Professor Lateef Akanni Hussain, vice chancellor, Lagos State University (Lasu) in his vision to turn Lasu to an ICT hub set up Information and Communications Technology (ICT) committee on campus since October 2005 to stoke the fire of realizing this dream. Three years after, Lasu has proudly become one of the leading universities in Africa on ICT.
The vice chancellor spoke to Emeka Okafor on the institution’s ICT initiatives and other issues.
Lasu as an ICT haven
ICT is the world now. So whoever does not have such an inspiration is apparently not in the world. That is the way I will consider that.
ICT Developments in Lasu
Well, if you allow me, I may not be able to recall all, but the person that might be strict enough to tell you the detail could be the chairman of ICT, Professor Tunde Fatunde. If you care, you may like to go and see him. Essentially and broadly speaking, you might put it in three ways. We have tried to bring IT into the payment of fees, into the registration by students and preparation of results. With that background, if you look at payment of fees now, we used to have a lot of problems with cheating.
Somebody paying N200 and adding another zero making it two thousand naira or somebody taking money from someone in order to help that person by giving the person who has paid N20 the receipt of N2000. When the vice chancellor resumed duty, there were many of such cases. All you can say nowadays is that those ones have gone. It is now electronic payment. You go to the bank, you pay your money, it appears in the balance of the bank. It also appears on our computer system and we can reconcile and issue official receipt to cover that payment through electronic means.
At registration, we do not like this old idea of students queuing up for hours upon hours. You can now register your course in Lagos State University at any time and from anywhere in the world. That is what we have achieved by online registration. But as far as the vice chancellor is concerned, the greatest contribution of ICT is the idea that results can be produced using ICT and be output almost immediately on the internet. Any Lasu student can go to the internet and check not only his result, but for his other colleagues. Those are the highlights.
International Donations towards ICT Development
We are not interested in that for one major reason. We wanted to make do with what we have. So whatever we have been able to generate internally has been used for paying for the hardware and as far as the computer programmes are concerned, of course, we do not want to buy any computer programme written by any body. We thought we could use that one to train our students. The vice chancellor is proud that whatever computer programme that is being used in Lagos State University has been written by the students of Lagos State University. We put the students to task in particular the heroic girls and boys from the Faculty of Engineering who have dominated the core of students writing our own computer programmes. So, no contribution from external sources. Everything has been in-house, a sort of self development.
Total Expenditure on ICT
This is a common question many people have asked me. I would not know. May be the bursar may decide to give us the amount now. Every nook and cranny of Lagos State University has at least one laptop and one desktop .As for our ICT centre; we must have at least one hundred and fifty computers. All these things were not bought the same time. So I would say well, well hundred million naira. People are asking did you borrow. For umpteenth time people have asked that question and it is a very good question. We may even now go back and see how much we have even spent. But all of these, we have not borrowed not given out. Of course we acknowledge the donation of Zenith Bank that donated a full ICT centre even with broad band, which is in addition to what we too have been able to do by ourselves
Lagos State Government and ICT
Lagos state government role is not only on ICT but, also in all facets of life of Lagos State University. I am happy today that the state has given us a complete independence. The governing council of Lagos State University is fully in charge of Lagos State University. Whatever assistance we get from Lagos State Government normally comes from the governing council. But Lagos State government has been remarkably not interfered at all in the way the governing council has been running the university at least since I became the chancellor.
New Horizons and Training of Lasu Undergraduates
Well, we have a problem. Our plan was to get our engineering students not only to take a degree in engineering but at the same time carry along with them some recognized certifications- Microsoft, Oracle and so on but they were looking at it from the point of extra payment and will not do it free of charge. So, we have to tell them that to get a degree in engineering and also get a certification is the ideal thing for the entire world. We understand that they are now being convinced. But in recent time, Lagos State University has had some luck, New Horizons was going to charge Lasu for even bringing a mast into Epe but Lagos State government has in several other things they are doing installed a mast at Epe, not only to serve Lasu but other people.
And so, we can as well call New Horizons that the bill must go down now. After all, you are no longer going to bring a mast to our Fpe campus. So what we expect from that is that the cost of these Oracle, Microsoft or Dell and so on and so forth may fall.
Expertedge and E-learning Proposal
We are looking into that but please, bear in mind that I have already mentioned that we always like to look inwards. As I am talking to you now, we too have our own programme of e-learning ready without any assistance from anywhere. It is not that we are being arrogant, it is just that we want to learn all these things from the basics and we don’t want to continue to depend on A or B. We are looking at the agreement with the company but we are also ready in our own e-learning programme.
ICT Park for Lasu
Well, we are hoping to partner with first of all HP and IBM Africa. In fact, we are about to start a Cisco academy. All these things are just coming up so we don’t know exactly what we arrive at finally but we believe the first one is Cisco Company in Lasu for anybody either our students or outsiders who want to obtain a Cisco certification will need to come into Lasu.
School of Engineering
If you want to call it a breakthrough, the breakthrough is that we are sure now and people are asked to prove us wrong that all our engineering courses are now accredited. We are proud of the staff at Epe. We are being told by people who came to accredit us that it may be the only engineering faculty with latest text books in engineering. It is there at Epe.
Concerning new equipment, we may be the only engineering faculty with new equipment. So I go back again to thank the governing council that magnanimously gave an outright grant of one hundred million naira to the faculty of engineering at Epe and at the same time, an outright grant of forty million naira to School of Communications at Surulere. If you go to Surulere now, you find a fully equipped television studio, a fully equipped radio station; we are waiting for the license of the radio from the presidency. We are proud of what the governing council has done for us.
ICT in Lasu and other Universities
What we are told is that we need to do more. In fact, the vice chancellor will be addressing a meeting of deans, directors and professors tomorrow. We need to put on our website the profile of all members of staffs. They say we are the first among State Universities but it is not enough. There’s still a long way to go and we are not resting on our oars.
Well, what we are going to see in a few months more is a full fledged virtual library. It is almost ready so it will be possible for our Lasu students to go into our virtual library, read any textbook, from any where in the world. That is our most immediate aim. But beyond that, we are hopeful that we can even deliver lectures by multimedia so lecturer must be in your class physically. It will have been recorded and demonstrated. Anybody could just walk into the class and pick the lecture.
CBN Pulls Rate Cut Trigger, King Dollar Returns
By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,
In a move that caught investors off-guard this week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) slashed interest rates by 100 basis points bringing the MPR to 11.5%. Given how inflation has been above target since 2015, rates were expected to remain unchanged for the rest of 2020 and possibly early 2021.
The question on the mind of many is whether the rate cut will achieve the desired effect by stimulating consumption and economic growth? Ongoing border closures and disruptions created by COVID-19 have pushed inflation to levels not seen since March 2018 above 13.20% while a drop in the production and price of Oil continues to rub salt into the wound. While looser monetary policy could support growth, it may come at the cost of rising inflation and weaker Naira.
Over the past few months, central banks across the globe have deployed unprecedented measures to defend their respective economies against the coronavirus menace. However, fiscal policy has been identified as the sharper tool with governments across the world providing a critical lifeline to keep the wheels of their respective economies rolling.
Outside of Nigeria, King Dollar made a return by appreciating against every single G10 currency. In times of uncertainty, everyone wants a juicy piece of the world’s most liquid currency. As coronavirus cases rise in Europe and other parts of the world, the flight to safety is likely to boost appetite for the Dollar. This is bad news for many emerging markets currencies, especially those with high Dollar-denominated debt.
On the commodity side, Oil prices remain heavily influenced by demand-side factors and the state of the global economy. Prices are likely to remain stuck around the $40 regions in the near term, especially If another round of possible lockdowns hit Oil demand. Looking at the technicals, WTI Crude is under pressure on the daily charts. If prices are unable to break away from the sticky $40 regions, the next key point of interest remains around $38. A weekly close above $41.50 could pave a path towards $43.
NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System
Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), has arrested one Mr Aliu Olalekan, for allegedly hacking into DSTV system and watching the channels free without subscription.
Mr Matthew Ojo, NCC Director in the Lagos Directorate Office said this while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, on Tuesday.
He said that the suspect used to watch DSTV channels free without subscription on his Android phone via an app which he downloaded on google play store.
“This suspect distributed the know-how to his telegram followers and on his blog with the aim of gaining more followers and viewership on his blog and makes more money through google ad-sense.
“The operation was based on surveillance which had earlier been carried out by the Multi-choice team and verified by a copyright inspector, ” he said.
He added that the arrest was made in collaboration with a team of copyright inspectors led by the Head of Enforcement Department, Mr Charles Amudipe.
Others included; a team from Multichoice Nigeria led by Mr Umar Ibrahim and policemen from Lagos Command Headquarters, Ikeja.
Ojo said that the joint team conducted an anti-piracy operation at the premises of the culprit in Amukoko, Lagos.
According to him, the suspect was contacted on phone by a member of the operation team on the disguise of patronising him. “The suspect came out to meet the caller and in the process of discussion, he was apprehended.
“The suspect took the team to his resident. The squad paraded his one-room apartment and recovered his laptop and phones used in perpetrating the ungodly act. “He was arrested and brought to the copyright commission office for further investigation, ” he said.
Ojo said that, on getting to the commission’s office, the statement of the suspect was taken and the inventory of items seized from him taken. He said that investigation on the matter was still ongoing and if found guilty the suspect will be charged to court.
NCC, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator and Digital Encode, Cybersecurity and Compliance advisory company, have indicated interest to partner with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), the national umbrella body of ICT reporters, as it organizes a forum that will x-ray the industry’s future plans for ICT growth post pandemic era.
The event, slated to hold on October 15, 2020, will seek to discuss the needs for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era, and the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of being pivotal to the stability and growth of all other sectors.
A statement from NITRA National Secretariat in Lagos indicates that due to the pandemic and need to observe the COVID-19 protocol on social distancing, the event will be held via a Webinar.
This year’s theme, “Multi-stakeholder Approach To National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, is in line with the annual event’s generic theme, ‘NITRA Innovative Tech Forum’, a contribution by NITRA to the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) innovations and policies in Nigeria.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the event and will throw more light on Federal Government’s plans, programmes and policies on post-pandemic strategies using ICT.
Dr. Adewale Obadare and Dr. Seyi Akindeinde, founders of Digital Encode, while accepting to support the event expressed their readiness to offer their expertise in Cybersecurity for organisations to prepare against cyber- attacks with the new normal.
They will also highlight areas that are high risks that need fortification in terms of cybersecurity.
Speaking on the event, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, national chairman, NITRA, noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its negative trails across the globe, economic reboot for countries will not only depend on how well they readapt to the new normal, but also more on their recovery plans.
According to him: “While the federal government has consistently expressed its willingness to set all policies in place to engender growth, and accelerated implementation of these policies, private sector firms have also shown great hunger for the task ahead in post-COVID-19 era.
However, the question that needs to be answered is whether all stakeholders are ready for the required task ahead.”
The event will also offer participating companies opportunities to publicize some of their individual efforts at contributing to reacting a soft landing or lifeline for SMEs and other ancillary companies as the pandemic threatens their survival.
Digital Encode is a multi-award winning and leading consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.
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