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2.3 GHz, Nitel/Mtel Muddles Killing Telecom

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The fast paced growth that greeted the initial telecom revolution in Nigeria is slowing down and it is disheartening.
Like everything Nigeria, the country is allowing opportunities that come on a platter of gold disappear because of self interest and greed.
It is also shocking that the reasons for the slow growth are feeble.
Look at the odious government intervention that halted the 2.3 GHz licensing round; and the claims and counter charges that greeted the privatization of Nitel/Mtel, the premier national carrier.
These events took the shine off the industry pushing investors to sit on the fence and watch with cautious optimism as Nigeria smears her feces on self.
The 2.3GHz frequency band licensing round is a clear case of executive recklessness and some degree of arrogance.
Where two elephants fight, it is the grass that bears the brunt. In this case as minister of information and communications and the former executive vice chairman of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) threw their weights around, the country lost ground and is yet to recover.
It would be recalled that in 2009, the Nigerian Communications Commission cleared four companies to receive spectrum in the 2.3GHz frequency range out of the 41 applications it received.
The process was entangled in controversy at the close of the bid when three companies: Mobitel Limited, Spectranet and Galaxy Wireless were said to have met the obligations and later NCC claimed that Galaxy Wireless did not pay up as at when due and allegedly attempted to replace them with Multilinks-Telkom.
It will be recalled that government cancelled the licences citing improper bidding and auctioning process and ordered a fresh sale but the determined Mobitel pressed its case and got its license.
Apart from Mobitel which got the nod to roll out on 2.3 GHz (the robust next generation technology), three more licenses are still in the freezer.
Also in the freezer is Nigeria’s chance to harness the technology touted as very important in the race leading up to broadband revolution because it helps operators provide mobile WiMAX services that are potentially much more transformative than any lone technological item.
As the uncertainty over the licenses lingers, stakeholders are asking if one man or group can hold down a country of more than 140 million people.
In the short term, Nigeria is thought to be losing over $2billion in fresh investment and chance to make broadband affordable and enhanced.
Broadband revolution is about a huge increase in the range of services that can be offered via the internet and digital television. It promises a new age in entertainment and communications, as well as a major boost for e-commerce.
Elsewhere, the continued inactivity at Nitel/Mtel has seen customers leave operator in their droves, due to poor network quality, with several service outages.
It is now doubtful if carrier can regain the ground that it has lost to its larger rivals.
Attempts to rejig the company with the recent privatization which saw New Generations Telecommunications Consortium emerging the winner with $2.5billion offer for Nitel/Mtel has been embroiled in controversy.
It is shocking that government is still hesitant to accept the sum for a carrier said to be worthless.
The sale to New Generation Consortium was the fifth on the long and tortuous journey to privatize the national carrier.
The rational thing to do would been to grant the consortium nod and wait and see if they would not meet their offer.
Coupled with the seeming lethargy in the auctioning of the remaining 2.3 GHz licenses, it appears Nigeria may sit at outskirt of the burgeoning broadband revolution.
The only way to avoid that is to ensure that every operator which is entitled to any license gets it.
The federal government should be mindful of sending wrong signals to foreign investors with its reckless policy somersault and reversals.
At least in the interest of the masses which the government claims to represent, telecom should be allowed to ‘cheetah pole-vault’ the economy.
If this is done Nigeria stands to gain from broadband revolution said to be of the same magnitude as the industrial revolution of the 1800s.
It is touted with the ability to speed up education, human resource development, as well as research and development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Nigerians Pay Some N87m in Bribes to Public, Private Officials In 2023

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At least N87 million bribes were paid to Nigerian public and private officials in 2023, according to data from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Nigerians Pay Some N87m in Bribes to Public, Private Officials In 2023

NBS data also indicated that of all Nigerian citizens who had at least one contact with a public official in the 12 months prior to the 2023 survey, 27 per cent paid a bribe to a public official.

According to the Bureau, Nigerians’ confidence in the government’s anti-corruption effort has been declining over time and across regions.

“While in 2019, more than half of all citizens thought that the government was effective in fighting corruption, in 2023, the share declined to less than a third of all citizens.

“The downward trend in the citizens’ confidence is observable across the entire country, with all six zones recording reductions of more than 10 percentage points between 2019 and 2023 in terms of the share of citizens who thought the government was effective in fighting corruption,” it stated.


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12 Professors, 15 Others Inducted into Shell Sabbatical, Research Positions

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The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) Joint Venture has significantly expanded its educational initiatives by inducting 27 Nigerian academics and research interns.

12 Professors, 15 Others Inducted into Shell Sabbatical, Research Positions

A cross section of participants in the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Joint Venture’s 2024 sabbatical and research programme in a group photograph with the leadership of SPDC’s Corporate Relations team at the induction ceremony held in Port Harcourt…recently.

This year’s programme, a 35% increase from the previous year, welcomed eight professors, four senior lecturers, and 15 other participants.

Held at the company’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, the induction ceremony marked the beginning of a one-year programme focused on knowledge exchange and skill development.

Drawn from 13 Nigerian universities, these participants will gain valuable industry experience in fields like biodiversity, petroleum engineering, and environmental impact assessment.

“The research and internship programmes are central to our commitment to supporting higher education in Nigeria,” explained Mr. Igo Weli, Shell Nigeria’s Head of Corporate Relations, and SPDC Director.

He described the programme as mutually beneficial nature by offering Shell access to specialised expertise from professors and lecturers, who in turn acquire practical industry knowledge and exposure to cutting-edge technologies.

Despite operational challenges, Mr. Weli reaffirmed Shell’s position as the industry leader in fostering a positive learning environment and empowering people.

Representing Mrs. Bunmi Edith Lawson, NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services, echoed Mr. Weli’s sentiments. She highlighted the programme’s significance in scientific exploration, environmental stewardship, and knowledge advancement.

“This is an investment in the next generation of innovators,” she stated, “and a way for us to give back to our stakeholders.”

The 2024 programme includes participants from a diverse range of universities across Nigeria, including the University of Benin, Rivers State University, University of Ibadan, Niger Delta University, and Ahmadu Bello University.

Others are Bingham University Karu, Federal University Wukari, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo State, Covenant University, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, University of Uyo, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, and Michael Okpara University of Agriculture.

 

 


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Ex Power Minister who Allegedly Stole N33Bn Gets N10Bn Bail

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Saleh Mamman, former minister of Power, who was charged for a N33 billion fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been granted bail.

Ex Power Minister who Allegedly Stole N33Bn Gets N10Bn Bail

During a sitting on Friday, at the Federal High Court in Abuja, Mamman was granted N10 billion billion with two sureties in like sum.

Issuing the verdict, James Omotosho, chief judge, held that the sureties must be owners of landed properties within the Federal Capital Territory with a minimum valuation of N750 million.

The judge stated that the sureties must swear an affidavit of means and submit their three-year tax clearance certificates, adding that certified copies of the defendant and sureties’ bank statements and their most recent passport photograph must also be submitted.

In addition, the judge directed the defendant to turn in his international passport to the court’s registrar, stating that the registrar must confirm every document before the defendant is allowed to leave custody.

The court further ordered that the defendant be held in jail until all bail requirements were fulfilled and that the sureties could provide a bank guarantee or bond of N10 billion. The case has been adjourned until September 25, 2024.

On Thursday, July 11, the judge ordered the remand of the former minister at the Kuje Prison after his not-guilty plea to all the 12-count charges preferred against him. His lawyer, Femi Ate, a senior advocate, however, told the court that a bail application had been filed on behalf of his client.

Although the judge stated the bail application had not yet made it into the court file, the lawyer representing the EFCC, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, also a senior advocate, admitted that the application had been received.

Meanwhile, the defendant had collapsed outside the courtroom before the hearing on Thursday but was revived with the help of his lawyers and some medical personnel at the court.

 


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