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Digital Transformation Can Unlock Nigeria’s Prosperity -NIGCOMSAT Boss

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Mrs. Jane Egerton-Idehen, managing director, Nigerian Satellite Communications Limited (NIGCOMSAT), has said that the time has come to unlock Nigeria’s true potential, by embracing digital transformation and fostering a culture of innovation as a way to further enhance other sectors like Financial and Insurance (Financial Institutions); Trade; Agriculture (Crop production); Manufacturing (Food, Beverage & Tobacco); Construction; and Real Estate, among others.

Digital Transformation Can Unlock Nigeria’s Prosperity -NIGCOMSAT Boss

She said that over-reliance on the oil sector has created a vulnerable economy in Nigeria.

Egerton-Idehen said this in Nsukka on Saturday while delivering the 20th Herbert Macaulay Memorial Lecture themed, “Harnessing Practical Engineering Solutions for Sustainable Economic Development” held at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium Hall, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN).

Egerton-Idehen who spoke on the topic “Championing Innovation: Digital Transformation and Economic Diversification in Nigeria,” said that Nigeria has heavily relied on oil production for many years which has not augured well for the country’s economy.

She said that digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies like Robotics, Mobile Internet, Artificial Internet, to radically transform existing traditional and non-digital business processes and services.

According to her “The largest contributor to the nation’s GDP post-1970s was crude oil.  With the oil boom in 1973-74,  it was in the double digits at its highest; it was 40% of GDP until  post-2010 when sectors like Agriculture and ICT started to redistribute that balance.

“Currently, oil contribution to GDP has returned to a single digit — pre-1970 figures, it sits at 6% of GDP today. The oil sector still provides for 95% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings and 80% of its budgetary revenues.

“Nigeria, as we know, is a nation brimming with talent and potential, stands at a crossroads. While blessed with abundant natural resources, particularly oil, our economy remained heavily reliant on a single sector for over five decades.

“The price per barrel of oil needed for Nigeria to balance our budgets is– $139, Saudi Arabia $83.8, and UAE $67 (Kullab & Abdul-Zahra, 2020). Current global conditions make this untenable. Oil prices have crashed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, among other reasons (Alia Alzubair, 2021),” she said.

NIGCOMSAT Boss said further that the vulnerability to fluctuating oil prices exposes Nigeria to external shocks and hinders sustainable growth.

“There are many ways we can frame our road to diversification and non-dependence in the oil sector.

“With our experience with ICT, we can safely assume we could reform, and impact various sectors driving economic growth through digital transformation.

“This could be done by addressing the challenges and harnessing the opportunities, Nigeria can leverage digital transformation as a powerful tool for economic diversification, job creation, and shared prosperity.

In a remark, Prof Charles Igwe, vice-chancellor of UNN said that was one of the first Nigerian nationalists and his opposition to many colonial policies paved the way for the Independence of Nigeria

“Together with Nnamdi Azikiwe he co-founded the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroon (NCNC) and became its president.

The VC noted that the Faculty of Engineering initiated the biennial lecture series in order to achieve the following goals; Highlight the faces of a man who has been described as the father of Nigerian Nationalism, Encourage present da engineers, surveyors, architects, and other professional to learn from his professional lifestyles and make every effort to leave good footprints on the sand of time.

Other targets of the HMML series are; To map out strategies and mobilize resources to improve the teaching, learning, and research environment within the Faculty of Engineering and the university at large,, and to identify major National issues of engineering importance, and through the learned discourse proffer engineering solutions to them.

“The theme of this HMML, ‘ Harnessing Practical Engineering Solutions doe Sustainable Economic Development’ is very apt for Nigeria and the world over where sustainability is the current jingle for every developmental solution, and I am happy that very distinguished professionals have gathered here for the discourse,” he said.

Igwe challenged the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and other staff of the faculty to proffer immediate solutions to the energy crisis in the University and its environs.

Also in a remark, Prof. Emenike Ejiogu, dean, Faculty of Engineering, UNN said that the HMML series is one of the longest-running academic lecture series in any Nigeria university, noting that the faculty had instituted the lecture series in honour of Herbert Heelas Macaulay.

“The Faculty of Engineering Board resolved on October 5, 1978, to establish a Memorial Lecture series to be known as HMML, to honour Macaulay; the father of Nigerian nationalism, who trained and practiced as an engineer, architect, and surveyor.

“The first lecture was held in 1980 and has since continued every two years with many distinguished lecturers doing justice to the selected theme that the faculty board carefully selected according to the needs of time.

“This year’s (20th edition) HMML lecturer, Mrs. Egerton-Idehen is the first ever female to feature as an HMML lecturer, and she has chosen a very timely and appealing title for her lecture,” he said.

Ejiogu, who is also director, Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Power and Energy Development (ACE-SPED) UNN, commended Prof. Igwe, UNN- VC and his management team for their support and encouragement in all the endeavours of the faculty.

He also commended other lead paper presenters, relevant stakeholders and the general public who attended and contributed the the success of the 20th HMML.

The occasion was chaired by Prof. Paul Eke, a professor of Digital Technology and System Engineering, Royal Academy of Engineering, University of Leeds, United Kingdom.

The highlights of the 20th HMML include; Gown Meets Town, a Technical Exhibition of practical projects of staff and students of the faculty of Engineering and interested private and public sector companies and organizations, with products and services relevant to sustainable economic growth, Technical Symposium and Panel Discussion, Alumni Homecoming Events, Unveiling and Handover of Agbebi Alumni Class of ’85 Building, among others.

 


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Court Dismisses Base Stations Lawsuit Against ATC, MTN

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ATC Nigeria, a subsidiary of American Tower Corporation, and MTN Nigeria scored a major victory in court last week over constructing or operating base transceiver stations “within close proximity” to stations owned by IHS Towers Nigeria.

The lawsuit against the two had been filed by non-profit organisation, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre, in November 2023.

Additionally, HEDA also filed a contempt of court case against ATC Nigeria’s CEO, Errol Ambler-Smith, seeking his arrest, which HEDA later withdrew.

ATC Nigeria announced that on Friday, June 21, 2024, the court struck out HEDA’s suit against ATC Nigeria and MTN Nigeria on the grounds that it was speculative and failed to disclose any reasonable cause of action.

American Tower said it has “always been and remains committed to upholding” the highest standards of legal compliance and operational integrity in all its activities.

“We are pleased that the court recognised the speculative nature of HEDA’s lawsuit, and we are hopeful that this outcome will send a message to other similar potential speculative lawsuits. We appreciate the support and understanding of all our stakeholders as we continue to invest in, and provide critical infrastructure for, Nigeria’s telecommunications industry,” ATC Nigeria said in a statement.


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Airtel Boosts Sickle Cell Awareness with CrimsonBow Initiative Collaboration

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In commemoration of this year’s World Sickle Cell Day, Airtel Nigeria partnered with the CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative to host a well-attended sickle cell awareness and clinic over the weekend, at Dansol Primary School, Ikeja, Lagos.

The event which aimed at improving sickle cell education and supporting individuals living with sickle cell disease, featured free counselling for sickle cell patients, free medical testing, drug dispensing, and sensitization sessions to educate the public about the sickle cell disease.

Through the partnership, much-needed support and resources were provided to affected individuals while promoting early detection and proper management of the condition.

Commenting on the involvement of Airtel in the program, Chief Commercial Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Femi Oshinlaja, emphasized Airtel’s dedication to good health as part of the telecommunication company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals.

“We are proud to partner with CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative in this important endeavour, as it reflects our commitment to corporate social responsibility and improving community health outcomes. The goal of this partnership is to provide crucial support to individuals living with sickle cell disease and to help raise awareness about the condition.

“Through this partnership, we strongly hope to make a positive impact on the lives of those affected,” he said.

Speaking at the event, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative, Timi Edwin, expressed gratitude to Airtel. In her remarks, “This partnership with Airtel Nigeria allows us to extend our reach and provide essential services to more individuals living with sickle cell disease. We appreciate Airtel Nigeria for their support in making this event possible.”

Airtel Nigeria has continued to reinforce its position as an organization committed to the well-being of the society through various corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Asides initiative partnerships like this to combat the challenges faced by individuals living with sickle cell disease, they continue to make strides under several CSR initiatives, contributing to the overall effort to enhance the general wellness of Nigerians.

 


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Tinubu appoints Tunji Bello as CEO of FCCPC

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President Bola Tinubu has appointed Olatunji Bello as the new Chief Executive Officer/Executive Vice-Chairman of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, who disclosed this in a statement on Monday, noted that the appointment is pending confirmation by the Senate.

He said that the President expects that the new Chief Executive Officer of this important agency will ensure the holistic realization of the Commission’s mandate of protecting and promoting the interest and welfare of Nigerian consumers and ensuring the adoption of measures to guarantee the safety and quality of goods and services.

Bello, who is a lawyer, administrator, and renowned journalist, is the former secretary to the Lagos State Government and holds a Master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos.

“He studied Law at the same university and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2002,” the statement read.

“Bello began his career in journalism at the Concord Newspapers in 1985 and held the positions of Group Political Editor; Sunday Concord Editor, and Editor, National Concord.

“He is a winner of the US Alfred Friendly Press Fellowship and was appointed the Chairman, Editorial Board of THISDAY Newspapers in 2001.

“He also served as Commissioner for Environment under various administrations in Lagos State.


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