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Xenophobia: Nigerian Returnees from South Africa Recount Ordeal, Laud Air Peace, Others

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By Taofik Bankole,

When Air Peace announced early last week that it was willing to help bring back Nigerians who were caught in the middle of xenophobic attacks in South Africa, at least 600 people were said to have indicated their desire to return to their fatherland to start afresh.

Attention had been drawn to another round of xenophobic attacks on foreigners, particularly Nigerians and their places of business in the South, about two weeks ago when photos and videos of purported attacks were shared online, forcing the public to cry out to the Nigerian government for urgent action. The reports at the time had also sparked attacks on businesses in Nigeria believed to be owned by South Africans.

On the back of the outrage, Air Peace airline had offered a free service to fly distressed Nigerians back to their home country and that pledge was fulfilled days after.

On Thursday, it was confirmed that 187 Nigerians had returned to the country on Wednesday night and were received by authorities of Nigeria’s Diaspora Commission, the office of Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

Many of the returnees were grateful and expressed joy to be able to see the country they can proudly call home again, even if it means a fresh start for their lives.

At least 319 Nigerians are still expected to be evacuated from South Africa on Tuesday, according to the office of the minister of foreign affairs.

Those who have returned have now been able to reconnect with their families, but the ordeal in South Africa is not one they’ll forget in a hurry.

“It wasn’t a pretty experience. I have not had that much fear since I left Nigeria few years ago in search of better opportunities,” one of the returnees who sought anonymity, told Neusroom on Saturday afternoon.

But after reuniting with his family, the returnee says he now looks forward to building his life again.

“I now have to pick up the pieces and start all over again,” he says.

For many of the returnees, having to pick up the pieces and start all over after losing so much is daunting, and this was echoed by Segun, who tells Neusroom he was able to reunite with his family after benefiting from MTN’s donation of free data and cash sum to the returnees.

“It’s not easy at all, especially when you’re losing a lot of property to a place you can’t even get it back. Obviously, it’s painful and hurtful but you just have to move on and start over,” he adds.

Segun prays the government to further provide opportunities for not just the affected returnees, but for Nigerians as a whole.

“This is Lagos where you just have to keep your head up,” he says of his determination to get his life back on track.

Dabiri-Erewa has said that more Nigerians are expected to make the short trip back home in the coming days but like Segun, Benjamin is desperately hoping that President Buhari’s government has more plans to fully integrate the returnees into society by providing jobs that they can do to put food on their table.

Benjamin, who has now found home with his sister in Lagos, says but for the free flight back to Nigeria and cash reward, he is practically left with nothing.

“Before I left South Africa, my home was perfect. Now that I’m here, everything is bad. Very bad. I don’t think I can cope, I can’t. It’s just too bad. I can’t go back to South Africa now, it’s the way forward I’m looking for,” he laments.

Though many of these returnees have been left to rue their luck and count their losses, many others are just grateful to have returned alive. To this set, there’s no better time to hold on firmly to the cliche saying, ‘when there’s life, there’s hope’.

“We just thank God,” another returnee, a woman who pleaded anonymity, says of her belief to bounce back.

Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama had said over a week ago that the government has made its demands clear to the South African government on its expectations on compensation for affected persons, and the returnees would hope that these demands are met in no time.

“We have registered our strong protest to the government of South Africa. But most importantly, we have put forward to the South African government what we think will make a big difference: one with regard to compensation with those who have suffered loss and most importantly, a security proposal that we believe will safeguard the security of Nigerians in the future,” Onyeama said.

While the government works to resolve the issues with the South African government, authorities have advised Nigerians to refrain from attacking the purported South African-owned businesses in the country, as the livelihoods of thousands of citizens are dependent on their employment at those companies.


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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, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies

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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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NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution

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Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has warned telecom consumers to desist from using illegal GSM boosters.

NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution

The commission also said that anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.

GSM boosters are devices that transmit and receive telecommunications signals and can therefore interfere with other radio frequency equipment.

Ikechukwu Adinde, director, public affairs, NCC, said in a notice published on NCC website, that only licensed network operators are allowed to use GSM boosters.

The booster, also known as amplifier or repeater is made up of three main elements – exterior antenna, amplifier, and interior antenna.

They form a wireless system to boost cellular reception

“Members of the public should note that, willful interference with any wireless telegraphy is an offence under Section 16 of the Telegraphy Act, 2004,”it said

The agency said it will not condone any flagrant breach of this law.

It has also enforced measures to prosecute offenders.

Accordingly, monitoring mechanisms have been put in place and anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.

“Any member of the public with useful information regarding the illegal use of GSM Boosters should contact the Commission on 09-4617000/7351 or send an email to [email protected],” the notice said.

“Individuals desirous of using GSM Boosters should note that they can only do so in conjunction with licensed network operators,” it added.

 

 


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Tizeti Selects Nokia to Provide LTE Fixed Wireless Access Solution for High-Speed internet Services in Nigeria

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Tizeti announced that it selected Nokia’s Fastmile Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to enable usprovide superior internet services to over 1 Million subscribers in Port Harcourt, Edo and Ogun in Nigeria.

Tizeti Selects Nokia to Provide LTE Fixed Wireless Access Solution for High-Speed internet Services in Nigeria

Tizeti will deploy Nokia’s AirScale Base Station TDD-LTE and FastmileFixed Wireless Access (FWA) gatewaysto deliver premium internet and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to Residential, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The solution will also enable Tizeti’sto deliver a more robust, high-speedinternet service to subscribers and the flexibility to seamlessly evolve to 5G Fixed Wireless Access when needed.

Nokia’s FWA solution enables Tizeti to fast-track broadband access and provide a best-in-class broadband experience to its subscribers.

Nokia’sAirScale Base Stations ensure high-quality connectivity and coverage and enablesTizeti to evolve the network in line with customer demand.

Nokia’sFastmilegateways connect wirelessly to the existing network to createa fastbroadband connection and enhanced Wi-Fi experience in the home.

The Nokia Network Services Platform will help Tizeti to simplify operations and quickly respond to changing market demands.

Kendall Ananyi, Tizeti, said:“We are committed to providing the best-in-class network experience to our subscribers. We are confident that Nokia’s proven technology and expertise will help us differentiate our services based on quality. This a crucial project for us as it introduces LTE in our networks and allows us to bring new and innovative services to our subscribers.”

Eniola Balogun, Nokia, said:“We are thrilled to work with Tizeti on the initiative to upgrade their network to bring the latest products and services to its subscribers. Nokia Fastmile will help Tizeti to cost-effectively enhance the customer experience.

The project will also enable them to delight their subscribers by providing more reliable data services.

On the other hand, Tizeti will benefit by adding new revenue streams.”

 

 


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