to growing demands since the last quarter of last year.”
The ‘Breakfast Meeting With The CEO’, was organized by the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), an umbrella body of all Information and Communication Technology reporters in Nigeria.
Speaking on behalf of the association, Mr. Emma Okonji, Chairman of NITRA said the meeting was organized as a drive to deepen reportage of the industry and in the process keep Nigerians, industry players and policy makers abreast with developments in the sector of the economy.
He thanked the management of MDXI, Medallion and RackCentre for coming to the meeting and giving on the spot details of Data Centre operation in the industry.