Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman/ceo of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has disclosed that over 1,500 COVID-19-related calls were received and processed through the Commission’s Emergency Communications Centres (ECCs) in the peak of the pandemic in Nigeria.
The EVC made this disclosure during the commissioning of the ECC in Owerri, Imo State over the weekend by the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.
The event which was hosted by the Executive Governor of the State, Sen. Hope Uzodimma, had in attendance, the Chairman, NCC Board of Commissioners, Prof. Adeolu Akande; NCC Board Member, Chief Uche Onwude; Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, among other dignitaries.
According to Danbatta, “During the total lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ECCs played a remarkable role by providing a platform for members of the public to seek lifesaving information or support and reporting COVID-19 related cases by dialling ‘112’ from any of the networks.
“I am happy to report to you that over 1,500 COVID-19-related calls were received and processed by the ECCs in the peak of the pandemic.”
The EVC said the ECC project, equipped with necessary Information Technology (IT) tools and personnel, is a one-stop shop through which members of the public can access help from any response agency, stating that the centre is essentially aimed at enhancing the security of lives and property of the citizens.
He listed the response agencies to include the Nigeria Police (NPF), the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Fire and Ambulance Services, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and all its affiliate State Emergency Management Agencies, among others.
While restating the Commission’s commitment to operationalise the ECCs in all the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, the EVC said 19 ECCs have been activated so far. The beneficiary states include Katsina, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Ogun, Plateau, Enugu, Benue, Akwa-Ibom, Cross-River, Oyo, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Adamawa, Kogi, Anambra and Imo States and FCT.
“We have no doubt that, if put to maximum use, and kept functional at all times, the ECC facilities will serve to complement the State Government’s efforts at enhancing the security of lives and property of citizens,” Danbatta said.
Speaking during the tour of the ECC facilities, the Minister thanked the State Government for giving the necessary support to the NCC to facilitate successful implementation of the project, which has been bringing succor to the people Imo State.
He assured of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to support more initiatives aimed at achieving the tripartite agenda of the President which focuses on addressing security issues, improving the economy and curbing corruption.
The Minister noted that the country’s economy will reap huge benefits from effective implementation of more Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-driven projects across the country.
The Executive Governor of Imo State, Sen. Hope Uzodimma, thanked the Minister and the NCC for the ECC initiative, which he said has enhanced security of lives and property in the State.
MTN Launches Revamped Pulse Campaign for Youths
MTN Nigeria has unveiled a new revamped pulse campaign for its youth proposition, at an exclusive listening parley on Friday.
The campaign tagged #DoYou features a television commercial and radio jingle which encourage Nigerian youths to embrace authenticity and push for their dreams.
The well-attended event was hosted by media personality and event host, Biodun Laaro with appearances by celebrities including popular musician JoeyBoy, BB Naija’s Ozoemena Chukwu and Nengi Hampton, YouTube personality, Fisayo Fosudo, personal finance expert, Tosin Olaseinde among others.
Leveraging the diversity of the Nigerian youth, their varying interests and strong desire for significance, the revamped Pulse proposition empowers young people with lower call and data rates with social media bundles starting from N200.
While unveiling the revamped Pulse plan, Oluwole Rawa, general manager, Consumer Marketing, MTN Nigeria, reaffirmed the company’s commitment to provide Nigerian youths with the required support to showcase their creativity.
He added that, “At MTN Nigeria, we fully comprehend the need for youths to express their creativity and use their voices.”
“We understand that if the right platforms are in place, the Nigerian youth can change the world, for good. This is what we intend to inspire through the provision of affordable data and tariff plans on MTN Pulse.”
He further noted that the company is passionate to see youths across the country display their vibrancy in all facets of their lives.
MTN Pulse is a prepaid tariff plan that allows customers to enjoy a flat rate of 11.26k/sec for calls across all local networks in Nigeria and nightlife bundles of up to 2GB for N200.
No Unregistered SIM Cards on Nigerian Networks- Pantami
Dr Isa Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has claimed that there are currently no improperly registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards on the networks.
Recall that some 9.2 million SIM cards which were improperly registered were blocked in September 2019.
Pantami who was reacting to reports claiming that he had been summoned by the Senate over continued usage of unregistered SIM cards in the country, said he has written to all security agencies and urged them to collaborate with the ministry whenever a crime had been abetted through the use of telecommunication devices.
In a statement by Dr Femi Adeluyi, technical assistant on Information Technology to the minister on Thursday in Abuja, said that Pantami was awaiting an official invitation from the lawmakers and would like to sincerely thank the Distinguished Senators for their concern and support towards improving national security.
According to him, the minister had always supported security agencies in their statutory duties of protecting lives and property.
“This is why his first action after his appointment was to issue a directive that no improperly registered SIM cards be allowed to remain on our networks.
“Based on the report submitted by the Nigerian Communications Commission on September 26, 2019, there is currently no improperly registered SIM on our networks.
“In the event of evidence to the contrary, the minister will sanction any individual or institution found wanting,” he said.
He said that Pantami wrote to all security agencies on October 14, 2019, where he urged them to collaborate with the ministry whenever a crime had been abetted through the use of telecommunication devices.
“No request by security agencies for assistance in the identification of owners of SIMs used for crime has gone untreated in his office.
“The minister also submitted a detailed memorandum to the Senate Ad hoc Committee on Nigerian Security Challenges on February12.
“It contained details on policies developed by the ministry to enhance security,” he said.
He said that the minister also directed the NCC to ensure that it put in place modalities to tie the National Identify Number (NIN) to SIMs, as well as see to it that no unregistered SIMs were being sold.
Adeluyi said that Pantami also directed the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to significantly scale up the number of monthly NIN registrations.
He said that the minister recently presented a Draft National Policy on Digital Identity for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the Federal Executive Council, which took place on November 11.
“The memo was approved and will support in the provision of Digital IDs for Nigerians, thus assisting in the implementation of the policy to tie NINs to SIMs.
“The minister wishes to assure the senators and Nigerians that the ministry is committed to using technology to support the growth of our economy and the security of our nation.
“To this end, we look forward to collaborating with the senate and security agencies in this regard,” Adeluyi said.
MTN is Leading the Charge for Africa’s Fourth Industrial Revolution- Dr. Ndukwe
Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, chairman, MTN Nigeria Communications PLC, has highlighted the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) on the African continent, noting that it has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world.
Dr. Ndukwe stated this during a keynote session at the African Continental Free Trade Area Strategy Workshop held on Friday, November 20, 2020,
According to him, “while the first, second, and third industrial revolutions focused on Steam Engineering, Electrification and Assembly Line, and Computing Internet Nuclear Energy respectively, the 4IR is building on the third.
“The 4IR is characterized by a fusion of technologies that are blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.
Highlighting the opportunities presented by the 4IR in Africa, Dr. Ndukwe asserts that the revolution represents a unique opportunity for African countries to leapfrog over development hurdles with the help of technology.
Not forgetting the role that telecommunication companies play in the acceleration of the 4IR in Africa, Dr. Ndukwe elucidated on how MTN Nigeria is taking the lead on this.
The Nigerian telecommunications industry in 2020 has recorded an increase in National Broadband penetration, contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Traffic, Radio Latency, and others.
He stated that MTN is leading on the tripartite levers for 4IR acceleration, which include Pervasive Broadband through advances in 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), amongst other categories.
Through innovations in these areas, the telecommunications company is at the forefront of enabling transformation through secure, high-speed connectivity and cloud solutions.
Apart from telecommunications companies, Dr. Ndukwe highlighted other drivers of 4IR on the African continent.
He mentioned that African policy makers and regulators would need to use a “united vision to seize opportunities as well as create incentives for technology adoption in national priority sectors like agriculture and energy.”
He expounded on the roles of Business Associations, which include raising awareness and providing information about the potential and markets for technologies while also increasing investments in training.
Dr. Ndukwe concluded that development partners would need to “finance projects on the impact of the 4IR on African economies and societies, support the creation of regional R&D centers and foster linkages with R&D centres.”
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