Maher Jarmakani, Minister Adebayo Shittu and Ayotunde Coker

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Barr Adebayo Shittu, says that once Nigerian data centres have enough capacity locally to handle data generated within the country, the Nigerian government will put a stop to its data being hosted abroad.

Shittu, who spoke during a visit to the Oregun office of Rack Centre, Nigeria's premium Tier lll Data Centre, expressed passion about local data promising that “as soon as we have capacity, all our data will be hosted within, I just want to be sure we have capacity.”

Rack Centre is a data centre colocation provider based in Lagos.

Managing Director of Rack Centre, Mr Ayotunde Coker, said the firm had just doubled its capacity from 119 racks to 255 racks within seven months and that company is indeed working towards the objective of meeting local demand.

He said: “We intend to build that capacity, we have the blueprint and we have proved that it can be done by our doubling the capacity of the centre within just seven months ahead of time and within budget, and that the capacity can be increased again to 600 racks within another seven months once it is identified that the market exists for the expansion.”

The minister said if the local capacity could be met within a year from now, the government would compel Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to host locally.

The Group Co-CEO of Jagal, Rack Centre’s parent company, Mr Maher Jarmakani, said Jagal Group is   committed to continual increase of the capacity of the Rack Centre as it views data as being strategic to the development of not only Nigeria but the African continent and Rack Centre has been actively involved in marketing the data centre all over Africa.  “We intend to expand the market initially to the West Africa region and then to the rest of the African continent,” he said.

Barrister Shittu said there would be no challenge in implementing the local content policy as the policy already specifies that for data centre facilities available in the country, government agencies were duty bound to patronise them.

“It is easy, we have a local content policy that says that for every data centre facility available in Nigeria, industries and government agencies must patronise them, and more especially when we have a facility like Rack Centre that can compete with any other in any part of the world. Shittu said he was amazed at the world class infrastructure obtainable in Rack Centre; I am happy, he said, that Rack Centre can compete with the best in the world.

"It is not logical for the Nigerian government or the private sector to keep patronising the foreign facilities once we have capacity, we will resort to buying outside the shores only if the capacity is not there,” he said.

Shittu said the government was committed to creating the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive-“as a government we need to encourage all private initiatives which are investing in the Nigerian economy in a bid to ensure that information Technology firms grow to a satisfactory level and contribute its fair share to the Gross Domestic Product.”



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