The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said that it established over 228 Rural Information Technology Centres (RITC) in five years across the country, to drive internet penetration.
Director-General of NITDA, Professor Cleopas Angaye, who made this disclosure in a statement, said the centres were established between 2007 and 2012, with majority of them located in the rural areas of the country in a bid to reach both the un-served and under-served areas of the country in line with the country's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) directive.
Angaye said the agency planned to establish such centres in all the 774 local government headquarters of the country in the years ahead.
He added that over 116 centres were located in the northern part of the country, while about 112 were established in the southern part of the country.
According to him, the deployment of rural information technology centres across Nigeria was part of MDGs and NITDA's target objective of providing internet access to the undeserved communities.
He noted that the centres were part's government's response toward providing access to the rural populace across Nigeria and making them an integral part of the new global economy driven by ICT.
"Nigerians who reside in the rural communities cannot be neglected in any meaningful citizen-centred programme," Angaye said.
Speaking on the achievements of the centres, Angaye said they contributed in boosting internet usage from over two million users in 2005 to about 10 million users in 2008 and over 44 million internet users in 2012, thereby positioning Nigeria as one of the fastest growing internet users in sub-Saharan Africa.
"It is expected that internet users will reach 70 million by 2015 and NITDA hopes that the various centres being deployed across the nation will help push the level of usage in the years ahead," Angaye said.
In the area of technology incubation centres, Angaye said NITDA invested in two ICT incubation centres to facilitate software development in the country.
"The centres are in Lagos and Cross River State, and it is hoped that they will create 25 successful ICT businesses by 2015," he said.