By Hashim Suleiman
Events have passed in the past week during the commissioningof the Emergency Communication Centre among other projects associated with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. Such events have as usual attracted interests from mischievious Nigerians as is always is with progressive stories. The question is: When are we going to learn to be more critical for crying out loud?
What makes one wonder even more is how much such writers do without researched information or understanding of how governance should be in the 21st century. Poorly written pieces laced with terrible grammar are what you see and some of them may suggest to you that it is a paid plot from very less strategic individuals who wish to drag every effort by the superstars of the Buhari Administration for trying to ensure the success of the administration of Mr. President in tandem with the loads of the expectations of the people. Such sponsors don[t have any business being in governance; their motive is other than progress.
People like me would have chosen to ignore such cheap shenanigans of politicisation of every little intent, but I won’t because my love for Nigeria has refused me to be beclouded by sentimental or political considerations on critical matters that pertain to national development and of which my nation so desperately require.
I read opinions suggesting why the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy would not enforce discipline in his Ministry even when the cardinal belief of his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, is discipline. I wish there would be more Ministers in this administration who would take the matter of indiscipline as much as Dr Pantami does. Those cheap opinions only go to show how much indiscipline has eaten deep into us and we must do something about just like I am doing now.
Have we forgotten so soon how some of the populace were insisting on Buhari to be a little more harder on Nigerians as that was the only way we could get Nigerians into shape? Unfortunately, the man was guided by the principles of democracy and resorted to taking things easy.Even at that some people still complain of the fact that he is slow in his approach and what nots. Some others also think he is autocratic and all of them are various opinions of how confused we can be sometimes regarding what we really like and something to further indicate how difficult it is for leaders to bring about change in our society.
Going specifically into the event of the commissioning which created so much buzz, Mr President only chose to showcase his democratic part by allowing his appointees to do what is appropriate in correcting anomalies that he himself abhors. How then are people trying to mischievously pitch the Minister and his principal on the enforcement of the belief of the latter? Can’t you all see yourselves.
I heard and read the speech of the President and in it you could clearly see how he highlighted the synergy that the Honourable Minister had been able to create amongst the Ministry and agencies under its supervision. You could also see that the event that took place there was an idea that had been muted long before then during the unveiling of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, during the e-Nigeria Conference last year. He appreciated the efforts of the HonourableMinister so far in terms of the efforts being put at trying to redirect Nigeria towards the non-oil revenue earner. Dr Pantami or any other well-meaning leader would not allow all such achievements to be rubbished on the alter of politics or indiscipline. The Federal Ministry of Communications and DigitalEconomy is today arguably the Ministry with most synergy between it and its agencies. These successes could be the reasons some people, both internal and external, are not happy about.
Talking about who built the facility, even if it was Mango Park that built the facility and is standing with no usage, no sensible leader would come and start to bore people with stories of how it came by, the interest must be of how it was going to be utilised and in this case the matter was under the purview of the Communications and Digital Economy which Dr Isa Ali Pantami superintends over. Was there supposed to be arguments over who did or who did not? How has writing an article become this cheap for God’s sake? We should be bigger than that.
As a matter of education, let me share my little understanding of a Ministry while growing up. Ministries were all in all of the government, every aspect that pertains to issues relating to a particular Ministry were always championed by such Ministry and all correspondences to the President on such matters must be communicated appropriately. Unfortunately, the recent leaders of the past who themselves were bereft of indiscipline and have also transferred same to the citizenry have reduced ministries to be lower than some Parastatals. These issues cannot be disconnected with corruption in terms of which the CEO settles the most if you know what I mean. It is high time such is stopped and we should even be thanking Dr Pantami on efforts to restore the pride and essence of ministries rather than denigrating him.
Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami is the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy and his responsibilities are those of the management of the Communications and Digital Economy sectors of Nigeria. We cannot then choose to drag him down over his attempts to make sure the sector works. Everyone has agreed to the fact that things have changed regarding the responsiveness of all of the arms of that sector and I can challenge anyone to an open public debate on the matter. Researchers and those sensible Nigerians who wish well for the nation would easily agree with me on this. From the NCC to NITDA and NIPOST, this is exclusive of the so many that are on the pipeline and that some of us are privy to. Is this the person we would want to denigrate for reasons bordering on indiscipline which we the citizenry are also absolutely guilty of? Capital NO!
The Honourable Minister before assuming the Ministerial position has had this Digital Economy idea in him as showcased through his performance as the DG/CEO NITDA. For those of you who are blinded mostly by politics and mischief, you will do yourselves and the nation good by visiting Higher Institutions of learning around the country to find out NITDA’s intervention in ICT. One was just recently commissioned at the University of Port Harcourt. Not to mention areas like Data Protection and Regulation Frameworks, Smart Agric policies, Cybersecurity and securing for NITDA the ISO27001 certification amongst others. Little wonder why he made commensurate recommendation for the appointment of a Director General who would, in synergy with him and others, help to actualize a digitalized Nigeria. I have once heard where he has said NITDA’s books were open for the public to check and recent checks by the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives gave a clean bill to the Agency with commendation too. These are physical achievements and not rhetorics.
He has then catapulted to the Ministry and is trying hard in areas like broadband and SIM security. He has brought the various components of the Ministry to help achieve the very important mandate that does not require jokes, indiscipline and incompetence.
This is also an opportunity to call the attention of the President to the plot of these kinds of individuals, they whip up all kinds of nonsense by trying to take his mind away from the ball. They attack the shining lights of his administration so there can be a failure that they and their paymasters will latch on during elections or for the sole purpose of seeing appointments as avenues for amassing wealth or arena for display of indiscipline and impunity. Indiscipline and obedience of lines of duties must be enforced and the time cannot be farther from now.
Finally, let me call on the citizenry during this season of COVID-19 pandemic to understand that it is time for reflection over the activities of our beloved nation. The lack of certain critical infrastructure is today hunting us and majority of it was the lack of discipline in governance. We cannot as a nation continue to condone indiscipline and corruption, therefore we must be careful the kinds of things we defend or even waste our time on. All energies must be channelled towards identifying people in the likes of Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami and supportthem to continue despite the much resistance that people like those who wrote on the matter present. We must quit the Pull Him Down attitude and imbibe the Lift Us Up one.
By the way, I still insist on a public debate on this matter because it is no joke and its only through very critical engagements that peoples brains can be developed, not cheaply politicising every issue of development.
ATCON Urges Members to Follow Nigeria Data Protection Regulation
The Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, has urged members to comply with Nigeria Data Protection Regulation as stipulated by the federal government through the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Mr. Olusola Teniola, President of ATCON, made this call at a virtual meeting on Nigeria Data Protection Regulation 2019: held on Monday, July 6, 2020, with the theme ‘Benefits and Compliance Process’.
Mr Teniola disclosed that the aim of the virtual meeting was to create awareness and encourage its members to implement the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation.
He called on members to ensure that they did not running against the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation 2019.
According to him, “ATCON partners with this company in order to prevent our members from running against the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation 2019.
“As we all know the Regulation aims at protecting and guarantying the safety of all users of web from the unscrupulous people who use their knowledge to defraud and cheat people who are genuinely transacting business over different websites (public and private).
“It should also be emphasized that data is now the new gold and it must be treated accordingly, ATCON embarked on the awareness and implementation of the data protection regulation because of its strategic importance to our members businesses and to reduce or prevent cybercrimes by ensuring the safety and protection of Nigerians digital details on the world wide web as the failure to give adequate protection to data could be very devastating and costly to individuals and businesses.”
He further commended Mr Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi, Director General/CEO, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for putting the document together for the benefits of Nigerians who have moved their physical transactions online.
Njalo.ng Provides Nigerians with Access to Quality, Cheap PPE during Covid19
Top priority for individuals and organisations – public and private sectors – is the health and safety of employees, customers, vendors, and their families.
Therefore, helping households, companies and the society at large, to put the necessary measures in place and the protection of people’s lives, is what has made Njalo.ng an online marketplace with a difference.
As the COVID-19 pandemic turns the global economy upside down, demand has become volatile, creating a variety of pricing challenges.
But as a Startup with eyes on long-term value rather than short-term gain, Njalo.ng has enabled sellers to offer the best prices to buyers, most of who have lost their jobs or financially down but need to protect themselves against the pandemic.
Launched on January 6, 2020, Njalo.ng, a classifieds platform empowers millions of individuals and businesses in Nigerians with free access to sell smartphones, cars, laptops, clothes, shoes, bags, property, furniture, books/literature, and kiddies’ clothes, among others.
As COVID-19 crisis is exerting sudden and unprecedented pressures—sometimes up, but more often down—on demand and pricing, it offers sellers a door to reach out to buyers by offering free placement of items and promoting such products across social media channels at no charge to the sellers.
Expatiating on the why they chose to support sellers, Mrs. Sandra Ani, Chief Operating Officer of Njalo.ng, said, although it is difficult to take a long-term view during a crisis of this nature, they expected that the sellers that emerge in the strongest positions will be those now taking a “through-cycle” view of their relationships with customers and the communities where they do business as part of an integrated approach with marketing and sales.
She said that Njalo.ng’s step is in line with the Federal Government and various State Governments’ call for support from the companies to assist with palliatives, especially in the fight against covid-19.
She said, “When Covid-19 was first reported in Nigeria in February 2020 and the subsequent lockdown in Abuja (FCT), Lagos and Ogun States respectively, nobody thought it was going to take this long before the economy opened up again. Just a few days ago the government announced that Students should get prepared for WAEC only to re-announce that Nigerian students are not likely for year 2020 WAEC examinations.
“So, at Njalo.ng, our aim is actually to empower as many people as possible, but not like directly donating Facemasks or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to everybody, because the number is much.
“We thought of the best possible way to do this and we discovered that people have the need for quality products and secondly, at the best price.
“Suffice to say we are empowering the people to stay safe or contain the spread of coronavirus by offering SMEs the platform to sell personal protective equipment (PPE) to millions of Nigerians.
“Interestingly, our support here is that you do not have to pay to sell on Njalo.ng; we shoulder that for you.
“We are extending our hands to more merchants, SMEs and entrepreneurs to use this opportunity to make ends meet”.
She said that Njalo.ng has deployed a robust Customer-Care team to attend to the needs of both sellers and buyers. “This is why Njalo.ng’s slogan is Easy Sell, Easy Buy. We make life easy for you”, Mrs. Ani added.
According to her, Njalo.ng also encourages sellers to sell WHO (World Health Organisation’s) recommended PPE products as a means to curtail the spread of the virus.
FG Says Report on 5G Deployment Ready but Needs Stakeholders Inputs
Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has said that the report on the deployment or otherwise of Fifth Generation (5G) network in Nigeria is ready but it will not go live until experts from all the country’s major sectors recommend its deployment.
Pantami who spoke Thursday in a virtual Annual General Meeting and Induction of new members by the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) said the government would not deploy the newest telecom network until professionals from health, telecom, ICT, engineering, defense, financial, media sectors and others made recommendations for its deployment.
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“There must be unanimous decision from chosen experts from all the country’s major sectors before the government give go ahead for 5G deployment,” the minister said.
He said though 5G is very important, overall safety of Nigerians supersedes its importance. He said if the experts found out it was safe and recommend its deployment, it would be deployed. ‘’But if it is found not to be safe for deployment in the country we will not deploy it,’’ he added.
He said the 5G deployment was stalled in some countries across the world due to conspiracy theory around its safety.
Speaking on the keynote lecture, Adoption of 5G in Nigeria: The Technological and Regulatory Challenges, Engr Uche Osuji said all telecom operators in the country are ready for 5G deployment.
Osuji, who is a senior manager with MTN Nigeria, said deployment of 5G network will revolutionise Nigeria’s economy. He listed global politics as one of the major challenges stalling its deployment across the world.
Prof. Charles Uwadia, president and chairman-in-Council of CPN, had earlier said the adoption of 5G would drive economic growth and social inclusion in Nigeria.
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