NCC tasks consumers on protection of telecom infrastructure
Abuja, April 14, 2019 The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has called for a collaborative efforts towards protecting telecom infrastructure across the country.
Mrs Amina Shehu, NCC Director Zonal Operations made this call in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
Shehu was speaking at the commission’s sensitisation programme on the protection of telecoms infrastructure in Okene Kogi State.
She urged all stakeholders, including traditional rulers, and individuals to collectively protect telecoms infrastructure in their communities.
Shehu, represented by Mr Ekisola Oladisun, Principal Manager, Zonal Operations Directorate, told the audience that concerted efforts of all stakeholders were needed to protect telecoms infrastructure.
“If the Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE) enjoyed by the consumers are to be improved upon, the consumers needed to play a role by joining hands in protecting telecoms infrastructure.
“Such as Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) and fibre optic cables located in their vicinities,” she said.
She noted that Nigeria has, over the years, recorded tremendous growth in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) following the liberalisation of the telecoms industry in 2001.
Shehu, however, lamented that there are various chanlleges facing optimum protection for telecoms infrastructure, which , in turn, hinder delivery of highly improved services to the consumers by the mobile networks.
The challenges, according to her, include vandalism, theft of telecoms site equipment’s, harassment and intimidation of telecoms site engineers among others.
“It is important to note that the spate of vandalism of telecoms infrastructure across the country has resulted in cases of poor quality of service which telecoms consumers complain about,” she said.
She said it was on the basis of these realities, that the commission organised the workshop in order to educate consumers on the imperative of protecting telecoms infrastructure.
“Which has become the backbone for the entire economy so we need to collectively protect telecoms infrastructure in our communities to prevent decline in quality of service on the networks of our service providers,” she said.
Also speaking Mr Musa Daibu an official in the Technical Standards and Network Integrity (TSNI) Directorate, NCC, said the commission and other stakeholders were pushing for the passing into law of a bill on Critical National Infrastructure.
Daibu said that the bill if passed, will help to further improve telecoms infrastructure protection, as it will classify telecoms infrastructure as national assets.
The forum provided opportunity for telecoms consumers to ask questions on various aspects of telecomm service delivery.
And the commission’s officials provided appropriate responses to issues raised to the satisfaction of the consumers.
Pantami charges ministry workers on hardwork
The Minister of Communication, Dr. Isah Pantami, on Wednesday charged the members of staff of the ministry to work hard, take their duties seriously and shun tribalism.
Pantami gave the charge while addressing the management and members of staff of the ministry when he assumed office on Wednesday in Abuja.
He enjoined the members of staff to come together as one, to deliver the ministry’s mandate.
The minister also assured that agencies under the ministry would be motivated to deliver their own mandate.
“The responsibility is not mine alone, we must come together as brothers and sisters to deliver our mandate.
“If we do what is right, history will be very kind to us. But if we betray the trust given to us, history will not be kind to us.
“We know the mandate of every agency under the minstry and we know the role that the ministry should play.
“Each and every agency will be motivated to deliver its own mandate and the ministry as well will do its work.
The minister said that the ministry had a lot of challenges in the ICT sector and he is prepared to tackle them to move the sector forward.
He disclosed that there would be a two-day retreat by the ministry to discuss and proffer solutions to all the challenges, and articulate his policies directive.
The Permanent Secretary, Mr. Istifanus Fuktu welcomed the minister and urged him to frontally confront the challenges been faced in the ministry.
He also called on the workers of the ministry to be law abiding and to work diligently in order to achieve the best for the government.
Onu directs staff to begin 2020 budget preparation on assumption of duty
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has directed the staff to begin 2020 budget preparation immediately to enhance budgetary process.
Onu gave the directive in a meeting with the Permanent Secretary, Directors and heads of all the parastatal and agencies under the ministry in Abuja on Wednesday.
The minister said the staff should start meeting on Thursday to align with the vision of the Federal Government to return the budget circle to January-December fiscal year.
“ President Muhammadu Buhari is willing to return the budget circle to January-December as you know that we have not had a regular budget circle.
“Luckily for us, the National Assembly has pledged to work with us and the President wants us to submit our budget estimates latest by September.
“ The officials of the Budget Office will be meeting with you in the next two weeks so you have to meet tomorrow to discuss this.
“ I want us to be the first ministry to submit budget estimates; we have done this in the past four years and I trust we will not fail,’’ he said.
Onu said the President expected them to put into use any money allocated to the ministry, saying “ we must work together as a team to achieve our mandate.’’
The minister said that the President was pleased with him that was why he got re-election for the second term.
Onu is among the 14 ministers that got re-appointed and they were all posted to their previous ministries.
He, however, pledged to operate open door policy and urged the staff to work with the newly inaugurated Minister of State, Mr Mohammed Abdullahi.
Also speaking, the minister of state called for the support from the staff to advance the development of science and technology in the country.
Abudullahi said he was assigned to work with Onu to achieve the transformation agenda of the government.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Bitrus Nabusu, welcomed the two ministers and expressed willingness to work with them.
Nabusu said Onu advanced the cause of the ministry in his first term in office, adding that having two ministers would be a morale booster for the staff.
The two ministers are expected to meet with the management and staff as well as directors-general of agencies and parastatal under the ministry on Thursday.
The ministry has the mandate to facilitate the development and deployment of science and technology apparatus to enhance the pace of socio-economic development of the country.
BPSR signs MoU to scale ICT innovation in public service
The Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) to scale ICT innovation in the service.
The Director General of BPSR, Mr Ibrahim Arabi, at the event in Abuja, said the part decision was informed by the need to scale the capacity of public servants along current trend in technology.
He said the step would help to catalyse a rebranded public service for Nigeria in 2025.
“The official signing of the MoU is a practical step to fulfilling the aspirations of the government towards having a workforce with required sets to deliver better service to citizens.
“Huge investment of the Federal Government on ICT infrastructure in DBI was a clear demonstration of its strategic thinking to upskill of public servants in the ICT innovations towards reforming the service,” he said.
Arabi said a committee will be set up to commence development of action plan to identify skills gaps in the public service by conducting Training Needs Assesment (TNA).
He said activities that would captured in the action plan includes digital literacy, developing strategy for use of Computer Based Test (CBT) to conduct recruitment and promotion examination in the public service, entrepreneurship programme and use of local contents.
The Director General of DBI, Ms Viola Usoro said the objective of the MoU was to form a synergy between the BPSR’s vision of developing a world class public service using ICT and the provision of capacity building by the institute.
“The relevance of ICT in driving the public service reforms cannot be over emphasized especially as the Federal Government seeks to direct the public service information System,”she said.
Edited by Rotimi Ijikanmi
FG to address ethical issues in science, technology application
The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology says it is working with stakeholders in the sector to address ethical issues in the application of science and technology in the country.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Bitrus Nabusu, said this at the opening of the 2-day stakeholders’ meeting for the harmonisation of the National Bioethics Committee Framework and Policy Documents.
The meeting was organised by the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) in collaboration with the Nigeria National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM-UNESCO).
Bioethics relates to ethical issues emerging from advances in sciences and technology. It is the moral discernment from policies and practices in the fields of sciences and technology.
Nabusu, represented by Mr Abayomi Oguntunde, Director, Bio-resources Technology in the ministry said there was need to come up with policies on bioethics because of advancement in science and technology.
“The environment is changing rapidly, people are also changing fast, technology is advancing faster than we can imagine; new scientific innovations are coming up promising us heaven on earth.
“We must not forget that advancement comes with its own challenges.
“Life, as we all know, is full of risks everyday with the hope that the risk we take will yield good results and not break us.
“Bioethics, therefore, is here to mediate between changes in the society, scientific innovations and societal concerns,’’ he said.
According to him, bioethics is the application of moral principles (ethics) to life.
The permanent Secretary said the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights was adopted by acclamation on Oct. 19, 2005 at UNESCO’s General Conference.
He said the declaration affirmed that ethical issues raised by the rapid advances in science and their technology applications should be examined.
Nabusu said it should be examined with due respect to the dignity of human person and universal respect for, and observances of, human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“The primary aim of the declaration is to provide a universal framework of principles and procedures to guide member states (to which Nigeria belongs to).
“It will also guide member states in formulation of their legislations, policies or other instruments in the field of bioethics,’’ he said.
In her remarks, Dr Chitu Princewill, a deputy director, NABDA said Nigeria had remained observer in international bioethics committee meeting due to lack of a National Bioethics Committee.
Princewill said the NATCOM- UNESCO which was the Nigerian clearing house for Bioethics in 2009 chose the NABDA as the Focal Point for Bioethics in Nigeria.
“Also, to ensure the establishment of the Nigerian National Bioethics Committee, since then the NABDA has been working towards achieving the mandate.
“The Federal Government as part of its drive to ensure that right thing is done in Nigeria allocated some funds to the establishment of the Committee,’’ She said.
According to her, the National Bioethics Committee Framework is all encompassing and will continue to expand as changes occur in the society.
“It will expand and with advances in science and technology, therefore it cannot be restricted to one particular issue.
“The framework will attend to all issues posing challenge to life, dignity and freedom of persons as it affects us as a nation and also proffer advice on how best to tackle these issues.’’
In addition, Princewill said the main objective of the committee was to act as an advisory body to the President and policy makers.
She said that the stakeholders meeting to kick start the establishment of the National Bioethics Committee had been established since 2009.
The official, however, urged the stakeholders to deliberate on producing a National Bioethics Framework and a National Bioethics Policy to enhance the establishment of the National Bioethics Committee.
Also speaking, Mr Ngandeu Hugue, Programme Specialist for Social and Human Sciences UNESCO said the agency was looking forward to the recommendations from the meeting.
Hague said the agency would provide support for the committee when inaugurated.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the 2-day meeting is expected to produce inputs from six technical sessions; health, agriculture, environment, society, education as well as defence and security.
Paradigm Initiative, Dufuna Technologies train graduates to be employable
Paradigm Initiative an NGO and Dufuna Technologies Ltd say they are collaborating on a digital skills training programme to empower under-served youths with relevant digital skills and connect them to both local and global opportunities.
They said on Wednesday in Lagos that the collaboration would also contribute to ease the unemployment burden in the country.
According to them, the National Bureau of Statistics has rated the youth unemployment and underemployment at 55.4 per cent.
Olatokunbo Fagbamigbe, Project Lead at Dufuna Technologies, said that the company was a training-focused organisation that is passionate about tackling unemployment among recent graduates through its training programmes.
Fagbamigbe said that from October 2019, the collaboration between Paradigm Initiative and Dufuna will be organising a six-month hands-on CodeCamp.
He said that it was a Lagos-based project-centric software engineering training programme for recent graduates.
“’Prior to this new initiative, Paradigm Initiative had for eight years from 2012, organised its innovative Techtiary programme, involving training of tertiary institution graduated to acquire technical skills.
“The programme has enabled students in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions to develop entrepreneurial and technical skills during their university education with many success stories as a testament to its impact.
“This collaboration between Paradigm Initiative with Dufuna announces the rebranding of the Techtiary programme,” he said in a statement.
He said that no prior knowledge of programming was required but, however, to succeed in the programme, participants must have the determination to succeed and be a self-starter.
Abolaji said that applications for the programme opened on Aug. 2 and will close Aug. 30.
According to him, there is a deferred payment model that allows trainees to only pay for the cost of the programme after they have completed the program and started work based on new skills acquired during the training.
(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)