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FG to develop national leather policy to boost economy- Perm. Sec.

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Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr Bitrus Nabasu said the Federal Government has plans to develop a National Leather Product Policy to boost Gross Domestic Product of the country.

Nabasu said this during the graduation ceremony of IDP trainees from Borno, trained by the Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology (NILEST), Zaria in collaboration with the UNDP.

The Nigeria News Agency reports the IDPs were trained at NILEST, Zaria while their graduation ceremony was held at the FCT Agency for Science and Technology, Abuja.

Nabasu said the leather policy amongst others would establish manufacturing, importation and exportation principles that would checkmate certain operations and regulate stakeholders activities within the industry.

He disclosed that leather and leather products’ transaction were estimated to have increased in excess of N450 billion naira for footwear and N200 billion for other finished leather products.

He said the average exported value on leather and leather products stood between N189 billion and N252 billion respectively.

“The sad truth about the development is that 90 per cent of the benefit goes to foreign countries while the country benefits only 10 per cent.

“Ministry of Science and Technology and NILEST is making frantic efforts to reverse the ugly trend of huge capital flight by putting together, first ever stand alone national leather policy in Nigeria.

“The leather industry forms one of the vibrant sectors in national economic development, contributing enormously to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country,”. Nabasu said.

He noted that the leather industry was viable at all points along the value chains and would be a lucrative business venture for the graduands.

Nabasu urged the graduands to make maximum use of the great opportunities given to them to impact positively on their communities.

The Acting Director General of NILEST, Mrs Eucharia Opara said the training was first of its kind as the trainees were camped for 6 months for effective coaching and mentoring.

She said the training was 80 per cent practical and hands-on, adding that the graduands were well equipped on leather products manufacturing.

“Nigeria can be great through the encouragement of indigenous Technology .This training is a boost to unlocking enormous potentials existing in the leather sector for the benefit of this country.

“Nigerians are generally known to be entrepreneurial, mobile and ambitious and with support from international organisations like EU and UNDP, in no distance time, Nigeria leather brand will compete favourably with Italian brands,” Opara said.

She said the leather sector was the nation’s goldmine and held the key to industrial growth, economic diversification, jobs and wealth creation.

Opara implored the graduands to use the skills and morals learnt and resources given for the benefit of their communities and Nigeria at large.

The UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in charge of Operations, Ms Carine Yengayenge said the graduands should not only practice their new skills but also be role models to vulnerable youths.

” We encourage you to use your skills to help build strong resilient communities and to contribute to sustainable development of Nigeria.

“UNDP is a firm believer in the power of learning and a strong advocate for providing the best capacity building opportunities,” she said.

Yengayenge said UNDP would give grant of N180,000 cash to each of the qualified graduates to help the set up their businesses.

She said eligible candidates would be required to have an attendance record of over 70 per cent, good performance in their their and practical and a robust and well- crafted business plan.

Yengayenge said the UNDP would be in partnership with Centre for Community Development Research Network (CCDRN) to monitor their progress.

The Head of Cooperation, European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Kurt Cornelis called on the graduands to use the life changing opportunity to become self reliance, learn new ways of doing things and improve on themselves.

Cornelius who was represented by Health Adviser of the Organisation, Mr Anthony Ayeke said the EU would continue to partner with Government of Nigeria and other stakeholders in rebuilding lives of conflict-affected persons.

Edited by Chioma Ugboma, Rotimi Ijikanmi

Science & Technology

NAN correspondent wins CSTD 2019 award for excellence

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Mrs Ijeoma Olorunfemi, a Nigeria News Agency Science and Technology correspondent has received the Centre for Satellite Technology Development (CSTD) 2019  journalistic award for supporting the centre.

Presenting the award to Olorunfemi, Prof. Spencer Onu, during dinner, Director of CSTD said it was in recognition of her tremendous role in covering the activities of the centre,this year.

The director,who described her as a member of the family of CSTD, urged her to see the award as a morale booster for greater performance in her chosen career.

Some members of staff of the centre also received long service and awards for their outstanding performance.

CSTD is one of the activity centres of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) in Abuja.

He said the event was organised to recognise some hardworking staff of the centre and individuals who had contributed to project the image of the centre.

 Onu said CSTD was committed toward achieving its mandate of developing satellite technology in the country,hence the need for committed staff and collaborators to put in their best for the realisation of the objective.

According to him, satellite technology has a huge capacity to transform the socio-economic development of the country, if well applied.

“If we must work together to develop our country’s satellite,space technology,we need people who are committed and we also need to recognise and reward hardwork, to encourage other people.

“CSTD attaches much importance to recruitment, reward and retainment, which every staff should take seriously,” Onu said.

He called on other staff of the centre to take their jobs seriously to enable the centre achieve its goals.

The director pledged to deploy his leadership skills to advance activities of the centre.

Onu also commended Mr Zakariya Adaramola of Daily Trust Newspaper, another awardee, for supporting and promoting the activities of the centre.

Responding,Olorunfemi, thanked the management of CSTD for the recognition, assuring it of her resolute in reporting activities of the centre.

NAN reports that other categories of the award include: 10 years meritorious service, best performing staff both technical and non-technical, best units, directors and supporting journalists to the centre.
 

Edited by: Dada Ahmed

(NAN)

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Pantami promises resolving ATCON challenges

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The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has promised to resolve issues surrounding the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) to ensure it’s accelerated progress.

Pantami made the promise at the special reception party organised by ATCON on Friday in Abuja to welcome him as Minister.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the telecommunications industry faces vandalism of telecoms infrastructure and over taxation by state governments, among other challenges.

Pantami explained that the ministry had presented the issues to the National Security Adviser, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice for amicable resolution.

“I have the privilege of receiving most of the stakeholders on courtesy visit, I listened to the challenges facing the industry and gave my commitment to use the chance I have to make a difference.

“Last week, one of the issues we received regarding the industry, was presented at Federal Executive Council chaired by the President.

“The issues were presented to this body since it is the most relevant platform and actions are being taken to resolve them.

“I have been in touch with the Attorney-General of the Federation and even today, he sent me reply seeking for more clarification on the executive order,” he said.

Pantami said that the task of taking the industry to greater heights should be the collective responsibility of the private and public sector.

He called for constructive criticisms from stakeholders rather than resorting to intimidation and propaganda to get the attention of the ministry.

He urged on members of the association to put all hands on deck by working together and always be in touch with the ministry for the association to go higher.

He said his doors were open for advice, recommendations, suggestions and constructive criticisms.

The minister thanked the association for the gesture for such an amazing gathering.

“Most of your challenges are known to me and I will take them upon myself to ensure that after every 24 hours, we will make progress in resolving them.  I am more of a result- oriented person.

Earlier, Mr Olusola Teniola, President, ATCON  pledged to work with the ministry in order to create an industry that would attract huge investments where innovation would create an eco-system for smaller and larger operators to co-exist.

Teniola assured that ATCON would continue to advocate in a professional, mature and objective manner to protect and promote the business of its teeming members in Nigeria.

He thanked the minister and commended him for the recently launched documents on National Digital Economy Policy Strategy.

Teniola promised that the association would collaborate with the ministry to realise the set broadband target of 75 per cent in the documents within 5 years.

He noted that the collaboration would help the association remove obstacles working against the growth of the industry in the country.

Edited by: Emmanuel Nwoye/ Dada Ahmed

(NAN)

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NFMC: Pantami stresses autonomy of council

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The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has restated the need for National Frequency Management Council (NFMC) to regain its autonomy in accordance with the provisions of the Act establishing it.

Pantami said this in a statement signed by the Mrs Uwa Suleiman, Special Adviser to minister’s on Thursday in Abuja, following resolutions reached at the end of an inaugural meeting with members of NFMC in Abuja.

The minister, who is the Chairman of Council, faulted the domiciling of the Council as a department under the Ministry, citing Section 30(2) of the Act to buttress his point.

According to the section: The Council should be positioned properly as an autonomous body with the secretariat serviced by officials of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

It also stipulates that there should be frequent audit of the Council, to be carried out on all the spectrum licenses issued from its inception till date.

This is to determine the amount paid and to determine if spectrum licenses issued were been used for the purposes they have been assigned accordingly.

Suleiman said that the meeting ended with resolutions: That the Council be positioned properly as an autonomous body with the secretariat, serviced by the officials of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

She said the meeting also resolved that frequency audit be carried out on all the spectrum licenses issued by the Council from its inception to date.

This according to the meeting is to determine amount paid and to know if spectrum licenses issues were being issued for the purposes they were assigned.

The minister emphasised the need not reduce the Council to the status of a department within the Ministry, adding that its independent status was clearly spelt out in the Act establishing it.

He noted that NFMC was established by the Communications Act of 2003 which empowered the body to coordinate and regulate spectrum license allocations across regional and international borders.

The minister called on the management of all regulatory bodies represented in the Council, particularly, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), to immediately propose subsidiary legislation to support the existing Act.

He expressed optimism that this would enhance efficiency and fairness to the consumers with regards to payment by satellite television stations among others.

Highlight at the meeting was  the inauguration of the National Frequency Management Council / Nigeria Police Force (), Joint Committee on evaluation of 450MHz Police equipment.

Umar said this was done in line with the provisions of the law empowering the Council to extend membership to competent and qualified persons or organisations to assist in the discharge of its duties.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the meeting, which was Pantami’s first as NFMC Chairman, was the 48th of the council and the fourth to be held this year.

 

The minister assured that the nation that “under my leadership, national interest must supersede sectoral or personal interests.“

 

He described protection of the consumer as paramount, adding that the ministry would continue to provide enabling environment for industry players to thrive, “within the dictates of the law. ’’

Edited by: Emmanuel Nwoye/ Dada Ahmed

(NAN)

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NITDA trains South-West women in ICT for job creation

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has trained 100 women in the South-West geo-political zone on Information Communication Technology skills to consolidate plans of the Federal Government to create jobs.

 

Mr Kashifu Inuwa, the Director-General of the agency made the disclosure in a statement issued and signed by Mrs Hadiza Umar, Head, Cooperate Affairs and External Relations of the organisation on Friday in Abuja.

 

Umar said Inuwa was represented by Dr Vincent Olatunji, Director, e-Government Development and Regulation Department of the agency at the capacity building training.

The director-general said the training would also close the gender digital divide, promote job creation, financial inclusion and provide women with the skills to participate in the digital economy.

 

He said the empowerment programme, which took place between Dec. 8 and Dec. 13, was aimed at leveraging on digital economy for national development at the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti.

 

The key objectives of the programme, he said include: boosting digital literacy, creating digital jobs, bridging the digital divide, promoting digital inclusion and using technology to address gender imbalance in economic opportunities.

 

“The programme is part of the agency’s continuous efforts aimed at implementing the administration’s key priorities of economic diversification, job creation, investing in Nigerians and achieving gender balance in economic opportunities.

 

“It is also part of NITDA’s strategy toward the realisation of Mr President’s promise to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.

 

“We should know that women clearly have unequal access to economic opportunities in comparison to men and NITDA believes that technology can bridge the gap.

 

“The 100 women being trained are projected to create 300 direct jobs and over 1,000 indirect jobs,’’ Inuwa said.

 

He recalled that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), Federal Government programme, focused on restoring growth, developing human capacity and building a globally competitive economy.

 

According to him, meaningful growth can take place when citizens’ development is prioritised through increased social inclusion, creating jobs and improving the human capital base of the economy.

 

Inuwa, who noted that statistics showed that women’s participation in ICT was less than 24 per cent, pledged the commitment of the agency to increase the percentage.

 

Mrs Bisi Fayemi, Wife of Governor of the state, in a statement, commended the state government for promoting gender issues.

 

These she noted include women empowerment and promulgation of laws that could tackle socio-cultural and economic impediments against women.

 

Fayemi said that steps in the right direction needed to be taken for Nigeria to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda of 2030,which include industrialisation and developing human capital.

 

“Technology has a lot of benefit and women in developing nations have a large proportion of illiteracy in the digital world.

 

“This programme can make women active in the world of ICT and enable equal access to innovative ICT concepts,” she said.

 

Edited by: Dada Ahmed

(NAN)

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Group commences ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’ park rally, donates breathalyzer to FRSC

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The Beer Sectoral Group (BSG) of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), in collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), on Thursday commenced the “Don’t Drink and Drive” Park Rally across the country.

Mr Tony Eneh, the Executive Secretary of BSG, said the group donated breathalyzers to the FRSC during the rally at Ojota and Ketu parks.

The Nigeria News Agency reports BSG had earlier launched the ‘Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign to create awareness of the danger of drunk driving.

Eneh said the breathalyzers were for the FRSC to determine alcohol intake by drivers while driving.

According to him, the group was happy to give back to the country by creating awareness on the dangers of drunk driving through the “Don’t Drink and Drive” rally and by donating breathalyzers.

Also speaking at the occasion, The Lagos State Sector Commander, FRSC, Corp Commander, Hyginus Omeje, said the “ember” months campaign was an integral component of the FRSC’s strategic intervention to elevate the consciousness of Nigerians to the realities of road crashes.

The sector commander said dangerous overtaking and speeding remained the greatest risk factors on highways.

He said a survey it carried out showed that 204 motorists tested positive to alcohol use out of 2,058 randomly tested with breathalyzer within Lagos-Ibadan expressway command.

According to him, Driving Under Influence (DUI) was the highest among drivers who accounted for 154 positive cases.

Omeje said in Lagos State, road traffic crashes and fatalities recorded from the first to third quarters of 2018 stood at 225 and 74 respectively.

According to him, the statistics over the same period in 2019 currently stood at 419 crashes and 84 fatalities, which translated to 51 per cent increase in crash cases and 14 per cent fatalities.

“These are colossal human capital with frightening impact on health systems, sustainable development, city liveability and survivability of society.

“Available statistics have annually depicted increased road traffic crashes during the period of September to December.

“Risk exposure to road crashes during terminal months of the year, especially December, escalates due to increased socio-economic activities, inordinate traffic surge that over stretch road transport system,” he said.

The FRSC commander appreciated the different groups and individuals, who had contributed and supported the commission on its campaign on safe road system.

Edited by: Oluyinka Fadare/Salif Atojoko
(NAN)
(NAN)

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Facebook celebrates key milestones for sub Saharan Africa in 2019

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Facebook on Thursday released its ‘2019 Year in Review’ infographics, showcasing some of its investments across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director Facebook Africa, said in a statement that in 2019, Facebook trained over 7,000 woman-owned businesses in digital skills across sub Saharan Africa.

Ntshingila said that because the company was able to grow an ecosystem of developers, entrepreneurs, creatives, and many other communities as part of its commitment to give people the power to build communities.

He said that the company also celebrated 79 Community Leadership Circle meetups with over 2 ,650 people attending.

We have reached our 45th Developer Circle, with circles now in 17 African countries and representing more than 70,000 members.

Facebook also hosted the first-ever iD8 Nairobi Conference with over 400 African developers and startups in attendance.

Facebook has also expanded Third-Party Fact-Checking across 10 African countries,” he said.

The regional director also noted that Facebook announced the creation of the world’s most detailed population density maps of Africa, created by its AI researchers, to help humanitarian aid and relief agencies.

Ntshingila said that Africa was important to Facebook and they were committed to investing in its youth, entrepreneurs, the creative industries, tech ecosystem.

Our 2019 Year in Review highlights just some of our investments, and the impact we have been able make in the region.

I am excited about the future of Facebook and our family of apps here in Africa, as well as the potential of this young, mobile and dynamic continent.

And I am looking forward to creating more partnerships in 2020 and beyond,” he said.

Edited by: Edith Bolokor/Wale Ojetimi
(NAN)
(NAN)

 

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5 female entrepreneurs win UK-Nigeria Tech Hub Pitch competition

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Five Female entrepreneurs on Thursday emerged winners at the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub pitch competition aimed at supporting gender inclusive economic growth.

Honey Ogundeyi, the Country Director of the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, said that the programme was aimed at bringing 15 of the continent’s most ambitious development-focused women entrepreneurs to the United Kingdom in January.

Ogundeyi made this known during the Africa-UK Female Tech Founders 2020 programme held at the British Deputy High Commissioner’s Residence at Ikoyi, Lagos.

” The five entrepreneurs who emerged winners during the pitch competition are: Damilola Emuze, founder of Scholarx, Damilola Olokesusi,  of Shuttlers mobility and Dr Funmi Adewara of Mobihealth.

The two others are: Ifeoma Uddoh of Shecluded and Keturah Ovio of Limestart, “Ogundeyi said.

NAN reports that other participants at the pitch competition were Agorite, Easyshop Easy cook, Mumspring, Roving Heights and 9IJAKIDs.

She said that the entrepreneurs would gain access to world-class mentoring time with UK investors and expert training to help scale their companies.

Harriet Thompson, the British Deputy High Commissioner, Nigeria, said that UK-Africa Investment Summit would take place six weeks from now.

Thompson said that the winners would be in London during the summit, adding Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) would cover all costs and programmes to help support them grow their businesses.

We are pleased to be hosting an event that brings support for women, whose empowerment is vital for Nigeria’s future prosperity and stability.

Nigeria’s tech sector accounted for over 11 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP in 2018 (compared with 9 per cent from oil and gas) and is the fastest growing part of Nigeria’s economy.

In 2018, Nigeria’s technology companies attracted $300 million (+167 per cent YoY) in funding, mainly from foreign investors, “she said.

Thompson said that the UK was supporting and looking forward to strengthening its partnership further in Nigeria.

She said this was necessary because technology could be a key enabler to boost Nigeria’s growth, tackle poverty and create jobs.

‘The UK is trying to build and expand that eco-system in different ways.

We now have our very own Tech Hub here in Nigeria and the Director is Honey Ogundeyi. The hub is funded by our Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

‘’The UK-Nigeria tech hub focuses on three key areas: skills and capability development, digital ecosystem building and facilitating innovation collaborations between Nigerian and UK tech businesses.

“This will help to build skilled, entrepreneurial and networked populations which will create jobs and address digital inequality.’’

She said the tech hub had supported companies such as Riby, Innovation Corner, Social Lender and Farmcrowdy to grow their businesses, build links with the UK’s thriving tech sector.

Thompson, who noted that Nigeria was one of the most exciting technology sectors in Africa, said the hub would support the growth of thriving digital eco-system in the country.

According to her, the outfit will also provide support to scale innovations and drive growth in tech investment in Nigeria.

As Europe’s leading tech hub, UK is credible partner. We generate more billion-dollar tech businesses than any other country on the continent.

We have a network of regional tech clusters which reflect a dynamic and growing industry across the whole of the UK with London as the centre of Europe’s technology sector.

The UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in 2019 launched the UK-Nigeria Tech hub as part of international Tech Hub Network in partnership with the British High Commission in Nigeria.

Edited by: Dada Ahmed
(NAN)
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Kaduna govt offers digital skills training to 360 youth

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Kaduna State Government has offered digital skills to 360 youth expected to start up businesses in digital technology.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the 360 youth participanted in the Click-On Kaduna and Kad-DIP digital training programmes, funded by the World Bank and Rockerfeller Foundation.

The programmes are to support ICK skills training and equip the youth in digital technology and entrepreneurship.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who attended the graduation of the trainees on Wednesday in Kaduna, said equipping Nigerian youths with digital skills will make them tap into the digital economy, which will create jobs and grow the economy.

Obasanjo thanked the World Bank Group and Rockefeller Foundation for partnering with Kaduna state government to launch the programme and urged them to extend the training to other states.

In her address, the state Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, said the state owes its bulging young population a duty to provide them with the tools that will make them highly employable.

She added that when combined with entrepreneurial spirit, the ICT skills acquired by the participants will propel them to greater heights.

Already, participants have started earning income from the skills they acquired while some have gained placement opportunities with global ICT tech companies like IBM, Outsource Global, Andela,” she said.

NAN reports that 32 of the participants were presented with cheques to enable them startup ICT entrepreneurship.

The money was from a $40,000 grant set aside to encourage ICT startups in Kaduna State.

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HMD Global launches new devices to enhance creativity, excitement for users

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HMD Global, developer and marketer of smart phones under the Nokia brand name, says it has launched two new devices to enhance creativity and excitement for users.

Its General Manager in-charge of West, East and Central Africa, Mr Joseph Umunakwe, said on Tuesday in Lagos that the devices would be affordable for consumers.

Umunakwe said that the new devices, Nokia 2.3 and Nokia C1, have artificial intelligence features to enhance quality communication and saves time.

Consumers have appreciated the Nokia 2 family product; the Nokia 2.3 is a step forward in our promise of offering another experience and giving the consumers access to two years of operating system (OS) upgrades and three years of monthly secure updates at an affordable price.

Save precious time with Nokia 2.3, which has a dedicated Google Assistance, with your voice to view upcoming calendar entries, commute times and other information.

It also comes with biometric face recognition, allowing owners to unlock the phone at a glance.

Nokia 2.3 provides real good features for entertainment; Nigerians love entertainment and the phone comes with 6.2 HD + to provide good entertainment.

It comes with 32GB memory configuration and gives a lot of room for consumers to store movies, songs and photo, and it is expandable,’’ Umunakwe said.

According to him, its android preposition is pure, secure and up-to-date, “which means that our consumers can be sure they are getting the androids innovations and technology that is very crucial.’’

The general manager also said that the device was not preloaded with apps, which gives consumer the power to choose what app to use.

He said that part of the unique features of the smartphones include adaptive brightness, adaptive battery and artificial intelligence technology.

With the adaptive brightness and battery, the consumer is sure to have two-days of battery life and the phone adjust the brightness under any weather all through the day.

With a 13MP/2MP dual camera, fans can take unique portraits with a variety of exclusive bokeh.

We are pushing the borders in terms of delivering performance that is affordable to the consumers,’’ he said.

Umunakwe said the Nokia C1, was aimed to inspire future phone users, entry-level smartphone users to become fans and smartphone users for Nokia to break down the barriers for consumers with its 5.54 screen.

He said the latest features of android 10 would also give fans access to dark themes to save usage and improve visibility and enhance privacy once updated.

Juho Sarvikas, Chief Product Officer of the HMD Global, said everything expected in the latest android phone had been put in place to ensure a safe and pleasant experience.

Owning an affordable smartphone shouldn’t lock you out of exciting features and the latest trends.

“We know how important a great display and two-day battery life is too many smartphone users,’’ he said.

Edited by: Abdulfatah Babatunde/Olagoke Olatoye
(NAN)
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