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Africa’s huge potential sustainable with good governance – Ex-AfICTA’s president

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Potential

Abuja, April 9, 2019 Mr Jimson Olufuye, former President, African Information Communication Technology Alliance (AfICTA) said on Tuesday that Africa had huge potential in internet development and wealth creation that could be sustained with good governance.

Olufuye said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.

According to him, lots of youths within the continent are developing applications and technology that are re-positioning it on the path of digital development.

The AfICTA former boss said that digital development in Nigeria robbed off on other African countries, being the largest country in the continent.

“Africa has huge potential in internet development, internet governance, wealth creation, internet business, e-commerce; and this huge potential can really be sustained with good governance.

“We are happy that in Nigeria, we have a stable democracy so far; and other African countries where there is stability in governance, there is relative progress.

“Nigeria has the largest number of people on the internet today, which translates to the digital drive for development to other African countries.

“I see great hope for digital transformation across Africa because young people are using technology to come up with businesses and ventures,’’ Olufuye said.

According to him, government needs to enforce compliance and create the enabling environment, to boost local content and Executive Orders for the development of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

Olufuye noted that ICT had the capacity to generate up to 1 trillion dollars as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Nigeria in 2020 but doubted if that would be possible.

“Our current GDP hovers around 420 billion dollars. I did an analysis eight years ago and I indicated that Nigeria should be hitting about 1 trillion dollars as GDP by next year.

“Most likely we are not going to get there because we missed opportunities. We had huge revenue from oil and we couldn’t use it well.

“Charity should begin at home especially with the government.  The Executive Orders are good.

“We need more of such Executive Orders that will compel government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to do the right thing.

“If the enabling environment is there, it will avail the opportunity for entrepreneurs to use resources available.

“Nigerians are resourceful people with serious tenacity but needs the enabling environment,’’ he said.

Olufuye said that before the re-basing of the country’s economy in 2013, sectors like the telecommunications, movies and retail were not captured.

He noted that about 90 per cent was attributed to those sectors which, if done earlier, will translate to the 1 trillion dollars GDP by 2020.

The former AfICTA chief, however, said that the current government is on the right path.

According to him, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is giving funds to regional infrastructure companies to increase connectivity.

“The current administration is doing well by trying to boost our local content.

“NCC is giving funds to the regional Infraco in the subsidised roll out; and I believe it will go a long way to really unlock more potential for the use of local content and resources.

“A lot of our youths are developing apps and there are diverse applications coming up. We just need the bandwidth, connectivity to get more people to look inward,’’ Olufuye said.

Science & Technology

Energy saving bulbs contain carcinogenic chemicals, injurious to health- Ewaste expert

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An Electronic waste expert, Dr Ifeanyi Ochonogor, has cautioned Nigerians on usage and disposal of energy conserving bulbs, saying they contain several carcinogenic chemicals which are injurious to human health.

Ochonogor told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos on Saturday that a lot of scientific studies had been performed on mercury in the Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFLs).

reports that CFLs is popularly known as energy conserving bulbs.

”Mercury from CFLs can cause cancer and various diseases.

”When you break CFLs, an explosion of toxic chemicals ensue and mercury is the last thing anybody wants to inhale.

“CFLs also cause lethargy, headaches and dizziness. We need to be watchful of what we buy, use and consume,” Ochonogor, Founder, Ewaste Relief Foundation, warned.

He said that CFLs were widespread on the African continent due to lack of awareness.

Quoting a foreign publication, Daily Mail, he said some German Scientists claimed that several carcinogenic chemicals and toxins were released when CFLs were switched on including: Phenol, Nepthalene, Styrene, and Mercury Vapour.

Ochonogor, also the Chief Executive Officer of E-Terra, said that improper disposal of CFLs and the possibilities of spreading the mercury and contaminated glass, were another major challenges.

According to him, broken CFLs pieces are usually thrown away in the dustbins or trash cans, thus poisoning the ecosystem.

Ochonogor said that there was need to proffer possible strategic solutions toward the usage and safe disposal of energy saving light bulbs due to the mercury in it.

The expert said that in the first quarter of 2019 a solution to the light bulb problem was developed by investing so much to protect children and our future.

He said that the foundation was ready to collaborate with the governments at all levels and corporate bodies toward proffering lasting solutions through massive and aggressive campaigns for proper sorting of hazardous variations of waste.

The expert said there was also need to partner with the local governments and the state government agencies like Lagos Waste Management Agency (LAWMA) and Lagos State Environment Protection Agency (LASEPA).

Ochonogor lauded the Federal Government for sponsoring the Data Protection Bill through the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) now before the National Assembly.

The expert said that there were also jobs and business opportunities in the areas of safe collection and specialised disposal through enlightenment of putting used bulbs in their packs and deposit them in designated places.

According to him, people that invented the CFLs were right in the area of energy conservation, but the energy conservation affects human health negatively.

He said that the manufacturers have not allowed sufficient amount of time to study the effects of the innovations on consumers before releasing them for use.

SKA/GOK

Edited by Olagoke Olatoye

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MTN mPulse Planet thrills 5,000 children, showcases different games

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MTN mPulse Planet, a fun exploratory world, on Friday delighted 5,000 children mostly teens on ways to learn, play and shine.

The Chief Operating Officer, Mazen Mroue made the  statement during the opening of the event held in Lagos.

He said that the event was themed, “How the Future Will Look like in 2044’’.

“MTN mPulse is designed for Nigerian children, teenagers and secondary school students to learn and excel in their academics, development skills for now and the future, play brain-stimulating games and others.

“We segmented our customers and find out that teens between nine and 14 should be given extra attention by us, as looking at their hobbies and interest, it has to do with technology, online gaming, online education.

“We packaged all these together through mPulse platform to get them exposed to the latest technologies and educational materials available as at this age, they can have a final decision regarding their own future carrier.

“So exposing them to the maximum number of technologies that will aid them in future is the essence of our celebration today,” he said.

Mroue noted that connectivity was a must for every Nigerian and it was their role to really make sure that every Nigerian had access to technology and access to the connectivity that would push the technology.

He, however, added that the mPulse platform was available online to all Nigerians, between the ages of 9 and 14 irrespective of where they are.

Mroue pointed that while accessing the platform online, they could leverage all the freebies and all the offers available for  physical interaction.

“These children are already exposed to technology, they are already using our services and are already connected.

“So definitely, we need to give them attention to make life easier and enable them to make the right choice when they grow up.

“It is an opportunity for us, as well as for the country to really train our people in the early stage to take the right decision and we will ensure that all children present here gets the right attention,’’ he said.

Mroue said that the key success factor for this story was the company’s partnership with their strategic partners and all government support; and also thanking the regulator for their constant encouragement.

Also, the General Manager, Consumer Marketing MTN, Mr Olawale Rawa, said that mPulse was a proposition launched last year to help `Catch Them Young’ from the secondary school level.

“On the website you can see a lot of contents around games, education and others that will get your children interested in entrepreneurship.

“The physical event that we are witnessing here today is to enable the children see those things they have seen online and have a feel of them,’’ he said.

Rawa said that the event was free and one does not have to be rich to partake but an avenue for everyone to experience what the future would look like and understand it.

As regards pushing it out of Lagos, he said that it was also in their mind but they needed to understand what they were  doing very well as it had to do with children who were very delicate.

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Telecoms infrastructure vandalism affecting service – NCC

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says the spate of vandalism of telecoms infrastructure across the country has resulted in slowing the pace of growth of services.

The Director, Zonal Operations, NCC, Mrs Amina Shehu raised the concern on Friday at a programme to sensitise the Eggon community, near Lafia, Nassarawa, to protection of telecoms infrastructure.

The director, specifically frowned at the state of vandalism, theft and hostility from some host communities stressing that telecom facilities should be treated as collectively owned infrastructure.

Shehu, who was represented by Abubakar Usman, Principal Manager, Zonal Operation, NCC, said the telecom sector had contributed and recorded not less than 10 per cent growth in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

She said the programme was aimed at enlightening the public and other stakeholders on the need to protect telecom infrastructure within their communities.

She said it would also create awareness about the importance of telecommunication infrastructure and ensure that telecom consumers get satisfaction from the quality of service.

“This workshop is also intended to present a platform for cooperation between stakeholders in the telecommunications industry.

“It is also to reach an understanding towards putting into proper perspective the concerns most often expressed by the public about telecoms infrastructure,” he said.

The director said that the advent of GSM has re-engineered the economy and social well-being of the nation.

She noted that there were some challenges pervading the seamless provision of telecommunication services in the country arising from some misconceptions and misguided facts about key telecom infrastructure such as Base Stations.

The director assured that the commission would continue to collaborate with relevant agencies to ensure adequate security for telecoms facilities.

In his paper presentation, Engr. Kunle Olorundare, Principal Manager, Technical Standard and Network Integrity, NCC, also underscored the need to protect telecoms infrastructure.

Olorundare noted that the benefits were enormous, including job creation, attraction of investors.

He urged all stakeholders, traditional rulers, indigenes and individuals to collectively protect telecoms infrastructure in the communities.

The Chairman of Nasarawa Eggon Local Government Council Mr. Idris Danlami, applauded the NCC for for organizing the enlightenment programme.

Danlami who was represented by a Concillor, Mr. Masin Anzaku, promised that all hands would be on deck to mobilise more people for the protection of telecoms infrastructure in the communities.

JEZ/ROT

Edited by Rotimi Ijikanmi

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Onu’s reappointment will engender space technology development – NSE

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The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) says the reappointment of Dr Ogbonnaya Onu as Minister of Science and Technology will engender development of space technology and its deployment to tackling insecurity.

Mr Hamid Abdulkareem, the Chairman of NSE, Giri Branch, FCT stated this in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Abuja.

Abdulkareem recalled that during the first tenure of Onu, there were specific responsibilities assigned to parastatals within the Ministry of science and technology for the development of the sector.

He said it would be beneficial to the nation if the minister continued on the path he was towing towards developing the science and technology sector.

The chairman recalled that the minister, during his first tenure, assigned responsibilities to some engineers to collaborate with security agents on how to deploy space technology into addressing issues of insecurity.

He reiterated that space technology had proven impactful in developed nations across the world, adding that Nigeria could leverage on it.

Abdulkareem said that space technology can also address issues on food security, environmental challenges, among other issues.

“One of NSE’s contributions to the development of this sector is to create awareness, galvanise engineers towards deploying space technology into addressing issues of national security.

“In times past, our security agents seem to have deployed strategies within their reach to tackle the problem.

“With space science technology which requires the involvement of engineers, we can monitor activities of banditry, terrorism, food security, natural disaster, among other issues.

“Another mandate given to NSE at the Giri branch is collaborating with the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) to ensure that Nigeria has a meteorological satellite,’’ Abdulkareem said.

The branch chairman said that a meteorological satellite could be deployed towards monitoring weather for strategic planning in aviation, defense, water resources and agriculture.

“By the time we have our own built meteorological satellite; it will take Nigeria far in monitoring weather for strategic planning.

He urged the minister to consolidate on the existing projects and initiate more for the development of the sector.

Edited by Celine-Damilola Oyewole, Rotimi Ijikanmi

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Nigeria needs population that appreciates science knowledge – NAS

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The Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS) says the country needs a population that appreciates science knowledge.

The President of NAS, Prof. Mosto Onuoha, made the assertion at the `NAS Science Media Award’ held in Lagos on Thursday evening.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the NAS Science Media Award in its 8th year, seeks to promote excellence in science and science-related journalism.

The Academy is of the opinion that an improvement in science reporting will result in a well-informed public, bringing about greater accountability in policy-making.

NAN reports that the awards are open to all print and broadcast journalists in Nigeria who published science-related stories (health, environment etc) in 2018.

According to him, appreciating science will go a long way in the development of the country.

“It is good to appreciate people that are good in disseminating information especially in science as science changes the way we live and believe.

“As an academy, we want to popularise science in the country and this led to the starting of the Academy Science Media Award.

“The academy strives to push science forward but is saddled with obstacles like finance. This is the part of the roles Vitafoam Nigeria will play as they recognise the value of science,’’ Onuoha said.

The Managing Director of Vitafoam Nigeria, Mr Taiwo Adeniyi, said that the bedrock of what Vitafoam does evolve around science, the ability to innovate and conduct research.

According to him, if science is taken out of Vitafoam, it will not be relevant again, as science has replaced our natural way of doing things to technological advancement, which has led to production in large quantity.

“Beside Corporate Social Responsibility, embarking on this is an avenue to get people interested in science so as to push the country forward,’’ he said.

Ms Caroline Southey, Editor, Conversation Africa, South Africa, said that science reporting had to be done in a tireless and dogged way through adequate research.

Southey who presented the keynote address titled: `Captivating Science Reporting in the 21st Century’, said that she had witnessed that tireless and doggedness in Nigerian Science Journalists.

She said that a captivating science reporting should be done in a competitive way by maintaining facts and pursuing the truth at all times.

Southey decried the spread of misinformation by some journalists, saying that it damaged public trust in the new media and had a devastating effect on the health of a nation.

The Public Affairs Secretary, NAS, Prof. Olatunde Farombi, while presenting the awards to the winners, said that they had 22 entries from which four winners emerged.

He said that two persons from the print media and two from the broadcast media won the awards, saying the winners showed consistency and uniformity to have emerged.

 

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