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Danbatta Pledges Support to New WATRA Leadership

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Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has promised the new leadership of the West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA) of the unflinching support of the Commission towards advancing the socio-economic agenda of the Assembly for the sub-region.
Danbatta gave the pledge during a recent courtesy visit of the new executives of WATRA, led by its new Chairman, Sekou Oumar Barry of the Republic of Guinea. Barry came to vist Danbatta in company of the first and second Vice Chairmen of the Assembly, representing Mali and Sierra Leone respectively; as well as the Executive Secretary of WATRA, Aliyu Aboki, among others.
“In my capacity as the immediate past Chairman of WATRA, I promise my commitment to always share ideas with the new leadership of WATRA towards consolidating the successes so far recorded by WATRA under my leadership.
“I will give advice that will make you succeed as a friend and not the one that will undermine your authority,” Danbatta said, while welcoming the WATRA team in his office.
Speaking further, the EVC urged the new WATRA chairman to ensure diligent implementation of the new Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2022-2024 developed for WATRA. The EVC also emphasized that the strategic vision plan is expected to guide the activities of the Assembly over the next years.
According to Danbatta, the past one year of his tenure as former chair of WATRA has been eventful with a lot measures put in place towards deploying the power of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for advancing socio-economic development of the sub-region.
Danbatta acknowledged the important role WATRA has been playing in creating policy, legal and regulatory frameworks in the sub-region since the mid-1990s and commended the synergy among member states that has resulted in significant growth to the ICT ecosystem.
“I would like to congratulate my dear brother, Sekou Oumar Barry, on your emergence as the new WATRA chairman and to express, in very clear terms, our commitment as NCC and in my capacity as immediate past Chairman of WATRA to support your leadership to succeed in consolidating on existing achievements of the Assembly towards taking WATRA to a greater height,” he said.
Reinforcing his delight, Danbatta said, “This is an action in the right direction because we cannot deny the fact that successes are needed and financial and human resources are crucial to achieving success in any organization and WATRA with 16 member countries is not different.
“The expectation of our citizens is very high, especially in the area of ICT and we must strive to meet and surpass their yearnings.”
He further tasked the new WATRA executives to roll their sleeves and deepen the work they had started towards achieving the mandate, vision and mission of the Assembly.
“If we work together as a team, I believe we would make a lot of difference in a manner that will result in the socio-economic transformation of our sub-region in order to improve the standard of living of our people as we have seen this done successfully in many countries. So, we can repeat the same feat here in Africa,” he said.
In his response, Barry, who thanked Danbatta for making giant strides during his one-year tenure as Chairman of WATRA, assured of his readiness to work closely with member states and the EVC for valuable advice and guidance to collectively take WATRA to the next level over the next one year.
He pointed out that his leadership will focus on four key areas of priorities. These, according to him, include ensuring that the SMP is finalized and fully becomes operational, ensuring that member fees contribution is revised upward so that WATRA will have adequate resources to run its operation, build its permanent structure, and ensuring that the regional roaming policy for the sub-region becomes a reality.
“We want to ensure that the plan you started is not going to stop. We understand that the time left for us is short.
“We know we cannot do everything and that is why we are going to be focusing on the four key priorities areas as itemized above so that at the end of the tenure we can say we have succeeded on those priorities,” Barry said.
Danbatta handed over to Barry as the new WATRA Chairman during the 19th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Assembly which took place from March 29-31, 2022, in Conakry, Republic of Guinea.
The Assembly currently has 16 members states including Togo, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Nigeria, Niger Republic, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea Bissau, Republic of Guinea, The Gambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Ghana and Liberia.
WATRA, among other objectives, serves as a platform through which telecommunications regulators work together to broaden access to ICT services in the sub region. It also promotes the adoption of best global practices that stimulate investment in telecommunications infrastructure and services, deliver cheaper services to more citizens and connects people, societies and economies across West Africa and beyond.

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9mobile Refutes Claims of N55Bn Debt to Keystone Bank

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Board of Directors of Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited, trading as 9mobile, has refuted reports suggesting that a court ordered the company to pay a N55bn debt to Keystone Bank.

9mobile Refutes Claims of N55Bn Debt to Keystone Bank

In a statement at the weekend, the telecommunications company clarified that it was not a party to any legal suit or court order related to the debt.

The legal dispute involves only its minority shareholder, Teleology Nigeria Limited.

“Our attention has been drawn to a wave of syndicated media publications dated Friday, July 19, 2024, with the same misleading headline: ‘Court orders 9mobile to pay N55bn debt to Keystone Bank,’” 9mobile stated.

“The Management of 9mobile wishes to inform the concerned public and critical stakeholders that, contrary to this misleading headline, Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited, trading as 9mobile, was neither a party to any suit nor affected by the order said to have been made against it as an entity.”

On Friday, a section of the media reported that a Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, ordered Teleology Nigeria Ltd. to pay the sum owed to Keystone Bank.

Bode Olanipekun, SAN, Keystone’s counsel, claimed Teleology failed to service the loan used to finance its acquisition of assets in 9mobile.

Despite Keystone Bank’s offer to restructure the loan, Teleology did not meet the conditions set forth. Instead of repayment, the plaintiff received a proposal from PAC Ltd. suggesting a debt conversion to equity with no immediate repayment.

9mobile emphasised that the reports were false and defamatory, impacting its corporate reputation.

“If the correspondents who filed the obviously syndicated news stories were anywhere near the courtroom during the proceedings leading to the issuance of the said order, they would have known that at no point was 9mobile a party to the suit in question. Rather, the action was appropriately classified and filed as ‘Keystone Bank v. Teleology Nigeria Limited.’”

The company reiterated that no judgment was made against it and described the attempt to link 9mobile with the transaction of its minority shareholder, Teleology Nigeria Limited, as “false and maliciously misleading.”

9mobile highlighted that it is under new ownership, with a 95.5 per cent controlling stake in the business, and has not been found liable for the actions of its minority shareholder in the ongoing legal tussle.

“Our business transformation program has commenced, and we are poised to reclaim our place in the market,” 9mobile assured.

Teleology Holdings acquired 9mobile, previously known as Etisalat Nigeria, in November 2018 after a lengthy bidding process. However, just two months later, Teleology announced its withdrawal from the project due to dissatisfaction with its local partnership and operational challenges.

This decision jeopardised the initial $50m deposit made for the acquisition and highlighted ongoing financial difficulties faced by 9mobile, which has seen a significant decline in subscribers since its financial troubles began in 2017.

 


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TD Africa, BOSCH Strengthen Ties on Nigerian Consumer Electronic Market

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To further showcase its acknowledgment and endorsement of the Nigerian-born, Africa-wide technology distribution company, TD Africa, a delegation of Robert Bosch GmbH, popularly known as BOSCH, has paid a courtesy visit to the tech distribution giant at its Victoria Island, Lagos, head office.

L-R: Ifeoma Chigbo-Ndukwe (HR & Admin, TD Africa); Anastasia Etumeahu (Bosch Business Manager, TD Africa); Piet Ebersohn (Bosch Brand Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa); Chioma Chimere (Coordinating Managing Director, TD Africa); Chiamaka Okonkwo (Business Analyst, TD Africa); Omotola Basiru (Procurement Officer, TD Africa).

This pivotal visit marks a renewed commitment of the German multinational engineering and technology company to TD Africa as the strategic ally for Bosch business in Nigeria.

Mrs. Chioma Chimere, the Coordinating Managing Director of TD Africa, who warmly received the Bosch delegation, said the visit was to further strengthen the existing ties between the two companies and stamp the multinational’s presence in Nigeria.

Her words, “This visit signifies a renewed focus on making Bosch the most sought-after consumer electronics brand for the discerning Nigerian customer.

“We believe the collaborative strategies discussed will pave the way for big prospects and breakthroughs for Bosch in Nigeria, and TD Africa stands ready as a key partner in this journey.”

Topmost on the discussion were strategies for projecting TD Africa as the key distributor for Bosch products in the country. As both parties outlined plans towards achieving exponential growth through marketing initiatives, among others, to expand Bosch’s market share.

Mr. Piet Ebersohn, the Brand Manager for Bosch, Sub-Saharan Africa, who led the delegation, said: “TD’s commitment to the growth of the customer’s value chain is immeasurable and invaluable. This is one of the many reasons we value our partnership with TD Africa.”

For the continued efficacy of the alliance, the German company promised to ensure top-notch supply-chain management practices with TD Africa to ensure a steady flow of desired Bosch products to ease and meet the Nigerian consumer demands without delay.

While this collaboration further reinforces TD Africa’s commitment to making technologies accessible across the continent, the visit has again confirmed TD Africa’s position as the premier distributor of choice for leading global brands.


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FG Calls on Nigerians to Apply for ECOWAS Cybersecurity Hackathon

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Federal Government of Nigeria is calling on all Nigerian youths and IT enthusiasts to join the Capture the Flag (CTF) competition by registering to participate in the Economic Community of West Africa’s (ECOWAS) Cybersecurity Hackathon.

The event aims to empower citizens across the region with vital cybersecurity skills.

The event is being organised by ECOWAS and hosted by Nigeria in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, and NITDA.

The Cybersecurity Hackathon presents an excellent opportunity for both beginners and seasoned professionals to dive into the world of cybersecurity, acquire new skills, and network with fellow enthusiasts.

All talented individuals and teams are invited to join this exhilarating competition. Demonstrate your expertise, collaborate with peers, and push the boundaries of cybersecurity. Be part of the talent pool driving cyberspace security for your country and West Africa as a whole.

The hackathon fosters a platform for young technology enthusiasts, enhancing the cyber workforce in the region. Nigerian youths are particularly encouraged to participate and showcase their brightest minds in this competition. Whether a cybersecurity novice or a seasoned expert, this event offers a unique opportunity to learn new skills and connect with fellow cyber enthusiasts.

ECOWAS Hackathon is an annual ethical hacking competition that brings together top cybersecurity talents from across ECOWAS, providing a unique opportunity to showcase skills, encourage knowledge sharing, and promote excellence in the field of cybersecurity.

The first edition took place in Porto Novo, Benin Republic in 2022 and Lome, Togo in 2023.

Eligibility and Registration Details:

Registration Period: Open from July 19, 2024, to August 5, 2024.

Eligibility Criteria:

All participants must be citizens of ECOWAS

member countries.

Travel tickets will be provided for participants residing within the region.

Teams must consist of 3-4 members, with at least one female participant.

Participants must be between 17 and 35 years of age.

This initiative came at the time of a recent report by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC2), which highlighted a global gap of four million unfilled cybersecurity jobs.

The Federal Government of Nigeria is addressing this talent shortage through its 3 Million Technical Talent (3MTT) programme, organised by the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy.

The programme aims to train three million Nigerians in technical skills, including cybersecurity.

Register Now:

Don’t miss this thrilling opportunity to be part of West Africa’s cybersecurity community. Registration for the ECOWAS Cybersecurity Hackathon is now open. Join this exciting Capture the Flag (CTF) competition by clicking the link below: https://ecowasctf.ng](https://ecowasctf.ng)


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