The Computer Professionals (Registration Council) of Nigeria (CPN), the government entity charged with the regulation, control and supervision of the computing profession and practice in Nigeria, has raised concern over the economic implications of the increasing number of unregistered Information Technology (IT) professionals in the country who are currently practicing without formal registration and verification.
Describing such unregistered IT professionals as quacks in the industry, who are only interested in securing government IT related projects, without complying with the ethics of the profession, CPN called on the federal government to seek clarification of registered IT professionals from the regulatory body, before awarding IT related contracts.
Speaking at a media roundtable in Lagos to announce the forthcoming annual IT Professional Assembly, taking place in Abuja, CPN President, Prof. Charles Uwadia, also spoke on the economy implications of illegal IT professionals in the country, which he said, has led to shoddy handling of IT projects in the country, leading to several abandoned IT projects scattered across the country. Apart from economic loss to abandoned IT projects, the integrity of the country is also at stake, when quacks present themselves as IT professionals and responsibilities are given to them by the federal and state governments.
Vice President/Vice Chairman-in-Council, Mr. Kole Jagun, said CPN would continue to exercise its mandate in regulating IT professionals in the country.
“We will continue to monitor all IT related government projects to ensure their successful completion in record time. The procedure is that any IT professional who wants to execute government projects through the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), must be a registered member of CPN before applying for the contract. What NITDA currently does is to refer any IT professional that scales through the award of government IT related projects, to first register with CPN before the contract is finally awarded.”
According to him, “The essence is to ensure that the professionals who understand and comply with the ethics and standards of the profession, gets the contact to avoid shoddy execution of jobs and also to help trace and locate such professional, should there be issues after the execution of the job.
One of the Council members, and immediate past President of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Olorogun James Emadoye, decried the situation where the IT profession in the country has become an all-comers affairs, where professionals do not have regard for regulation and control, a situation, he said, must stop. He said CPN has the obligatory role to know what each IT professional is doing in the county, hence the need for registration and control.
“Data is sensitive and several data are now stored in the cloud with easy access to people, and if we cannot control those that have access to the information in the stored data, it amounts to national security risk that may lead to economic sabotage,” Emadoye said.
Registrar/Secretary to Council, Mr. Allwell Achumba, said the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, had in the last ministerial briefing, encouraged CPN to apply the big stick on all IT professionals who violate the laws setting up CPN as a regulatory agent of government that controls the practice of IT profession in Nigeria.
“We are therefore calling on all the quacks in the profession to regularise their registration with CPN with immediate effect, because we are ready to enforce our mandate as a regulator,” Achumba said.
Another Council member, Mr. Rogba Adeoye said registration with CPN remained sacrosanct and must be adhered to by all IT professionals in the county. He said CPN would not mind to restrict the practice of all unregistered IT professionals who do not believe in the importance of registration.
According to him, CPN currently has over 5,000 registered members, with he capacity to register over 20,000, yet many IT professionals were yet to see the importance of registration and the economic dangers of unregistered IT professionals. Speaking on the focus of this year’s IT Professional Assembly, scheduled to hold in Abuja between June 26 and 27, Uwadia said: “The focus for this year’s IT Professional Assembly is clear. We will be looking at IT infrastructure deficit in the country, with a view to addressing them. We will be looking at connectivity infrastructure, access infrastructure and security infrastructure. Our focus will be on secure, robust and available infrastructure.
The IT Professional Assembly will also look at digital literacy, and propose that members of the National Assembly and the Judiciary should undergo basic digital literacy, so that government could have insight into the ongoing digital economy goals.”