You may or may not be aware that .ng (Yes, I am a proud Nigerian) domain names have been available to the public for quite a while now, and demand for them is growing slowly but steadily. However, people who have had need to get a .ng domain name may not have had as smooth an experience as is obtainable say for the more popular .com and .org names. Part of the problem comes from a lack of information about the quite strict policies surrounding the namespace.
I shall attempt to cast some light on the situation, so you at least know what to expect before you leap. I cannot claim to know much about the policy concerning other top-level domain names, but I do know a fair bit about .ng, since I have been working to bring the infrastructure of one accredited registrar up to speed. The policy documents are also available at the NIRA website (linked below), but admittedly, they are a bit of a drag to read, like most such documents.
Anyway, the first thing you should note is that the .ng space is not as liberal as you might imagine. Among other things, you are not allowed to register an “offensive” domain name. Offensive is defined as any name present on a list drawn up and revised from time to time by the NIRA Board. I am currently not aware of any such list, and this leaves quite a loop hole in the policy, but as far as my experiene goes, your good judgement is probably right, and this may not be a strictly enforced policy.
Next, .com.ng, .org.ng, .name.ng and .mobi.ng are the most liberal TLDs. Pretty much anyone is allowed to register a domain name in this space, but unlike the global “.net”, you cannot register a .net.ng domain name unless you are a registered and licensed network (telecom) service provider in Nigeria. All the other top-level domains have their own restrictions.
The .sch.ng domain names deserve special mention.
This top-level domain space has been partitioned into about 37 sub-domains. One for each state of the Federation of Nigeria. What this means for you as a school trying to register a .ng domain name is this: You cannot get “yourschool.sch.ng”. You must get a domain like “yourschool.yourstate.sch.ng”. Thankfully, the state names are mostly two letters. I shall append a list of all the States and their abbreviations at the end of this post. If your school is in Benue State for instance, this means your domain name will be “school.be.sch.ng”.
The reason for this hierarchy is to avoid conflict between schools with similar or identical names, but with different proprietors and in different states clashing needlessly about ownership of their domain names.
States and Their Codes
Tell you what, grab this PDF. I am in no mood to mark-up a table in HTML 🙂