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Pantami Commends Agencies in the Communications Sector, Tasks them on NDEPS Plan

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Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), has commended all the agencies in the communications and digital economy sector for being dedicated to the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, and urged them to work collaboratively and co-ordinately in order to achieve the Federal Government’s strategic objectives as articulated in NDEPS.

Pantami stated this at a retreat organised by Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMoCDE) for senior management staff of the Ministry and all its agencies which commenced on March 31, 2022.

The retreat was convened to evaluate the implementation of NDEPS in the context of what has been achieved, what needs to be achieved, and what processes should be emplaced to enhance the capacity of the Ministry and Agencies it superintends to mobilise all stakeholders to accomplish the objectives of NDEPS.

The retreat took place at the Nigerian Army Officers Wives’ Association (NAOWA) Centre at Mambilla Barracks, Abuja.

Citing the most recent report of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Minister in his keynote and opening address told the forum that synergy among stakeholders in terms of co-operative posture, collaboration, coordination, deployment of social skills such as good listening skills, critical and analytical thinking, emotional intelligence, as well as project management and quality assurance skills, are central to organisational effectiveness, successes and the future of work, as projected by WEF. Pantami then urged all the agencies and their staff to challenge themselves to do more rather than think of themselves as competitors.

Also speaking at the retreat, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta asserted that the NCC has acted superlatively in implementing NDEPS and in the context of the vision of Federal Government and the supervision of the Ministry.

Danbatta who made clearly methodical presentation that chronologically documented NCC accomplishments under each of the eight (8) pillars of NDEPS, cited 10 of the 16 regulations that have been instituted in giving expression to Governments vision on developmental regulation, which is the first pillar of NDEPS.

These regulations were focused on Enforcement Processes, Lawful Interception, Quality of Service, Competition Practices, Licensing Regulations, and Universal Access and Universal Service among others.

Danbatta promised to also complete the review of the remaining soonest and activate their implementation. Danbatta, who used a triangulation method in contextualising the achievement of NCC under the first pillar, itemised the guidelines, regulations and policy development initiatives to discharge the burden of proof of NCC’s effectiveness in the regulation of ICT and digital economy sector through approaches that enabled development.

In implementing Digital Literacy and Skills, the second pillar, Danbatta also stated in his clearly explanatory presentation, that the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), set up by NCC in 2004, had trained 5,352 students through 49 institutions, provided educational training software to 398 secondary schools, and endowed 7 professorial chairs in various Nigerian universities across all the geopolitical zones.

On Solid Infrastructure, the third pillar of NDEPS, Danbatta stated that broadband penetration as at December 2021 was 40.88 percent, thus enabling 80 million Nigerians to have access to broadband services.

To reinforce the intensity of NCC’s commitment to improving broadband penetration, the EVC declared to the forum that NCC has emplaced a process for the deployment of optic fibre cable using Infrastructure Companies (Infracos). Danbatta was emphatic that the licensed Infracos have been directed by the Commission to commence immediate roll out without recourse to counterpart funding because the licence issued to them is independent of the counterpart funding agreement.

The Infracos are expected to lay 38,296Km of fibre optic cable. Also, in keeping with Government’s directive through a Federal Executive Council decision of 2005, NCC has constructed 32 Emergency Communication Centres (EECs) in various states, and 32 of those have been activated and are operational. Prof. Danbatta also documented copiously in his presentation, Commission’s achievement in the other five pillar areas.

Dr. Armstrong Takang, an innovative and technology-for-development specialist, who presented the lead paper as guest speaker, praised the Federal Government for concretely aligning ICT, and digital economy with national economic imperatives. Additionally, he commended NCC for driving the necessary infrastructure purposely and strategically, and for its effectiveness in regulating the telecom sector.

Takang, citing Lagos State and the Federal Capital Territory Administration as good models, Takang emphasised the correlates of adoption of technology or automation in economic growth and effective governance, crediting technology for improved internally-generated revenue in Lagos State. Takang recommended that Nigeria must link technology to specific programmes that are impacting and sustainable. He also asserted that Nigeria needs to undertake pilots for projects that are planned for implementation and utilise the results of the pilots to scale up and for budgeting. Takang also bemoaned the human capital challenge in the ICT sector in Nigeria, insisting that at least 500,000 software engineers are required to redirect efforts for effectiveness of policy.

The Director overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary in FMoCDE, Engr. Abubakar Ladan, and the following CEOs of the other agencies in the Ministry also made presentations on their efforts and activities towards accomplishing the objectives of NDEPS: Mr. Ayuba Shuaibu, Acting Executive Secretary, Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF); Dr. Abimbola Alale, Managing Director of Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), represented by Engr. Abdulrahman Adajah; Engr. Aliyu Aziz, Director General, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC); Kachifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); Prof. Muhammed Abubakar, Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone Plc; Dr. Adebayo Adewusi, Postmaster General of the Federation and Managing Director, Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST); and Dr. Vincent Olatunji, National Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB). All the agencies and the Ministry were well represented at the retreat by at least 6 officers in the directorate cadre.

 

 


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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. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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NCC, FintechNGR Renew Commitment to Deepen Nigeria’s Fintech Sector

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Following recent engagements with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Governing Council of FintechNGR, led by the President, Ade Bajomo, engaged with Dr Aminu Maida, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and his management team.

This meeting aimed to deepen the role of the telecommunications sector as a crucial enabler of fintech in Nigeria.

The engagement addressed the critical issue of connectivity and investment in public infrastructure, emphasizing the need for improved connectivity to support essential services such as schools, airports, fire services, police stations, and parks, thereby enhancing timely emergency response.

Ade Bajomo highlighted the inclusive nature of FintechNGR as a strength that regulators should leverage to develop robust policies and regulatory frameworks. He underscored the importance of harnessing Nigeria’s natural resources, particularly lithium, to power base stations and reduce operating costs for telecommunications players.

“Leveraging alternative energy sources built on lithium batteries will greatly enhance connectivity, facilitate efficiency, and drive environmental sustainability,” said Bajomo. He proposed a public-private collaboration to develop these mineral resources.

Dr Aminu Maida responded by emphasizing the need for Nigeria to build internal capacity for creating mobile devices. He noted that approximately 57% of mobile phones in Nigeria still operate on 2G networks, which do not provide broadband speed for users, and that the Commission is working with the industry and other cross-sectors to advance user transition to newer technologies such as 5G.

He stressed the importance of FintechNGR working with regulators to facilitate the maturity of fintechs through corporate governance empowerment, training, and mentorship. Dr. Maida also highlighted the need for a coordinated approach to combating fraud and cybersecurity threats in the financial sector.

“Deepening partnerships between fintechs, financial services providers, and the telecoms sector through collaboration will significantly strengthen innovation in Nigeria,” he said.

The NCC noted that it will work with FintechNGR to enrich the activities of the Regulators Forum—a forum of regulators and innovators in Nigeria that aims to balance regulation and innovation—to facilitate a more impactful Nigeria Fintech Week and leverage the Association as a valuable resource in future regulatory and policy development initiatives.


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17 Ijesha Digital Hub Graduands Secure Job Placements after Inaugural Training Program

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The Ijesha Digital Hub has announced that 17 graduates from its first cohort are to receive job offers following their successful completion of the training program.

Some of the Ijesha Digital Hub cohort 1 graduants flanked by dignitaries at the ceremony

This significant milestone was announced to the ecstatic graduates and the huge crowd that had gathered to witness the historic event by the Keynote speaker and member of the Board of Trustees of Ijesa Global Alliance for Development (IGAD), esteemed industry leader Sir Aladekomo, chairman of SmartCity Resorts Plc and founder of Chams Plc..

The graduation ceremony celebrated the achievements of 48 trainees who completed intensive training in various digital disciplines: 10 in UI/UX Design, 23 in Cybersecurity, and 15 in Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning.

These graduates are now equipped with cutting-edge skills and knowledge and recognized professional certificates in their respective digital domains ready to embark on their professional journeys.

In a press statement, Dr. Cornelius Adewale, executive director of Ijesha Global Alliance for Development (IGAD), remarked, “The immediate job opportunities for our trainees are a testament to the hub’s commitment to providing skills development training today so that participants can build tomorrow.

“We are proud of the engagement framework, training delivery, monitoring mechanism, and effective assessment we have developed. This initiative has the potential to transform Nigeria into a digital economy powerhouse.”

Prince Abimbola Olashore, chairman of IGAD, added, “The success of the first cohort of Ijesha Digital Hub underscores the significant role that targeted training programs play in addressing the skills gap in the Nigerian tech industry.

“The job placements of these graduates not only validate the quality of the training provided but also highlight the growing demand for skilled professionals in UI/UX Design, Cybersecurity, and Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning.”

Dr. Adewale Alonge, vice president of IGAD, also emphasized the broader impact of this achievement, stating, “This milestone demonstrates the effectiveness of our comprehensive training approach and the dedication of our trainees.

“By equipping them with relevant skills, we are not only empowering individuals but also contributing to the overall growth and development of the tech sector in Nigeria.”

Dr. Alonge noted that the achievement of the mission of the Hub would not have been possible without the dedication, commitment and leadership of the domain leaders, Dr: Adewale Obadare, Chief Visionary Officer, Digital Encode, for Cybersecurity, assisted by Mr. Tunji Igbalajobi, Mr. Ebenezer Ajayi (AI/ Machine Learning), Mr. Femi Bakare (UI/UX Design) and their team of mentors and instructors.

The event was chaired by Asiwaju Yinka Fasuyi, the esteemed Asiwaju of Ijeshaland, who delivered remarks celebrating the achievements of the graduates and the impact of the Innovation Hub on the local community and beyond.

The 48 graduates have achieved a minimum of one professional certificate (some have two or more) in their digital specialization and are poised for leadership position in the digital transformation of the Nigerian economy.

The Ijesha Digital Hub remains committed to its mission of fostering digital entrepreneurship incubation and acceleration and technological advancement, ensuring that more young Nigerians are prepared to thrive in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

One of the highlights of the historic event was the announcement of the launching soon of a 100 million Naira digital infrastructure fund for the “1000 Digital Workforce in 24 months” project, by US based world-renowned Engineering Professor Olu Olowokere. Dr. Babatunde Ojo, IGAD’s secretary and clinical medical director based in North Carolina, USA presented special awards to the six top graduates from the graduating class.


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WhatsApp to Deactivate Support for Certain Phone Models over Incompatibility

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WhatsApp has announced that it will no longer be supported on a variety of phone models starting from the summer of 2024.


WhatsApp to Deactivate Support for Certain Phone Models over Incompatibility

This decision affects a significant number of devices from popular brands such as Samsung, Motorola, Huawei, Apple, Sony, and LG.

Users are advised to check the list of incompatible devices to determine whether their phones are affected and whether they need to upgrade to continue using WhatsApp securely.

Surprisingly, some of the models on the list are quite old, but due to their decent hardware or lack of upgrade options, some users have been clinging onto WhatsApp for dear life.

At present, WhatsApp is recommending that users only use the app if they have a device running on Android 5.0 or later, or an iPhone with iOS 12 or newer.

The affected models include popular devices like Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus, Motorola Moto G, and various iPhone models like 5, 6, and SE.

This development highlights the rapid evolution of technology and the need for users to stay current with their devices to access essential services like WhatsApp.

As we move towards a more advanced digital age, it becomes increasingly crucial for users to regularly check for updates and ensure compatibility with the latest software and applications.

In light of WhatsApp’s decision to discontinue support for certain phone models, there are several key points that users should be aware of regarding this future incompatibility issue.

One of the main challenges associated with WhatsApp ceasing support for older phone models is the potential security risks involved.

Unsupported devices may become more vulnerable to security threats as they will no longer receive essential updates and patches from WhatsApp.

Additionally, users who are unable or unwilling to upgrade their devices may face difficulties in communicating with friends and family who continue to use WhatsApp.

On the controversial side, some users argue that tech companies should provide support for older devices to ensure inclusivity and accessibility for all users, regardless of their device’s age or specifications.

However, from WhatsApp’s perspective, maintaining support for outdated models may hinder the app’s ability to innovate and introduce new features that require more advanced hardware.


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