NiRA dey chop our Naira

My friends know that I cannot walk into a bookshop and still retain the same blood pressure, energy or heart rate as I had before I walked in. Books excite me in an interesting way. I do not even have to read them – just the prospect of thousands of words fellowshipping together on processed wood gets me pumped. In fact, I also love empty notebooks – just give me the processed wood and I’ll be fine. You can propose marriage to me with only a carton of hardcover artsy-looking empty notebooks and I would be speechless at your thoughtfulness.  *looks in the mirror and sighs at self-deprecation*

However, books are only but one of the things that excite me. Another thing that excites me is ‘owning domain names’. I have a superpower for having the brightest ideas and giving them badass names – I MEAN, you’re currently on HTML and we’re not talking programming language here! *kisses self in the mirror*.

Anyway, because I’m an ideas junkie in the 21st century, the first thing that comes to mind when I have a bright idea is not to write it down like a strategic thinker. No. I, instead, convince myself that this is THE idea – THE ONE-  and then proceed to secure the domain name for my soon-to-be giant tech company. (As an aside, I feel like adding a bit of unbalance in the world right now so here we go: |giant| |DWARF| – this is so disturbing haha).

As you can tell, I’m currently having a bit of ADHD so please bear with me. What I have, however, tried to convey in the last three paragraphs is that owning domain names, like seeing books, excites me a lot. Got it? Good.

Now, in the next couple of paragraphs, I’ll try to explain why I believe the Nigerian Internet Registration Association does not rate my excitement and how I am convinced that this somewhat infringes on the human rights of, we the people.

Follow me.

Now, NiRA (which is a beautiful name, by the way), is the neutral self-regulatory body which administers Nigeria’s country code Top Level Domain (the code popularly referred to as .ng)

A domain name is pretty much the name of your website + a TLD (top level domain). So for instance, ‘’ is a domain name. Same as,,, and so on. ICANN lists all the 1536 TLDs here. Speaking of ICANN, it’s short for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and it’s responsible for managing and coordinating the Domain Name System to ensure that every web address is unique; it is not in charge of registering domain names as it has accredited registrars for that.

Now, our dear NiRA determines the price for registering a domain using the .ng TLD and for some reason, NiRA has chosen that it’s a big price to pay.

Imagine I had an idea to build an online Forum for Parents who are tired of saying the same things over and again to their child(ren). The parents on my Online Forum would simply write open letters to their Children addressing them in public and begging members of the Nigerian online community to bear them witnesses before man and God that they did their best.

Super amazing idea, right?

Now, I really want my Forum to be popular in Nigeria so I decide that I’ll use the .ng TLD because I know that search priority would be given to me. I go online to register my domain name and here’s my invoice:

I might have exaggerated in the beginning when I said that NiRA’s pricing of domain names (which I’ll maintain is RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE) is somewhat an infringement of human right. I say I might have exaggerated because I know that no one is forced to use the .ng TLD or punished for not using same. Therefore, if you cannot afford to register a .NG domain, you may go ahead and choose from a bunch of other options. Or so it seems.  

It is, however, my belief and in fact, my understanding that all Internet Policies should be formulated in such a way as to drive and encourage the inclusion and participation of the average man. And whilst I know that affordability is relative, N9,500 seems a lot like a gatekeeping mechanism to me. Whether or not NiRA is purposely discouraging the use of our country code TLD, is a question I cannot answer. But what I can say is that its Pricing Policy is more favorable to a class of people than it is to all Nigerians and that can be argued to be a passive indirect tampering with the right of Nigerians to participate in all available opportunities which the internet presents – which includes using their country code TLD and not being strong-armed in a NiRA passive-aggressive manner to have to make other choices. NiRA, why can’t the average Nigerian internet user comfortably purchase a .ng domain name?

This is even worse when you think about the fact that restricting the options of people in the use of internet features, options or infrastructure available to them is as good as messing with other rights like the freedom of expression, of association, of assembly….

I mean, I know I sound like I’m over-reaching but I’m not. I actually believe this. Infringement and restrictions on human rights do not only manifest in violent actions or reactions but also in quiet, indirect, innocent, passive, come-and-beat-me’s.

NiRA needs to fix up and reduce the pricing of the .NG domain suffix so that Nigerians who want to use it, can afford it. And do not say, ‘Well, you have the luxury of other generic TLDs. Stop whining.’  I ask: of what use is a right or privilege if it is given to those who cannot take advantage of it? Again, I ask (for the purpose of making an example): does a man. who cannot afford any shoes, really have the freedom of movement if he is placed in a city tarred with broken glass?

Once again, I am aware that affordability is relative. But look, we live in a country where up to 80% of us live on less than $2 per day.

Think about it.

I’d like to know what your thoughts are on this matter. And I’d appreciate it if you share with others! Thank you. 🙂

6 thoughts on “NiRA dey chop our Naira”

  1. The way you convey your thoughts in an interesting, techy, fun-to-read manner is brilliant.

    This is a very smart point. I couldn’t agree with you less.

  2. You make a very valid point around affordability. For someone who lives on minimum wage, this would be 50% of their monthly earnings… and this is probably before tax! There are real-life people who earn below minimum wage so this argument makes sense.

    However, something to think about, will be the cost involved in managing a top level domain registry like NiRA… do you know anything about the costs involved? Also, remember when researching, that the ease of doing business in Nigeria is generally much worse than many other countries.

    1. Ajoke! Thank you so much for your feedback. It’s interesting that I actually thought about this in the making of the post. You’re right – the cost of managing the .ngTLD is also something to be considered and is most likely the factor affecting the retail price for registration. I, however, feel like with the right intention and with intentionality, NiRA/FG can find a way around that and prioritize affordability (which I know is relative). I’ll have to do more research into that to proffer a more cogent solution, but honestly, I believe that if it’s a goal for them, then it can and will be done.

  3. “” LOL!

    You make very valid points. However, I *think* (I hope this appears in bold) that the NiRA’s intends to limit the use of the “.Ng” TLD to protect Nigerians or any other users of the site. Hear me out.

    To any layman(a group which I was a member of until I read this), the .ng TLD insinuates that it is a credible site that has some authority from the Nigerian government or can be trusted. With this TLD, a regular Nigerian would easily trust the site. I therefore think that the NiRA uses the relatively high price, to curb the kind of people who purchase the the TLD and the kind of business being done with the .Ng TLD, especially since we (Nigerians) already have a reputation for being internet fraudsters.

    Although on paper the idea seems great, it seems to have done more harm than good, and hasn’t exactly done what it’s supposed to. They could however do more with inspecting those domain names, and making sure no fraud is done using the name.

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