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el-Rufai Responsible for Nitel’s Death, Former Workers Claim

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Some former chief executives, union members and retirees of failed national carrier, the Nigeria Telecommunications Limited (Nitel) have joined the war of words over the failure of national carrier and asked the federal government to hold Nasir el-Rufai, former director general of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) responsible for the misfortunes of Nitel.

They said that the appointment of Pentascope, a little known Dutch company, to take over Nitel’s management in 2000 by the BPE, under el-Rufai’s watch was the cause of the death of the national carrier.

el-Rufai, also former minister of Federal Capital Territory and Abubakar Atiku, former Vice-President  have been trading words over the controversial contractual agreement with Pentascope.

The former Vice President said that el-Rufai was responsible for the failure of Nitel’s  privatisation as a result of personal interest.

el-Rufai through Mr. Muyiwa Adekeye, his media advisor, fired back saying that  it was understandable that Atiku (former Vice President)  would be enduring some unease at the disclosures made in el Rufai’s recently-launched memoir:

But Mr. Kunle Bello, a former managing director of Mtel, the GSM subsidiary of Nitel , said he foresaw the collapse of the national carrier due to insincere and inconsistent implementation of policies by the el-Rufa’i-led BPE.

Bello, who said he voluntarily resigned, described the Pentascope management brought in by el-Rufa’i as a disaster for the company and the staff, “who have been dying one after another” due to nonpayment of pensions.

Bello, an ITU telecommunications expert said Pentascope squandered more than N100 billion of NITEL’s hard-earned money, besides the loss of revenue without adding a single telephone line.

He challenged the nation’s judicial and executive arms of government to rise to the occasion to acquaint themselves of blame by going after the perpetrators of the fraud.

Prof. Buba Bajoga,  a former Managing Director of Nitel told National Mirror that the destruction of the national carrier was  “very painful.”

He said by the time he left the organisation as its head in 2000, Nitel was a very viable commercial organisation.

“We approved the payment of dividends to government and I remember that I left N15 billion and $200 million in the coffers of the organisation,” he said.

Bajoga said Nitel  made more profit than most banks. “We paid all our bills and were financing all our projects,” he added.

Also former workers said in a statement issued that the claim in a widely-circulated statement by el-Rufa’i that former vice-president approved the appointment of Pentascope, the failed management consultant hired to manage NITEL in 2003, was false.

The former workers, who said they held el- Rufa’i responsible not only for the collapse of Nitel, but also the destruction of their careers, said the issue at stake is beyond the debate of who signed and who did not sign.

“The issue is who issued or originated the memorandum to the National Council on Privatisation, NCP? How did el-Rufa’i, as BPE director-general pick Pentascope to manage NITEL?”

The retirees accused el-Rufa’i of misleading, not only the NCP, but the Federal Government by presenting Pentascope as a capable management company that could turn Nitel around.

The retirees went on to say that the true story of the destruction of their national carrier has been revealed in two reports by the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Quoting from the report, the retirees said that; “Rather than using Atiku as scapegoat for the collapse of NITEL to serve his hidden agenda, the concerned group of former Nitel workers advised El-Rufa’i to be honourable enough to accept responsibility for rail-roading and blackmailing the former NITEL board and the privatisation council into approving a contract that had short-changed Nigerians and children yet unborn.


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NDPR to Safeguard Personal Data of Nigerians -DG NITDA

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Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has disclosed that the motive behind the issuance of Nigerian Data Protection Regulations, (NDPR) by the Agency was to safeguard the right of natural persons to data privacy, fostering safe conduct for transactions involving the exchange of personal data, enablement of Nigerian businesses to be globally compliant and competitive and to create jobs for Nigerians.

 

Mallam Abdullahi revealed this Friday while delivering the keynote address  at the 6th annual conference of Institute Internal Auditors of Nigeria, (IIAN) with the theme:, “Agility and Resilience” which was held on zoom conference platform.

 

The Conference aimed at preparing participants across Internal Audits, Internal Controls, risk management, revenue and Government assurance and other business professionals to learn how to leverage on new technologies and procedures towards actualisation of the organisation’s goals and objectives.

 

The NITDA DG who was represented Director e-Government Development and Regulations, Dr Vincent Olatunji stated that since inception of the Agency in 2001, it has been playing a catalytic roles to spur the infusion of technology into nation’s work processes reiterating that the Agency plays “critical roles in capacity development, provision of working tools for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

 

“NITDA also has an existing arrangement with the office of the Auditor General of the Federation to aid the office in the discharge of its activities.”

 

Mallam Abdullahi said, “The Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) was issued on 25th January, 2020 by my predecessor, DrIsa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.

 

“As part of his think-tank then, our thinking was that Nigeria needed to quickly provide a regulatory framework for the processing of personal data.

 

“This was even more pertinent in consideration of the global implications of non-performance.

 

“Businesses where losing bids because investors felt there was no data privacy regime in Nigeria.

 

“The Agency’s implementation of the NDPR has been innovative and impact oriented. For the first time in data protection implementation, auditors became recognised as Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCO)”.

 

He maintained that NITDA has 72 licensed DPCOs among which are members of this “august body,” adding that “this posture is not as a result of lack of professionals in the IT industry, rather, we have made conscious efforts to carry every relevant stakeholder along in our developmental regulatory strategy.

 

“ I hope this noble institute would repay NITDA’s generosity by imbibing ethical and professional principles on your members for better implementation of the Regulation.”

 

Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, New Capital Cooperatives Society Mr. Benedict Anyalenka while commending the organisers of the conference affirmed that data privacy and protection should be a requisite skill needed for development of the Information Technology Sector as it would create platform for protection of information against unauthorized usage.

 

Anyalenka, however, called for proper awareness on the importance of data privacy among organisations and stakeholders across the country to safeguard citizens’ data.


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FG Reveals Plans to Deploy Technology in the Health Sector

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As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government of Nigeria has announced plans to deploy information and communications technology (ICT) in the country’s health sector.

This is part of the plans to achieve transparency and accountability in health care delivery across the country.

Dr. Ngozi R. C. Azodoh, director, Special Projects, Federal Ministry of Health, who represented Osagie Emmanuel Ehanire, Honourable Minister of Health, revealed this while speaking at MTN Nigeria’s Revv Programme masterclass on Thursday, September 17, 2020 .

The virtual session themed ‘Bridging the healthcare divide through technology and partnerships’ had in attendance health sector experts including Chief Executive Officer, Hygeia HMO Limited, Obinnia Abajue; Chief Operations Officer and Co-Founder, Afya Care, Kola Oni; Managing Director, Ingress Health Partners, Dr. Orode Doherty and Chief Executive Officer, Tremendoc Limited, Ugochukwu Chikezie. The session was moderated by the General Manager, Business Development, MTN Nigeria, Omotayo Ojulatayo.

According to Azodoh, the federal government has put structures in place to utilise ICT as part of efforts to standardise the healthcare system.

“The government is working hand in hand with state governments across the country to maintain transparency and accountability, adding that ICT and other forms of electronic platforms are currently being improved and expanded following the federal government’s COVID intervention”.

She also shared that the ministry is willing to support small businesses in the sector imploring the participating SMEs to seize the opportunities provided by The Revv Programme.

“I want to ask everyone who is listening to write to the MTN Revv team and say this is one thing I want the Federal Ministry of Health to do to help my business then we can engage on how to proceed,” she enthused.

In her parting remarks, she also commended MTN Nigeria for providing a platform for SMEs to expand their capacity. “I must commend MTN for this excellent initiative. It has been very productive for me and an opportunity to transfer knowledge.”

The Revv Programme is an initiative from MTN Nigeria to help small businesses rethink and retool their operations in order to withstand the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic using a four-pronged approach that includes masterclasses, access to market, productivity tools support and advisory initiatives.


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Peace House Charity Foundation Seeks for DCTC Intervention

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Mallam Kashifu InuwaAbdullahi, director general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), asserted that if we do not empower our people, they become a problem to the society in future.

 

He made this know on Friday while receiving a delegation from Peace House Charity Foundation,Yola who were at the Agency’s Corporate Headquarter, Abuja to seek for interventions in the areas of ICT.

 

The representative of the Director General, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, Director eGovernment Development and Regulation stated that one of the mandate of the Agency is the deployment of ICT infrastructure as such the Foundation’s visit at this time is very apt as the Agency is relentlessly working on the implementation of the Digital Economy strategy.

 

MallamAbdullahi affirmed that Agency at the moment is looking for organisations to partner with to sustain Digital Capacity Training Centres deployed across the country.

 

He commended the effort of the organisation in assisting orphans with not only providing basic education but also the provision of skills, mentorship and moral upbringing.

 

Speaking earlier, Mr Mohammad Bello, a Director with the Foundation said that the organisation was at the Agency to seek for ICT intervention and to commend NITDA’s effort in promoting ICT knowledge across the nation.

 

He stated that the organisation supports education for the orphans and the less privileged,  promote health care delivery especially among women and children, provide sensitisation workshop for parents (mothers) on parenting and matrimonial home, promote unity and encourage self-reliance among the populace.

 

 

 

 

 


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