Modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are a source for the development of wealth and power when they are directed for the well being of humanity (Ahsanullah, 2002). Nigeria has a population of about 120 million people living in 774 local government areas in the 36 states and the federal capital territory. The country is embracing the new technology with an explosion in the use of mobile phones providing communication previously undreamt of. About a million people have mobile phones, but Internet use is lagging behind with only an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Nigerians connected to the Internet (Olukoya, 2002). One reason for this is that about 80 million Nigerians are rural dwellers who are excluded from participating in the emerging information economy.
To make Nigeria a key player in the information society through the use of ICTs as the engine for sustainable development and global competitiveness, the Nigerian government has the following goals for the use of ICTs:
* Creation of wealth
* Poverty eradication
* Job creation
* Global competitiveness (Ajayi, et al., 1998)
The Internet and other ICTs are affecting all human activities that depend on information, including rural development and food security. O'Farrell, et al. (1999) state that a better understanding of existing information practices and socio-technical processes is necessary in rural areas if ICT-based projects are to be more effective.
Accascina (2000) identifies how ICTs directly and indirectly affect poverty alleviation, notably in relation to rural development and food security. Examples include the delivery of market or employment information, or the creation of well-paid jobs that eventually "trickle down" to poor communities.
Adimorah (1990) stresses that, "our information services are still elitist, serving only 20% of the educated elite group while the 80% illiterate rural dwellers wallow in information deprivation." The present administration in Nigeria does not want to be left out of this global system. According to Okeh (2002), the literature has stressed that the quality of life of rural dwellers can be highly improved by effective provision of relevant information to rural communities.
This study uses a survey. The instrument for collecting data is a questionnaire that has two parts. The first part collected data on personal characteristics of respondents, while the collected data on ICTs in the rural communities of Delta...