Abuja, April 10, 2019 The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) says it is collaborating with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to deploy emerging technologies to address social challenges and boost innovation in the country.
The agency’s Representative in Nigeria, Mr Sakamoto Masanori, said this on Wednesday when he paid a courtesy visit to the Director General of NITDA, Dr Isa Pantami in Abuja.
He said that the collaboration was to enable the agency to promote the application of digital technology in the utility sector to facilitate the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Masanori said the agency had engaged the private sector to open up business opportunities available in utility services.
He added that JICA was also conducting a survey called “Nigeria Open Innovation Challenge” to invite ICT startups that had capacity to change businesses and deploy more efficient solutions to social challenges present in the utility sector.
According to him, NITDA has the capacity to identify outstanding startups that can develop technology applications and business ideas for the sector.
He said “we are conducting a survey in some African countries like Rwanda,Kenya,Uganda and starting from Nigeria to develop utility service businesses because issues on water board is a huge challenge.
“We are looking at increasing private investors in this area to improve services.”
The NITDA boss, who recognised Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analysis, Internet of Things, Blockchain and 3D printing as part of emerging technologies that contribute to the development of any economy, said that the agency was ensuring that those technologies were deployed to develop different sectors of the country.
He said “AI, 3D printing, crypto-currency are all part of emerging, disruptive technologies and we are passionate about the concepts.
“We need to focus more on them to leverage on so many opportunities they have to offer and see how we can support our young innovators to attain higher level of development.”
The director general emphasised that the agency was open to developmental collaborations, adding that JICA should include other sectors in its interventions in the country.
FG appoints Kashifu Abdullahi as new NITDA boss
The Federal Government on Tuesday appointed Mr Kashifu Abdullahi as the new Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Mrs Hadiza Umar, Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations of NITDA confirmed the appointment to the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja.
Umar quoted a statement signed by Mr Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, on the new NITDA boss appointment and others.
The appointment of Abdullahi was sequel to the nomination of Dr Isa Pantami, the outgoing director general of the agency as a minister designate by the President.
Abdullahi until his appointment was a principal officer at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) who was on secondment to NITDA as a Technical Assistant to Pantami.
He, in the past worked with the Galaxy Backbone Limited and has a number of professional certifications.
Other appointments by the government according to Shehu, included Sen. Basheer Mohammed who replaced Mrs Sadiya Farouk as Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees,Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.
Dr Chioma Ejikeme was appointed to replace Mrs Sharon Ikeazor as the Executive Secretary, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate.
Mr Adeleke Adewolu’s name had also been forwarded to the Senate to replace Mr Sunday Dare as Executive Commissioner, Nigerian Communications Commission.
NCC records 271, 112 complaints in 4 years – Danbatta
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it recorded 271,112 complaints from Jan. 2015 till July 2019 from which 95 per cent has been successfully resolved.
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta revealed this on Tuesday at the opening of the 2nd edition of Conference of African Telecommunications Regulators on Consumer Affairs (CATCO) in Abuja.
The conference hosted by the NCC has the theme: “Empowering the Telecom Consumer in an Era of Technological Evolution” .
“We are ensuring that telecoms service delivery is improved through continuously monitoring of activities of our licensees in order to treat consumer right and offer them value for their money.
“We believe that service delivery on the parts of our licensees in this era of technological evolution should be the totality of how telecoms operating companies package, provide and deliver, those services to their consumers, ” Danbatta said.
He said the commission introduced two major initiatives as part of measures to empower the consumers which were, the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 Short Code, and the 622 Toll-Free Line
He said the DND 2442 Short Code is used by consumers to control what they receive on their phones as unsolicited text messages or calls while the 622 Toll-Free line is too ensure improvement in service delivery.
Danbatta explained that 21 million subscribers had signed up for the Do Not Disturb (DND) initiative and NCC has continued to create more awareness on it through various outreach programmes and other stakeholder engagement fora.
The EVC said that consumers can call the 622 number to escalate their unresolved complaints to their service providers for effective resolution through the Commission’s intervention.
Danbatta said that the commission had commenced aggressive enforcement of compulsory compliance with the NCC’s Code of Corporate Governance for Telecommunications Industry.
Edited by Rotimi Ijikanmi
Launching satellites from equatorial orbit shorter to space, cheaper – NASRDA
The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) on Tuesday said that Nigeria should harness the benefit of launching satellites from the Equitorial orbit which is shorter to space and saves cost.
Dr Spencer Onuh, the Director, Centre for Satellite Technology Development (CSTD), one of NASRDA’s activity centres, said this during the centre’s week and 9th Annual Space Conference and Exhibition in Abuja.
The Nigeria News Agency reports the two days conference focuses on the theme “Exploration of Equatorial Orbit for Space Optimisation.’
Onuh said that Nigeria located in Africa as a continent is advantaged being close to the equatorial orbit, adding that the positioning gives African countries an edge over other countries who could be located across the polar orbit.
NAN reports that Nigeria in 2003, 2007 and 2011 launched its satellites from China, Italy and Russia respectively which are outside the equatorial orbit.
Onuh explained that “equatorial orbit is an orbit roughly in line with the equator of the being planet orbited while polar orbit is one in which a satellite passes above or nearly above poles of the body being orbited on each revolution’’.
“There is a natural endowment of advantages the equatorial region bestows on us.
“For a country like Nigeria, we do a lot of revisiting of satellites for information gathering in disaster management, security, agricultural issues.
“We need to make use of equatorial orbit to reap the benefits of space science and technology,” he said.
According to Onuh, Nigeria is lacking in the area of infrastructure for developing space science technology but has human capacity to advance the sector.
He said that private-public partnership, space entrepreneurs can be encouraged to build the infrastructure needed to develop space science technology and harness its benefits.
“Private partnership can be Nigeria having international collaborations that should be done in our interest, on our terms.
“We have the capacity to challenge European space industry, our challenge is the infrastructure, we need to fix our ground station, our Assembly, Integration and Testing lab.
“Private-public-partnership can be encouraged to develop space science technology because satellite business is not just about government,” Onuh said.
The director said, though, the government had taken the responsibility of developing the space industry because Nigeria is a third world country but it is not sustainable.
Prof. Babatunde Rabiu, Director, Centre for Atmospheric Research, said that satellites from equatorial orbit deviate from the equitorial plane of a planet by less than 45 degrees.
According to Rabiu, equatorial region is characterised with the highest values of the peak electron density with the most pronounced amplitude.
He said that Near Equitorial Orbit (NEqO) satellite of countries have the potential to provide immediate disaster relief information and repetitive monitoring from multi-mission satellites.
“NEqO satellites have possible programming and selection of areas to be observed with acceptable cloud cover before and during satellite data acquisition,’’ he said.
He noted that NEqO country satellites have less market potential for data coverage because it is limited to targeted zone in equitorial zone.
“I observed that most of the nations in the equatorial belt are actually underdeveloped and considered as nations with poor management of resources,” he said
The director recommended that there should be continuous deployment of ground-based equipment for monitoring space environment in the equatorial region.
He called for urgent review of the space agency’s present budget and procurement laws to favour space science and technology among other recommendations.
Dr Matthew Adepoju, President, Geo-information Society of Nigeria (GSN) said African countries lagged behind in the first, second and third industrial revolution.
Adepoju noted that the continent must not continue to take the back stage in the fourth industrial revolution.
“The most advanced countries have taken advantage of the polar orbit, we are located in the equatorial orbit which we need to take advantage of.
“Most African countries are leveraging on this and Nigeria need to also key in and take our leadership in the continent to space.
Edited by Rotimi Ijikanmi
Buhari charges African telecom regulators on e-fraud, cyber crime
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday charged African Telecoms Regulators to protect the continent and their consumers against e-fraud and cyber crime.
The President gave the charge in Abuja at the 2019 edition of the Conference of African Telecommunications Regulators on Consumer Affairs (CATCO) hosted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The Nigeria News Agency reports the conference with the theme “Empowering the Telecom Consumer in an Era of Technological Evolution’’ is to, among others, look at how regulatory activities of the 54-member nations of African Union (AU) can be integrated for seamless connectivity to boost customers’ satisfaction.
The President underscored the need for the bodies of telecom regulators in the continent to place priority attention to protecting their consumers from e-fraud,
NAN reports that the president was represented by Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) who was also represented by his (SGF) Chief of Staff, Mr Polycarp Shombo.
“Globally, technological evolution has facilitated innovations in various sectors of the economy such as banking, agriculture, healthcare, commerce, entertainment, transport, and so on, bringing a lot of efficiency in service delivery as we are witnessing in Nigeria.
“However, these channels may also be hijacked and manipulated to the detriment of vulnerable consumers as can be demonstrated by rise in e-fraud activities and cybercrimes,’’ he said.
The President also called on the regulators to keep themselves abreast of the phased technological evolution from the first, second, third, fourth and the fifth generation of technologies.
He said that telecoms regulatory agencies should be concerned about the effects of the technological changes on the consumers as regulators of one of the dynamic sectors of the economy in Africa.
Buhari said that the federal government was focusing on leveraging ICT as baseline for growth and development in every sector of Nigeria’s economy.
He stressed that telecommunications and broadly speaking, Infomation Communication Technology (ICT), had become an enabler of economic growth
According to him, Nigeria is already tackling challenges associated with broadband deployment in order to boost accessibility, availability and affordability of digital services across the nooks and crannies of the country.
He said the government is working tirelessly, through regulators, to address challenges associated with right of way issue, multiple taxation and regulations, vandalism of telecoms infrastructure, among others.
“We are also ensuring that Nigeria continues to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into its digital space through creating the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
“We now talk of Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud Computing, Blockchain, smart cities and various smart technological renovations.
“All are targeted at certain group of consumers of digital services, whether individual or corporate entities,’’ he said.
The President congratulated the entire NCC team for supporting the platform for telecoms regulatory bodies across the length and breadth of Africa to gather and exchange ideas.
“The contribution of telecoms to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) now stands at over 10 per cent by the first quarter of this year.
”We want to see telecoms industry playing even bigger role as an enabler of economic growth and development not only in Nigeria but also across Africa.
“We must be aware that these technologies present enormous opportunities for the consumers on the one hand and may constitute threats to consumers on the other hand, especially if left improperly regulated.
“In as much as the technological evolution has changed the way we interact as nations it has also deepened the frontier for the Good, the Bad and the Ugly,’’ he said.
The president charged the regulators to be on top of their game in safeguarding the interests of the end users of the complex technologies.
Edited by Rotimi Ijikanmi
Ogun governor’s wife says committed to achieving SDG Goal 4
Abiodun expressed her commitment in an address at the Junior Chambers Initiative (JCI) on International Youth Day 2019, organised by the European Union (EU) and the UN with the theme “Transforming Education: Rethinking the Present”.
She said that the SDG goal 4 which is all children are given equal opportunities to education was her passion and project.
According to her, there is a contradiction in the globalised world and the fast growing service centre, the digital technological transformation in recruitment and a wider range of skills is currently required.
“It is therefore, imperative to bridge the skills gap in employment opportunities and sell social economic transformation and reduce poverty.”
Hence, the theme, Transforming Education is critical, as a champion of the UN SDG, I am personally committed to achieving SDG 4.
“SDG 4 is all children are given the opportunity of receiving quality education and my dear husband the governor, Dapo Abiodun’s administration is actively working to reform the educational system in the state,” she said.
The Ogun first lady also urged individuals to positively impact on the Nigeria, while commending the 10 persons who had contributed meaningfully to the society.
She said that the 10 persons had in spite of all odds persevered and remained dedicated to positively impacting on various communities.
Abiodun expressed satisfaction with their continued belief and optimism in the country and encouraged all to remain committed to Nigeria’s development, continually striving for self development and finding innovative ways to positively impact on community.
According to her, when you do this you will find that you are living the true value of the JCI creed that says “Earth great treasure lies in human personality”, you are all the backbone and the future of Nigeria.
She also applauded Nigerians, the EU and partner organisations for the impact they were making in the society.
Abiodun said that most importantly, for the TOYP programme that holds every year would motivate young persons across the country.
“I am hopeful that the Nigerian flag will once again be hoisted in the world congress.
The News Agency of Niger reports that the JCI at the annual International Youth Day gave honoured the 10 outstanding Nigerians who had contributed meaningfully to different sectors in the society with awards.
The award categories were Academic Leadership and Accomplishment, Contribution to Children World Peace and Human rights, Cultural Achievement and others.
One of the recipients, Onye Lauritta, a Weightlifter and an Olympic gold medallist got the Personal Accomplishment award and appreciated the organisers.
Onye said that she would make effortsw to keep the Nigerian flag flying at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics in Japan.
(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)