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2011: ICT4D Plan Missing as Politicians Chase Shadows

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Election fever is sweeping across the country but presidential aspirants are not talking about how to use information and communications technology (ICT) to underpin Nigeria’s regeneration, proffering instead to focus on the same political gimmicks that now sound like broken records, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek can now reveal.
Worried ICT professionals described the situation as scary, urging greater focus by the aspirants on ICT to hasten the rebuilding of the country’s economy hobbled by years of mismanagement and neglect.
But politicians seemingly unconcerned have continued to marshal out their governance agenda and leadership qualities and occasionally slinging mud at rivals.
Though all the aspirants anchored their campaigns so far on promises to fight corruption, job creation, improvement on security of lives and properties and the overall improvement in standard of living, none however has said how these would be achieved.
Titi Omo-Ettu, president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (Atcon) said that the body will task all presidential aspirants for the 2011 general elections on their plans and agenda for Information Communication Technology in Nigeria.
Omo-Ottu noted that the ICT sector can not be ignored because it offers huge businesses, waiting for Nigerian IT professionals to leverage on. He said that his body will invite the presidential candidates of all political parties for the 2011 elections to address its members on plans they have for ICT.
Welcoming the development, Benson Akuche, ICT and investment expert based in the United States of America said “the aspirants have all got off on the wrong foot. At this stage, there is no mention of specific issues. They should be talking in clear terms how they intend to deliver good governance”.
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that lack of attention on details can wreck some of the aspirants’ political campaigns particularly now that Nigerians are tired of their oratory and undelivered promises in the past.
Frank Durumba, a direct marketing consultant said that most of the aspirants have launched high tech campaign strategies to woo voters and sell their candidatures but have not said a word about how to tackle the menace of internet scams that have earned the country notoriety as a fraud haven.
“From day one, the aspirants should have been talking cyber policing, fighting online crime and child protection online and so on,” Durumba said.
Also the issue of the licensing process of 2.3 GHz spectrum band that was expected to boost the telecommunications sector has remained unresolved since 2009 and so far, the aspirants have not talked about it.
“I expect to be hearing how an aspirant intends to make broadband internet, the life wire of development. Broadband is already a basic right in some country but has remained largely under developed in Nigeria, because of the unseriousness of successive governments,” Akuche added.
Elsewhere, taxation on ICT is hurting fresh investment in the only thriving sector and no aspirant has said anything about how to address the indiscriminate quest for internally generated revenue from the telecoms industry by all tiers of government.
Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunication of Nigeria, (Alton) said even as revenue sources are critical for the development of Nigeria, telecom companies are constantly harassed, their base stations and offices locked indiscriminately by governments.
“With respect, our major challenge stem from the activities of States and Local Governments. Members have brought documents evidencing requests for taxes and levies that are, in our view, outside of what is prescribed by law,” he added.
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek also gathered that redesigning the educational curriculum, creation of ICT parks/innovation hubs to create new ICT entrepreneurs capable of leap-frogging the country’s growth should have formed part of the agenda of the aspirants.
According to Deji Kadiri, managing director of ZeeSoft Nigeria Limited, ICT presents Nigeria the rare chance to join the league of the fastest developing countries of the world.
“If the aspirants are not talking about ICT, it is scary in my opinion because this is one area that Nigeria can quickly leverage on to join the league of industrialised nations like South Korea and Singapore. The investment here is minimal compared to setting up a motor manufacturing plant,” Kadiri said.


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Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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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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