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Minister Commends NCC for Reducing Invalidly-Registered SIM Cards by 74%

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Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, minister of communications has commended the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for quick implementation of his directive to the Commission to tackle over 9.2 invalidly-registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards on Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country, saying the NCC has worked with MNOs to reduce the number by 73.61 per cent within one week.

The Minister gave the commendation during the presentation and oath-taking of four new members of Board of Commissioners of the NCC, already cleared by the Senate, to him in his office on Monday, September 16, 2019 in Abuja.

The new NCC board members were presented to the Minister by Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, the NCC Board Chairman, and in attendance were the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Clement Baiye, a non-executive commissioner on the Board of NCC, other senior management members of the Commission, officials of the Ministry, other industry stakeholders and members of the press.

At the occasion, the oath of office was subsequently administered on the new board members including Engr. Ubale Maska, as Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Prof. Millionaire Abowei; Salman Abdul-Azeez and Aliyu Abubakar, three of who are non-executive commissioners.

While congratulating the new members over their appointments by the President, Pantami urged them to “work together with existing board members of the Commission on how we can effectively utilise telecoms and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in general to support the tripartite agenda of the President to improve security, improve economy and reduce poverty as well as fight corruption.”

Pantami further enjoined the Board members to work harmoniously with each other and leverage their wealth of experience to double the contribution of ICT to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the next coming years.

According to him, “By the second quarter of this year, ICT had contributed 13.86 per cent to the country’s GDP and this is encouraging.

“Generally, non-oil’s GDP contribution to economy was 91 per cent. The NCC has played a significant role in this direction and I will enjoin the NCC Board members and management to always challenge yourselves to exceed current or previous successes.”

Pantami also noted that NCC had briefed him on the 200 access gaps in the country where almost 40 million Nigerians do not currently have access to telecommunication services and which, he said, must be addressed.

“We would have succeeded in doubling the sector’s GDP contribution if we work together to close about 80 per cent of this 200 access gaps.

“As part of measure to achieve this, the NCC has told us about its plan to have access points in all the 774 local government areas in the country and as a ministry, we won’t hesitate to give you necessary support in this regard,” Pantami said.

Elaborating on the reduction in invalidly-registered SIM cards success by the NCC, the Minister thanked the Commission for its promptness in implementing the directive he had given to the Commission last week to take immediate measures towards reducing the over 9.2 million invalidly-registered SIM cards on the networks.

“Last week, I made an official statement that we had directed the NCC to ensure operators address the issue of over 9.2 million invalidly-registered SIM cards on their networks.

“By today, report from NCC indicated that 6.75 million of the SIM cards have been rectified and this is highly commendable,” he stated.

While noting that the number of cleared SIM cards represents an appreciable 73.61 per cent reduction in the 9.2 million figure, leaving only 2.4 million yet to be cleared, the Minister urged the NCC to ensure the remaining numbers “are cleaned up by September 25, 2019, so that every SIM card that is involved in any crime-related issue can easily be identified.”

According to him, “Ninety per cent of security issues today lies on ICT and as such, NCC has a critical role to play in helping to address the issue of insecurity in the country, which is one key agenda area of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“I believe we have a strong team at the Commission to build the ‘Next Level NCC’ for the country.”

In his remarks, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, chairman of NCC Board thanked the Minister for his readiness to support the Commission in his various efforts at leveraging the ICT/telecoms to create economic prosperity for the country.

He stated, though “we are still expecting two new board members already appointed by the President to join the Commission once the National Assembly resumes from recess to have the full complement of 9-member Board of NCC, the Commission is committed to leveraging ICT to support Mr. President’s agenda at improving security, bolstering the economy and reducing poverty as well as in fighting corruption.”

 

 

 


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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Satellite Operators Push New Signal across Africa, Indian Ocean Regions

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The Agency for Air Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA), has started to broadcast a Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) signal over Africa and Indian Ocean (AFI), providing its first open service in the region via NIGCOMSAT-1R Satellite managed and operated the by Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd., under the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

Satellite Operators Push New Signal across Africa, Indian Ocean Regions

This early open service is provided as part of the programme, which pursues the autonomous provision SBAS services in Africa, to augment the performances of the satellite navigation constellations GPS and Galileo.

With improved accuracy to within a meter, and boosted integrity, availability, and continuity of safety-related applications, these SBAS services will improve flight safety and efficiency in Africa, and also benefit the economy in many areas as land, sea, and rail transport, as well as mass-market applications, supporting user safety, cost-effectiveness, and sustainable development.

The launched open service essentially aims to carry-out technical trials, and to undertake partner airlines field demonstrations for aircraft and rotorcraft, to demonstrate the benefits of the future operational safety-of-life SBAS services, expected from 2024. It will also include early Precise Point Positioning (PPP), and emergency warning service to populations, which performance will be proven through other demonstrations.

The signal-in-space is generated by a dedicated system tested, developed as part of the “SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean” preliminary design phase, financed by the European Union, and awarded to Thales Alenia Space, Joint Venture between Thales (67 per cent), and Leonardo (33 per cent).

The “SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean” is based on the European EGNOS (1) developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), acting under the delegation of the European Commission and operated by the European GNSS Agency GSA.

The system prototype uses as reference stations the SAGAIE network deployed by CNES and ASECNA with the support of Thales Alenia Space.

The signal is broadcasted via the SBAS payload on NigComSat 1R GEO satellite of the Nigerian Communications Satellite, and an uplink station deployed in Abuja, Nigeria.

It is compliant to the standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and the minimum operational performance standard developed by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) organisation.

It will be visible in the whole of Africa and the Indian Ocean, up to the West Australian coast, and also in Europe.

Dr. Abimbola Alale, managing director/chief executive officer of NIGCOMSAT, said: “we are proud to be part of this ambitious program to provide satellite navigation services in the Africa and Indian Ocean region. The use of our geostationary communication satellite NIGCOMSAT-1R navigation payload to broadcast the first signal will be Africa’s premier contribution to SBAS as a regional satellite-based augmentation system for the continent.”

On his part, Benoit Broudy, vice president, Navigation Business at Thales Alenia Space in France, said the longstanding expertise acquired with the development of EGNOS1 SBAS in Europe, and KASS SBAS in Korea, combined with the new leading-edge satellite positioning technologies make Thales Alenia the ideal partner to best support countries to implement their own SBAS efficiently.

“The equatorial region represents also a key engineering challenge for such a system due to difficult ionosphere conditions, for which Thales Alenia Space has developed a proven solution,” he stated.

Mohamed Moussa, director-general of ASECNA, said the provision of the first African SBAS early service is a crucial major step forward in the development of satellite navigation in the AFI region, and in the deployment of the “SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean” system, the navigation solution for Africa by Africa.

He said: “It demonstrates the ambition and commitment of ASECNA to enhance air navigation safety for the benefit of the whole continent, in line with my vision for the unification of the African Sky.”


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ipNX, USTDA Ink Partnership Deal to Develop Nigeria’s ICT Infrastructure

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ipNX, Nigeria’s pioneering and leading information, communications and technology (ICT) company and the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) have signed a partnership deal that will further support the development of Nigeria’s ICT and broadband infrastructure and help ipNX expand its fibre-optic network to more than 200,000 residences in Lagos and other locations, including Abuja and Port Harcourt.

A virtual signing ceremony that signalled the beginning of this far reaching relationship between the two parties was held on Thursday, September 17, 2020.

Through this innovative initiative, the USTDA is supporting ipNX to promote inclusive, secure and sustainable connectivity across the nation.

The agreements were made possible as a result of several engagements between the USTDA delegation to Nigeria and the leadership of ipNX; and will advance the goals of the recently updated Nigerian Broadband Plan.

At the Signing Ceremony, Ejovi Aror, group managing director of ipNX, said: “We believe that world-class connectivity and broadband internet access will be pivotal to the digital transformation and socio-economic development of Nigeria.

‘We are very positive that this project will play a crucial role in making our belief a reality.”

Aror added that with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the case for a vibrant ICT sector has never been stronger and the new partnership will bring ipNX a step closer to achieving its mission to continually leverage technology to create innovative solutions that help mankind thrive, while making a crucial impact to the lives of Nigerians across the country.

Mary Beth Leonard, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, said’ “These projects will support the development of Nigeria’s telecoms infrastructure and help to achieve the goals of the National Broadband Plan.

“The U.S. Government has committed significant resources to improving telecoms infrastructure in Nigeria and this support is crucial as we believe that investment in critical ICT projects will strengthen the resiliency outlined in Nigeria’s economic sustainability plan.”

Also present at the virtual event, the Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Engr. Bako Wakil, who spoke on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, said: “The support this grant will provide to the telecommunications sector, in particular broadband, is in line with the National Digital Strategy and the National Broadband Plan.

“The NCC would like to congratulate ipNX as it shows the company’s integrity and commitment to be selected for this grant”.

ipNX also revealed that it intends to continue to work with USTDA beyond the preliminary stage, to execute many more projects into the future that will bring about the digital transformation and socio-economic development of major cities in Nigeria in alignment with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy.

With their partnership, both parties fully agree that further development of the nation’s broadband infrastructure is key to unlocking the potential promised by Nigeria’s digital economy.

According to the World Bank’s ‘Nigeria Digital Economy Diagnostic Report’ released in 2019, Broadband is a key enabler to harness the digital economy transformation and high-speed broadband has the potential to accelerate Nigeria’s socio-economic development.

 


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Manfa, ANSICTA Boss Pledges to Collaborate with NITDA for Establishment of Zonal Office in Anambra State

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Mr Theo Manfa, managing director/chief executive officer, Anambra State Information and Communication Technology Agency, (ANSICTA) has hinted that they are ready to collaborate with National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) for the establishment of the agency’s South-East Zonal office in the State.

 

He stated this when he led ANSICTA delegation to NITDA’s head office in Abuja recently.

 

Mr Manfa explained that the call for special requests by the state is necessitated by the fact that the state “has long been known as a home of innovation and entrepreneurship, through the various markets like Onitsha and Nnewi and the plethora of locally produced goods they spawned over time.”

Dr Vincent Vincent Olatunji, Director E-Government and Regulation NITDA receiving an award on behalf of the DG from Theo Manafa MD ANSICTA

He said that innovation and entrepreneurship are important elements to drive the digital economy which the nation is striving to create adding that the state has been watching with keen interest the activities of Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and NITDA which necessitated the intended partnership.

 

He requested NITDA’s partnership with ANSICTA in building an ICT Hub in Anambra State; hosting a NITDA regional office; hosting NITDA events and programs as a State and region; trainings and Skills development programs of NITDA where the State hopes to train 40,000 residents in the next 2 years in Digital skills; establishment of cooperation on the Nigeria Government Enterprise Architecture (NGEA) and the provision of the Unity Board where 150 units were requested for a program for secondary schools in Anambra.

 

ANSICTA also presented an award to the Director General for his “Outstanding Achievements in Driving theDigital Economy” which was received by Dr. Vincent Olatunji on behalf of the DG.

 

Dr. Olatunji responded along with comments from some of the Directors and said NITDA would be glad to cooperate with the State.

L-R: Theo Manafa, MD/CEO of ANSICTA, Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi, DG of NITDA and Michael Orekyeh, COO of ANSICTA

He said it was gratifying to note that Anambra State now has an ICT Agency as Gov Willie Obiano had visited NITDA 6 years ago and the agency had worked with the State in developing an ICT policy for Anambra.

 

The success of that exercise is the take off of the agency (ANSICTA) which is the execution arm of the policy developed by NITDA.

 

He further said ANSICTA was by the speech of its MD really in tune with the affairs and mandates of NITDA and stated that ANSICTA should make a formal application for the things requested at this meeting will be looked into by Management for approval by the Director General.

 

He also thanked ANSICTA for recognizing the hard work of the DG through the award they presented, which he said was most encouraging.

Michael Orekyeh; chief operating officer of ANSICTA was part of the delegation from Anambra State. while the Director General of NITDA, Malam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi was represented by the Director E-Government and Regulation, Dr. Vincent Olatunji; Director Office of ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship – OIIE, Dr. (Mrs.) Amina Sambo Magaji; Deputy Director of IT Infrastructure, Dr. Saidu Kumo; SA Technical to the DG, Dr. Mohammed Yahaya; Corporate Strategy Department, Dr. Taofik Yekini and other Directors and Key Management Staff.

 

 

 


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