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Stakeholders seek Infrastructure build out to connect the Rural areas



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Information and Communications Technology stakeholders have reemphasized need to bridge the digital divide between the connected and unconnected in our society.

They made this call at the 2019 Nigeria ICT Impact CEO Forum (NIICF) held at oriental hotel, Lagos.

The event themed: ‘Connecting The Unconnected’ was organized by ICT watch magazine.

Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) speaking at the event said that connecting the unconnected will be a mirage if we do not make conscious efforts to provide adequate infrastructure to reach the last mile.

Engr. Adebayo represented by MR.Gbalaho Awonuga, Executive Secretary, Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) stated that there must be adequate infrastructure in place before we can connect the unconnected.

He noted that we can never get to the unconnected at the rural area without adequate provision of infrastructure that will ensure that they are connected.

He also called on government to address the issue of multiple taxation in sector, noting that it’s the bane in connecting the people in the rural area.

He revealed also that as an association, they are embarking on coursed based studies so as to harmonize these issues.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer,
Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said that they are committed to Connecting the unconnected through its broad based initiatives.

Represented by Engr. Babagana Gigima, Head, Special duty department, NCC added that providing connectivity to the unconnected, who are usually classified as un-served or under-served, comes with its own set of challenges especially in developing countries like ours where other complementary infrastructure such as power, transmission and transport are non-existing or inadequate.

Prof Danbatta noted with regrets the challenges faced by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) even inside city centers where they are forced to deploy two (2) power generating sets per Base Transceiver Station (BTS) to complement the erratic public power supply systems.

He explained that the commission has been fulfilling its obligation to ensure that unconnected areas are connected through the provision of services to un-served and under-served areas.

He added that their access gap study has identified 198 clusters of un-served areas, which translates to about 40 million unconnected Nigerians, stressing that with such population yet un-tapped, there is, therefore a business imperative to exploit this vast resource.

The EVC stated that they are committed to subsidizing the deployment of 318 BTSs in various un-served and under-served locations through the USPF funding.

He added that the licensing of the six (6) Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) will help to lower the cost of entry of MNOs and other service providers and ensure provision of at least one (1) fibre Point of Access (PoA) in every local government headquarters of the Federation.

Danbatta said, “The InfraCo deployment, when successfully completed within the next four years will provide an unprecedented capacity of 10Gbit/s in each LGA headquarters and 28,902 km of fibre in the six (6) geo-political zones (excluding North-Central which is yet to be licensed).

“The InfraCo project will not only accomplish the provision of ubiquitous broadband across the country but will also contribute to this Administration’s vision of providing 120,000 km fibre coverage as outlined by Mr. President in his “Next Level” agenda speech.

“The InfraCo initiative will also leapfrog the present 33% broadband penetration to a level exceeding the target set under the Nigerian National Broadband Plan of which the NCC is identified as one of the key drivers.

“Therefore, the InfraCo will be a game changer akin to the licensing of the GSM spectrum by the NCC which has seen an increase of voice connectivity from a meagre 400,000 households in 2001 to over 174 million subscribers today, coupled with a dramatic cost reduction to subscribers and increased turnover and profit to the service providers.”

Rotimi Akeredolu, (SAN) Governor, Ondo state, delivering his keynote address said that there’s serious need to bridge the gap between the connected and the unconnected.

Governor Akeredolu, represented Mr. Olumbe Akinkugbe called on stakeholders at the three tiers of government, IT giants, telecommunication industries and so on, to the gap between the rural communities and the Cities.

According to him,”The gap between the rural communities and the Cities is very wide. There is a serious need to bridge this gap and this should be a major concern of all stakeholders, i.e. the government at the three tiers of government, IT giants, telecommunication industries and so on.

“In the cities connectivity may not be a serious problem, although the speed of connections can be unreliable in some places but the rural communities are grossly affected when it comes to connectivity and access to the information superhighway.

He noted that in Ondo State, they are making serious efforts to ensure that government processes are ICT driven.

He added that presently all the MDAs in Ondo State are connected using Fibre Optics and radio connections, noting that high Speed Broadband lnternet connectivity across all the organs of government has been put in place.

He explained that they have collaborated with reputable organisations to deploy ICT to the grass root.

According to him, “Recently Ondo State Government collaborated with America Tower Corporation (ATC) to establish the Digital Villages project.

“This is aimed at bringing technology to the rural dwellers across the state. It is targeted at school leavers and the unemployed graduates.

“Many youths have been trained on emerging technologies and other various IT skills. Rural to urban migration has been reduced greatly.
“The state is supporting various Telecommunication Industries to obtain ‘Right of Ways’ with ease and at a very low cost, thereby creating an enabling environment for Telecoms to expand coverage across the state even to the rural communities of the state.”

Dr.Isa Alli Ibrahim Pantami, Director general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) said that connecting the unconnected to the digital spectrum will leapfrog our ICT ecosystem and the Nigerian economy at large.

Presented by Dr Falilat Jimoh from office of Nigerian Content in ICT and Technical Assistant to NITDA DG said that digital transformation provides developing economies new opportunities to improve industrial age infrastructure, to draw on the vast knowledge spill-overs from the internet, to take advantage of new markets offered by digital platforms and to exploit production possibilities enabled by digital technologies.

He noted that there is need to improve our digital infrastructure to be able to harness the full potential of a smart digital economy.

Pantami said that “internet has become one of the most significant technologies with a tremendous impact on social and industrial environments.

“It completely changed the understanding of gathering informational resources, exchange of data or the ways of communication.

“Infrastructure such as Internet should no longer be seen as a luxury, but a necessity for developing a smart digital economy.

“We live in an exciting era, where technological progress moves at the speed of imagination.

“Technology has become a powerful catalyst for change, bringing people closer, making our society more efficient, and promoting a more sustainable world.

“We are emerging into a future where the digital and physical worlds will become more integrated, and boundaries no longer exist between technologies and human domain of cognitive control.

“The spread of information and communication technology and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide and to develop knowledge societies,” he added.

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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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NCC @ ICTEL EXPO, Pledges Robust ICT Infrastructure for Economic Growth



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Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has said that the Commission will continue to promote and facilitate expansion of robust broadband/Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure across the country for the rapid development of the nation’s digital economy.

NCC @ ICTEL EXPO,  Pledges Robust ICT Infrastructure for Economic Growth

Prof Umar Danbatta, EVC, NCC

Danbatta gave the assurance in a presentation titled “Communication Technology for Service Delivery in Health, Education, Tourism, the Creative Industry and Agriculture” delivered during the first virtual and sixth edition of Information Communications Technology and Telecommunications Conference and Exhibition (ICTEL) EXPO 2020.

He said the Commission, not only successfully achieved but surpassed the 30 per cent broadband penetration target in 2018.

Danabatta observed that through various policy initiatives, broadband penetration has further increased to 42.02 per cent as of July, 2020, noting that this has laid a solid foundation to drive the national efforts at achieving the new 70 per cent broadband penetration target set in the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025.

Represented by Efosa Idehen, director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, Danbatta said in line with this commitment, the Commission has commenced the review of the framework for engaging infrastructure companies to cascade fibre optic deployment to the hinterlands of Nigeria to ensure pervasive access to broadband services in the country.

He stated that with the support of the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, NCC is resolving the perennial problem of high cost of Right of Way (RoW) with the support of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) to hasten ICT infrastructure that will enable socio-economic activities across various sectors.

According to him, as the world is becoming increasingly digitised; there will be no sector or facet of human life where ICT will not be required for optimal service delivery and improved conditions of living for the citizens.

With regard to the health sector, Danbatta said ICT is playing a very important role in the manner health services are now delivered, adding that the new Internet speed and low latency of 5G technology are expected to further enhance the possibilities of telemedicine and remote surgery.

Similarly, the EVC said the educational sector has also greatly soared on the wings of ICT, as there has been a surge in online learning in many institutions around the globe due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, while illustrating the symbiotic relationship between ICT and educational sectors.

Danbatta said “the relationship between ICT and the educational sector has been mutually beneficial. He assured the stakeholders that the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to enhance the capabilities of the educational sector even further.”

According to him, the agricultural sector has also benefitted from ICT, as several agro-based apps have been designed to ensure that stakeholders in the sector are able to provide and improve on essential agro-services.

These developments have helped to boost food production and security, just as a lot of digitisation is also holding sway in the creative industry, enhancing its growth thereby enabling job creation and greater contribution to the Gross Domestic product (GDP).


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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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