Lagos, April 24, 2019 Panelists at the 2019 Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF) on Wednesday said that internet policing would only give room for restrictions and opted for self-policing.
They made the assertion during the opening keynote panel session of the forum in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the forum is in its seventh year.
The forum, formerly known as the Internet Freedom Forum is an annual bi-lingual pan-African forum that provides a platform to debate tough topical global issues around digital inclusion and digital rights in Africa.
DRIF is best known for its track record of tangible actionable outcomes and has gained a reputation as an important platform where conversations on digital policy in Africa are shaped and policy directions forged.
Mrs Mausi Segun, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch Africa Division said that the internet had broken down a lot of barriers and also given birth to freedom of expression.
According to her, the freedom of expression comes with both the positive and negative sides but it behoves on one to practice the dissemination of the positive aspect.
“We should practice self-policing, sanctions and accountability should also be upheld but complete policing is not acceptable,’’ she said.
Segun also called for holding the government accountable as regards inclusion of people mostly in the rural areas; as a lot of conversations are now going on the internet.
She tasked the public on organising of activism around issues to get the needed impact, saying that such had taken place in some countries such as Ethiopia where activities on the cyberspace had helped to restore peace in the country.
In her own contribution, Hawa Ba, Head of the Senegal Country Office, Open Society for West Africa (OSIWA) said that there was need to leverage on the best practices experienced on the internet.
According to her, there are many challenges of the internet but its awareness has helped in surmounting some of these challenges.
“There is awareness of the internet as an undisputable place where people can express themselves and also use to fight against inequality in the society.
“There is also need for caution about online abuses, bullying and others but internet policing will only give room for internet restrictions and will be very unhealthy,” she said.
Ba said that education should be a priority to ensure that the public, the government understood the workings of the internet band and how it was governed.
Albert Antwi-Boasiako, National Cyber Security Advisor, Government of Ghana said that internet shutdown was a way of silencing the voice not the people.
Antwi-Boasiako, who was represented by Emmanuella Darkwa, Programme Officer, International Cooperation, National Cyber security Centre, Ministry of Communication, Ghana, said that the government of Ghana was revising its policy to meet global internet norms.
“There is need to criminalise certain offence online like pornography and to do so there is need to create a formidable law to tackle that with the aid of all stakeholders,’’ she said.
Mr Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative, said that digital divide was real, urging the public to always tell the truth, and copy good practices from other countries.
“ Digital Rights and Freedom Bill was not signed by the President but we are working with partners in Togo and Cameroon on positive rights legislation.
“We should also understand that the world is not made of the physical space alone and not signing the bill will not bring sanity on the cyberspace.
“In terms of getting more people into the conversation the DRIF is winning and between the 2018 Forum and 2019, paradigm initiative has released the Digital Rights in Africa.
“We are grateful to experts who are at the forum and worked with us to capture issues of relevance in their countries of residence and expertise,’’ he said.
Sesan, however, said that the good news was that in the past week, stakeholders had met to understand the need to sign the bill, of which the President gave some issues that should be addressed and those issues were being worked on.
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ICT firm unveils mobile app to boost e-commerce, telecommunications
An Information Technology (IT) firm, International Labour Reward (ILR) Group of Companies on Saturday unveiled ILR Biz App, a multi-solution provider business hub app to facilitate and promote e-commerce, telecommunications and agriculture.
Speaking at the launch of the App in Lagos, Mr Michael Oluwafemi, the Group Managing Director of the company, said the firm was poised at deepening financial technology of the country and reward users accordingly.
Oluwafemi said that what differentiated the ILR mobile app from other financial apps was that it ensured that users were rewarded with whatever transactions they used the app for within and outside the country.
According to him, anyone that registers and uses the platform for transactions will get value for using it from whatever that accrues to the firm more than whatever any banking app could offer.
“ILR is a global project. Today, we are launching our new solution product called ILR Biz. It is a mobile application solution that provides solutions to all essential services and needs of the people.
“It is an all-inclusive reward system for all transactions done on the app. It is not networking or multi-level marketing but a reward system.
“All we want to do is to make life better for people and ensure users get better value for all they do.
“You get rewarded for making use of the platform and if you convince another person to join in using the app, you also get rewarded.
“ILR is a registered organisation with group of companies, the firm focuses on production, processing and distribution.
“The organisation currently operates in these major sectors: Agriculture, real estate, printing press, super markets, engineering services, telecommunications, recharge services, cooperatives society.
“All we need to do is to download ILR app on Google play Store on mobile phone to get started, register for free but activate with N3,000 which covers a debit card valid for three years,” Oluwafemi said.
According to him, the app is an all in one business platform that provides users with efficient value added services which include e-commerce, agro mart, recharge services, sending money, real estate among others.
The director said that the firm’s objective was to create a global community with the mission to provide the needs of its community and also feed them through agricultural programmes.
He said that the firm also aimed at providing jobs for the teaming youths of the country and also contributed to the national development of the country.
He said that the firm was not a pyramid scheme or networking or multi-level marketing but only provided a platform to reward anybody in the community with a token which could be moved into a wallet system for cashing or investment purposes.
“You can create money for yourself on this platform and send money from the wallet to anyone anywhere at just N50 per transaction,” he said.
He added that the firm also had POS services with several POS agents.
Contributing, Mr Hakeem Abdulkareem, the ILR Director of ICT and Cyber Security said that the app was changing the situation where winners take it all in other apps used for financial transactions by ensuring users get rewarded.
According to Abdulkareem, as ILR gets profit, people using the platform are also rewarded, saying every token given to users as reward can be moved into wallet system and virtual account for transactions, investment, cashing or transfer to people.
Edited by Maureen Atuonwu
NACCIMA president charges FG, states to patronise Innoson motors
Hajiya Saratu Iya-Aliyu, the National President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), has called on the federal and state governments to massively patronise Innoson motors.
Iya-Aliyu made the call on Thursday while inaugurating a newly installed automated bus manufacturing plant at Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing (IVM) plant, Nnewi in Anambra.
She said: “I want to advise Nigerians, including state and federal governments, to massively patronise Innoson vehicles.
“The kind of vehicles manufactured here can march any vehicle produced anywhere in the world and I am elated to be part of this history-making venture.”
Iya-Aliyu opined that supporting indigenous businesses, such as IVM, had the potential to create jobs and reduce unemployment
She said that the growth of indigenous businesses could also improve the nation’s Gross Domestic Product and fast-track industrialization.
According to her, the nation’s quest to develop the private sector can only be realised, if Nigerians support made-in-Nigeria products.
She further called on government at all levels to provide conducive environment for indigenous businesses to flourish.
The NACCIMA boss announced at the event that Chief Innocent Chukwuma, the Chairman of IVM, had been named the chairman of the chamber’s automobile committee.
She said that with the new assignment, Chukwuma and his new committee, “are now in-charge of certifying vehicles imported into Nigeria.”
She expressed the confidence that the new plant would boost the company’s production capacity.
In a speech, Chukwuma said the plant had the capacity to produce up to 15 vehicles daily and more than 5,450 annually.
He said, “A major benefit of this new plant is that it will reduce production cost, especially for buses in the country.”
He said that his firm planned to replicate the success of the bus production on SUV, MPV and Sedans production lines.
“Our target is to ensure that an average Nigerian can afford a brand new car,” Chukwuma said.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the event was attended by national and state officials of NACCIMA.
(Edited by Sam Oditah)
Pic shows NACCIMA President, Hajiya Saratu Iya-Aliyu (4th l-r), flanked by Chief Innocent Chukwuma, the Chairman, Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing Plant (3rd l-r), and other NACCIMA officials, during the inauguration of a new Innoson automobile plant at Nnewi, on Thursday. Pic by NAN Awka.
Pantami directs NCC to address issues of automatic voicemails on existing phonelines
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has ordered the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to immediately ensure that issues regarding automatic voicemails are addressed on all existing phone lines in the country.
In a statement signed by Mrs Uwa Suleiman, Spokesperson to the Minister, Pantami’s said attention was drawn to the latest trend of financial exploitation by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country.
He said the exploitation was through the automatic activation of the Voicemail Service on their platforms.
The Minister explained that based on the recent reports reaching his office, the practice has gained momentum in recent times, adding that voicemail service should be accessed at the discretion of the subscriber and not by default.
Pantami described the act as worrisome and totally unacceptable, that telecoms subscribers incur financial charges, for a service they are compelled to use by default.
According to him, Voicemail is not a popular service among mobile phone users in Nigeria, coupled with the language challenge among rural dwellers, who mostly do not understand the language deployed by these networks.
“It is apparent, that the recent clampdown on the exploitative activities of some Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country, has beamed the searchlight on the sector properly.
“The subscribers should be given the option of accessing the service via an activation code.
“Some unpatriotic elements in the system are devising subtle, ingenious methods of defrauding Nigerians.
“The Ministry under my leadership will neither overlook any acts, regardless of how subtle, that undermine the Anti-Corruption Crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari, nor condone any attempts to defraud Nigerians and all subscribers.
“It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the rights of consumers are protected, while providing a conducive business environment for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), in line with global best practice,” he said.
Edited by Felix Ajide
International GIS Day: Expert calls for GIS inculcation in STEM study
Mr David Afolayan, a Geographic Information System (GIS) expert, has called for the inculcation of GIS into the study of STEM subjects to fast track development in Nigeria.
Afolayan enjoined government to encourage GIS-supported education system as seen in developed countries.
“Presently, GIS is in the Geography curriculum, but in most developed countries, it was not limited to the subject alone.
“It is actually promoted as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) tool, where students are exposed to the technology across the world.
“Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a technological framework that unlocks a better understanding of our world.
“It is a robust tool that supports decision-making by providing an effective platform to analyse and understand precise locations of information.
“The knowledge of GIS provides a solid foundation for STEM. It’s proper and early introduction to students will expand their career opportunities in fields that are rewarding,” he said.
Afolayan said that the International GIS Day, observed on Nov. 13 of every year, was aimed at promoting the technology available to solve spatial problems.
He said that 10 private and public secondary schools in Ibadan city were invited for the event, in collaboration with the Association of Nigerian Geographers to demonstrate to students the practical aspect of GIS which they had learnt in school.
NAN reports that the theme for this year’s celebration is ‘The Mappier World’.
Afolayan said that this year marks the 20th annual international GIS Day celebration for the purpose of creating awareness.
He said that Oyo was one of the states in Nigeria which had deployed GIS technology to solve flood problems.
“There has been an intervention on flood and GIS technology was used to map the whole city. Presently, the state is developing the master plan for the city, including drainage and waste master plans,” he said.
The GIS expert noted that some climate change and global warming effect currently being experienced could be solved with GIS technology.
Mr Israel Abioye and Mrs Beatrice Odetayo, two of the teachers, who spoke with NAN at the event, said GIS should be encouraged in the education system in the country due to its significance to the environment.
“Government can improve on STEM study by incorporating GIS into it,” they both said.
Some of the students, who participated at the event, described it as an eye opener to the possibilities available through technology.
NAN reports that the event featured GIS demonstrations such as Map Art Exhibition, 3D Simulation, Competitive Games, Digital Experience and career talk.
Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq
Africa Free Trade Area: NCC to boost investment in telecoms industry
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it will boost investment in the telecommunications industry, while leveraging opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement.
NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said this on Wednesday in Lagos during the Stakeholders’ Sensitisation Workshop on the Implications of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement for Nigeria’s Communications Industry.
The two-day workshop organised by NCC in collaboration with Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiation (NOTN) was themed:”Improving Nigerian Communications Industry Competitiveness for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Initiative”.
Danbatta, who was represented by NCC Director of Licensing and Authorisation, Mohammed Babajika, said that Nigeria-based communications businesses should harness the potentials of the AfCFTA Agreement to their own advantage.
He said that Nigeria joined the list of African countries that signed the trade pact when President Muhammadu Buhari on July 7, 2019, endorsed the AfCFTA Agreement at the African Union (AU) Summit in Niamey, Niger.
AfCFTA is an initiative of the AU, with the main objective of creating a single continental market for goods and services, in addition to facilitating free movement of investment and people across the entire African continent.
”The Federal Government’s aspirations to advance Nigeria’s economic development through continuous encouragement of pro-trade, pro-business, pro-investment and pro-export measures are in sync with the mandate of the NCC.
”NCC’s mandate is to stimulate investment and economic activity by protecting the interest of the government, investors and consumers within the Nigerian Communications ecosystem,” Danbatta said.
He said that there was the need to always improve the competitiveness of the over 70 billion dollars Nigerian Communications sector market for the Continental Free Trade Area.
Danbatta said that the workshop would draw attention of industry stakeholders to the need to fully appreciate the business implications of AfCFTA.
According to him, the workshop will encourage industry stakeholders on the need to seek and exploit opportunities that will emerge in the operational phase of AfCFTA.
The Chairman of NCC Board, Sen. Olabiyi Durojaiye, said that the Nigerian Communications industry’s participation in AfCFTA was necessary for achieving the rapid socio-economic development agenda of the government.
Durojaiye said that the commission was committed to ensuring that the sector continued to improve on its contribution to GDP and by extension, the Nigerian economy.
He said that through its direct contribution to the GDP and its indirect contribution to the performance of other sectors, the telecommunication sector remained a facilitator of economic development.
According to him, NCC recognises that the Continental Free Trade Area arrangement means that there is now access to extend communications services to 1.2 billion people across the African continent.
”With a larger proportion of this population made up of young people, whose hunger for data and mobile services continues to grow, there is no limit to achievement by innovative operators/investors in terms of business opportunities.
”Just the way we recognize the opportunities for investors in the African market, we also know that there are challenges not to say threats.
”Operators and investors within the communications ecosystem must fully appreciate these dynamics, in order to ensure that they prepare adequately for them. Hence, the need for this Sensitisation Workshop,” he said.
The acting Director-General of NOTN, Mr Liman Liman, said that there was the need for strong regulatory institution in order to prevent unfair competition in the market.
Liman said that in order to be globally competitive, telecommunications infrastructure would require significant amount of investment both by domestic and foreign investors.
Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Wale Ojetimi
Borofice urges stakeholders to use geospatial for space development
Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, the Deputy Senate Leader has called for multi stakeholders engagement in the utilisation of geospatial technologies as a viable tool for sustainable space development in the country.
Boroffice made the call on Wednesday in a statement issued in Abuja by Dr Felix Ale, the Head, Media and Corporate Communications of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).
The deputy senate leader made the call at the opening ceremony of the annual Geoinformation Society of Nigeria (GEOSON) conference on Tuesday with theme: “Smart Spartial Solutions for Sustainable Development in Africa”.
Geospatial technology is an emerging field of study that include Geographic Information System (GIS), Remote Sensing (RS) and Global Positioning System (GPS), which enables humans acquire data referenced to the earth and used for analysis, modelling, simulations and visualisation.
Geospatial technology allows scientist to make informed decisions based on the importance and priority of resources most of which are limited in nature.
It is also used to create intelligent maps and models that may be interactively queried to get the desired results in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths application as well as advocate social investigations and policy based research.
According to Boroffice, President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to moving Nigeria to the next level, particularly through good governance, space science development and provision of infrastructural facilities.
“Efforts are being intensified on the diversification of the economy through the consistent search and identification of other mineral resources or ventures that can assist in the actualisation of this noble objective.
“The adoption of smart spatial solution will go a long way to assist in the developmental drive of the country,” he said.
Dr Matthew Adepoju, the National President of GEOSON identified geospatial information as the bedrock and major tool for radical transformation in any society.
He appealed to practitioners, especially those in the field of geospatial technology to work in synergy with the spatial data infrastructure in Nigeria.
Adepoju promised that under his leadership, GEOSON would continue to work to have a regulatory framework for Nigeria as well as making the geo-information policy an act in the government.
He said that the conference would project the need to keep high standard of advancement in geo-information and earth sciences that would pave the way for solutions to various developmental problems.
Mr Jonathan Angulu, the Acting Director General of NASRDA, emphasised the need for partnership with GEOSON by other relevant organisations, adding that space agency was established to provide a fulcrum for scientific research using remote sensing data in the country.
“NASRDA will continue to play its strategic role in the area of data provision and members of the association, research institutes and universities should engage in quality research work in collaboration with the agency to enhance industrialisation and socio-economic development of the country.”
Angulu recalled that the newly established National Space Institute by the agency would foster the study and advancement of Geospatial information technology in the country.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the annual conference is a week-long programme aimed at projecting the importance of geospatial technology to the development of space science and the socio-economic growth of the country.
Edited by Saidu Adamu/Gracen Yussuf
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