Wednesday, February 4, 2009

ChamsCity is a digital cafe located in Lagos Nigeria and billed to be the largest in not just Africa, but the entire world, as certified[*] by Guinness World Records. The Lagos location has 1000 computers, while the previous record holder in New York only has 850. The mother company, Chams PLC, intends a series of cyber malls across Nigeria, with an Abuja location already completed.

ChamsCity has a capacity of over 2,000 biometric and multimedia systems which will be used to manage public identity and provide personalized online services for governmental and private entities. The Assistant General Manager, Sola Bickersteth, expanded on some of the future capabilities of the new cyber center saying,
"The ChamsCity network of digital malls creates a platform that can be used to capture fingerprints and pictures of each individual which is then tied to their mobile phone numbers. This will eliminate instances of impersonation prevalent in our society today because each system has an inbuilt camera which makes it possible to record the activities of each individual as they conduct an exercise."
"Individuals can register as Chams Citizens to access an unlimited array of facilities such as basic internet browsing, self improvement, online certification testing, e-learning, and web conferencing at affordable costs."
The cyber center enables online testing and learning in Lagos for 10,000 individuals daily and aims to partner with schools.
"A special membership package is available for students whose schools are registered with ChamCity, they will have an opportunity to compete to win prizes and travel to represent Nigeria and their school in several upcoming computers based international competitions starting from February through the summer of 2009."
ChamsCity is also working with the Federal government to finger print every Nigerian citizen and create a new identity card system.

This is definitely another step by Nigerians to advance the country and bring it closer to the forefront of the digital revolution. The fact that this is a privately owned entity and that it will make internet access possible around the country is a positive that will have exponential benefits for Nigerians. Those benefits will hopefully span various areas such as health care, education, agriculture, business and entertainment, to name a few.

It is also significant that this first cyber center of its kind was launched in Lagos State. Lagos is working to transform itself into an international financial metropolis and this is just one of many innovative achievements accomplished under the watch of Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola. Fashola also recently unveiled a 10,000 security camera project to improve safety in Lagos State. That, coupled with ChamCity's biometric plans could definitely make Lagos a safer place and thus more welcoming for business, domestic and foreign.

However, there are some concerns to be considered. What provisions are in place to prevent the abuse of information collected by ChamsCity? How will the company prevent information from being stolen and used by criminals? Furthermore, it is hard to ignore the Big Brother-esque nature of ChamsCity and its plans. Although it is a private business, it is partnering with the Nigerian government which could open the door to the abuse of information belonging to individual citizens. Given the federal government's history, past and the very recent present, at ignoring constitutional rights, and the continuing corruption plaguing the country, it is worrisome to think that the federal government will have that much information at their finger tips.

* - Nigerian Curiosity has not yet verified that Guinness World Records certified ChamsCity as the largest cyber cafe.

Hattip to Happy Lagosian

Related Articles of Interest:
- Nigeria is Not The Home Of Cyber Crime
- Nigeria's Internet Future
- Number One Regional Telecom Market
- 2009: The Year of African Broadband
- Nigeria Is Home To The World's Largest Cyber Cafe

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Anonymous said...

Marketing, the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. The other question is business. What is it? Making a fast buck has always been the Nigerian definition but until we go back to the basics, cyber cafes in the age of individual freedoms will not get us there. All the best to the great minds behind this project.

Anonymous said...

Cyber cafes cater to a niche market -- the people for whom internet access is still yet over-priced, or for whom the attendant worries of power supply, computer maintenance or the other associated costs/ thoughts are a diversion from their real life worlds......Cyber cafes will still be a thing of the present in the Nigerian landscape.... And then even if cheap internet services are available, they can be re-invented as social networking fora for the would-be hip young and not so young.... just my two cents....

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is a great post! While I'm excited and proud of this venture, like Solomon said, I worry about Nigeria's track record. I also hope that this cyber cafe business is not just another fad to make instant profit and then fizzle out. Security is one of our biggest dilemmas in Nigeria. I feel like the same folks who are creating/inventing these security measures, will be the same ones to "sell for profit" to the crooks. I could be wrong, and I sincerely hope so. That said, I am still hopeful that we are headed for a positive direction.

Anonymous said...

when will Nigerians start taking pictures or videos? A picture is worth a thousand words and a video 10000. Yup that is my new crusade, take pictures fellow Nigerians, click click.

Sugabelly said...

I don't know about you, but I am NOT getting fingerprinted by the Nigerian Government. The Nigerian Government cannot ensure a full 24 hours of electricity, how much more do you think they can insure the safety of your biometric information? Think of the disaster it could cause. All we need is one person hacking into Chams City or whatever they call themselves and using YOUR information to perpetrate a scam. The next time you're off on vacation to America once they run your fingerprints at the border, the FBI will appear out of nowhere and your visa will be permanently revoked or your passport seized. Abegi, me I no dey. Yar'Adua should stop being a damn idiot and get his act together.

You are only supposed to fingerprint criminals that have entered the police system. Oh I forgot, Nigeria has no police system. I repeat, I AM NOT, WILL NOT, ANYTHING NOT letting my fingerprints leave my body. Tomorrow that's how you will hear that Solomonsydelle is claiming to be the Prince of Nigeria and asking for $50billion through email.

Please allow the government to continue deceiving themselves.

Jinta said...

we keep taking giant strides when we have not learned how to walk properly. not sure how to take this

Anonymous said...

I am proud that the largest cyber cafe is in nigeria.No wonder we in the States receive so much unwanted 419 scam email from Nigeria.The 419 scammer are brainless.No matter how you drill it through their brain that you know the game better than they do,they continue sending you an annoying email 419 scam.This is the reason why investors are scared to come to Nigeria to invest there hard earned money

Geebee said...

- Wonders shall never end in Naija. Nice innovation though . . . The world’s largest cybercaf√©, I mean. I still wonder why the owners of this outfit would go into such a daring venture. 1000 computers! Sounds ridiculous to me. How much was invested into this business. Were they out to make profit or simply to gfet a Guiness Book of Records space. Cool all the same. Naija’s going places no doubt . Largest church auditorium (Canaanland) and now largest cybercaf√©. O ga o.

Anonymous said...

Progress? We have all received the email below and versions of it daily. Why? Now, imagine someone has access to your bio signon. Be very afraid should be the watch word in a technology that is not widely used in places where it is an enabler of innovation. We should be encouraging people to learn citizenship via free books rather than creating more dissel generator fumes.

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Anonymous said...

interesting nice to see how this will play out!

by the way ibm is hiring in Nigeria

Anonymous said...

Straight where it hurts !

festival arts said...

In the article I read, the definition of bullying emphasized that it involves a power imbalance (and misuse of power and position or group influence) and persistent pressure or abuse which in turn.

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