Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr Isa Pantami has called on Nigerians, particularly states, to protect communication infrastructure in the country with a view to preventing them from being vandalised by criminal elements.
The minister made the call in a statement signed by his Spokesperson, Mrs Uwa Suleiman, on Friday in Abuja.
He also called on state governors to ensure that all agencies and residents within their domains desist from vandalism.
Pantami said that vandalism was capable of undermining national security.
“Our attention has been drawn to very serious, unpatriotic and corrupt activities of some criminal elements within the public service who have continued to engage in acts capable of undermining national security.
“We have received several complaints from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), about the unfortunate incidences such as forced closures or outright destruction of Telecommunications Infrastructure in some parts of the country.
“Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) and other telecommunications facilities are reportedly being vandalised and MNOs, are hindered from delivering the requisite services to the consumer by state-owned agencies in some parts of the country,’’ Pantani noted.
The Minister said that the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) had also emphasised the serious, security implications of such vandalism.
He said that such action constitutes violation of relevant laws of Nigeria and a threat to national economic development, adding that most businesses depended on services provided by telecommunications operators.
“In line with the provisions of the Cybercrime Act of 2015, telecommunications infrastructure are designated CNI and therefore, any act of vandalism or deliberate obstruction of service delivery is deemed unlawful and punishable by law.
of these unscrupulous elements undermine the President’s Digital Economy Agenda and indeed, the overall development of the country.
“This wanton destruction and total disregard for CNI, must be stopped forthwith,’’ the minister warned.
Pantami assured that the Federal Government was taking steps to ensure the security of lives and property of her citizens.
Edited By: Cecilia Odey/Dada Ahmed
Ebonyi inaugurates committee to recruit 13,000 for FG’s Special Works Programme
Ebonyi state government on Tuesday inaugurated a selection committee for 13,000 indigenes needed for the Federal Government (FGs) Special Public Works Programme.
Chief Edward Nkwegu, Chairman of Ebonyi Federal Government (FG) Extended Special Public Works Programme (ESPWP), at the event affirmed that 13,000 indigenes of Ebonyi would benefit from the programme slated to begin in October.
Nkwegu asked the ESPWP selection committee to ensure equity during the selection exercise billed to last for three weeks started on June 29.
He said that the setting up of the committee was in line with section 16(1) of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), law which empowered the Minister of Labour and Employment to do so.
According to him, only the minister upon the instruction of the President can stop the committee’s work.
Nkwegu noted that the 13,000 beneficiaries would spread across the 13 local government areas of the state where 1,000 persons would be drawn from each LGA.
He said that the programme approved by President Muhammadu Buhari was aimed at recruiting 1,000 itenerant, unskilled and skilled workers each in all the 774 LGAs in Nigeria.
“In Ebonyi, we will be recruiting 13,000 of our people for the programme and this number will include but not limited to supervisors and few skilled labours with respect to requests from ministry of Labour and Employment, other ministries, department and agencies.
“The beneficiaries will be engaged by the FG between October and December 2020 to carry out public works peculiar to each LGA.
“They will be engaged in areas including road rehabilitation, social housing construction, urban and rural sanitation, health extension and other critical social services.
“FG will spend N780 million in Ebonyi for the three months of the programme as each beneficiary will receive N20,000 each month for three months,” Nkwegu said.
He urged members of the committee to strive to make the programme a huge success in the state.
“You must therefore see this task as a serious, patriotic national assignment.
“This programme can rightly be described as one of President Buhari’s many ‘Star’ programmes for the lowly, weak and vulnerable people in our society, hence, we must treat it as such,” he added.
He directed committee members to reach out to their various LGAs to recruit eligible indigent and vulnerable Ebonyi people.
Meanwhile, Chief Martin Elechi, immediate past governor of the state, in a remark said that the programme was in recognition of the plight of the down-trodden by the President and his resolve to ameliorate their conditions.
“Buhari by this gesture is extending economic empowerment to the poor and vulnerable in the society,” Elechi said.
The former governor while congratulating members of the committee reminded them that their performances on the job would uplift them to greater assignments.
“Your activities will be monitored, recorded and recommendations will be made and if you perform well, this will only be an introduction to something else and so we are looking up to you to offer credible service,” he added.
Mrs Ann Agomeze, member of the committee, while thanking President Buhari for finding them worthy to serve said that the committee would ensure that only those targetted for the job would be recruited.
She said that the job was meant not for the well-to-do but for the poor, vulnerables and those who actually did the voting but we’re unfortunately forgotten.
She noted that Buhari had deemed it fit that these set of Nigerians would no longer be forgotten.
The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that the committee is made up of 23 members.
Chief Henry Ude will serve as Vice Chairman, Marcel Okafor will serve as Secretary while three traditional rulers from the three senatorial zones were selected to represent Traditional Rulers Council on the selection committee.
Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Responsible journalism is key to success of democracy-Pantami
Dr Isa Pantami, Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, on Monday said that responsible journalism was key to the success of democracy.
Pantami said this at the opening ceremony of the training of National Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in Abuja.
The theme of the five-day training programme focused on “Digital Skills in News Reportage for ICT Journalists.”
Pantami said that the training was in line with one of the pillars of the National Digital Economy for Digital Nigeria which focused on building digital skills, signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in Nov. 2019.
“Digital Nigeria cannot be achieved without training people that will play key role in ensuring the digital economy.
“Reponsible journalism is key to the success of democracy in Nigeria and the world and that has to do with journalism based on fairness, and all the components of journalism.
“If journalists understand their work and do it professionally, they will be in the forefront of catapulting democracy and good governance, if not they pull down democracy,” Pantami said.
The minister added that current journalism was beyond being in print form but had migrated to multimedia which was all encompassing, consisting of pictures, video, audio, among others.
He further said that ICT reporters needed to acquire the expertise required for conveying real time information, adding that they should engage internet search engines for enhanced work.
He also said that the Federal Government (FG) would build digital skills among rural dwellers who could read and write, farmers, disabled people, public servants and many more to ensure the digital economy.
Pantami added that the FG also launched the National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 to ensure cheaper data plans and accessibility to citizens.
Participants at the training
“Digital skills can open new opportunities for you because there are challenges everywhere but less opportunity, so when the skill you have created the opportunity, you grab it,” he said.
Dr Abimbola Alale, Managing Director, Nigeria Communications Satellite Limited, said digital skill was required of every professional journalist, adding that journalists should not allow the social media override the responsibility of the mainstream media.
Mr Blessing Olaifa, President, NITRA commended the Minister for championing the training and urged journalists to appreciate it, adding that some journalists had lost their jobs during the period of COVID-19.
Olaifa said that the training would open new opportunities for participants and pledged that the trained journalists would ensure the efforts of the Federal Government through the ministry, were projected.
Mr Peter Oyeneye, Chief Executive Officer, Advanced Management Academy, while facilitating the training, said reporting in the COVID-19 pandemic era was the new normal and journalists should acquaint themselves with the changes.
According to Oyeneye, journalists as change agents, should use their mediums to educate their audience using ICT facilities.
He added that there were more than 100 human activities going on online and they engender digital economy.
“Despite the benefits of digitalisation, the challenge of change remains potent and people prefer to stick to the known than the unknown.”
He said that media organisations should embrace change in the stlye of communication, sponsor roadmap, train journalists on the new normal, and be ready to build resistance management.
Oyeneye advised that journalists should lead the change, sell benefits of digital economy, research into challenges of digitalisation, base their stories on their research and do comparative analysis of Nigeria’s digital economy to others.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 47 journalists from different media organisations participated in the training and were supported with computers to aid their job.
Edited By: JaneFrances Oraka/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
Banditry: FG distributes relief materials to IDPs in Sokoto
The Federal Government, on Monday distributed relief materials to inmates of Zangon Jema Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp in Goronyo Local Government area, Sokoto State.
The materials which include; Rice, Beans, Maize, Millet, vegetable oil, salt, seasoning and tomato paste were provided through the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI).
Inaugurating the distribution, the Federal Commissioner in the Commission, Sen. Bashir Garba, said that the items were meant to support no fewer than 350 IDPs in the camp.
“The gesture is part of our mandate to offer palliatives and cushion the effect of displacement among the effected victims.
“It is also a continuation of the FG’s quest to support IDPs with food items, as was started in Zamfara, Katsina and some parts of Sokoto state affected by banditry,” he said.
Garba, represented by the Commission’s Deputy Director North West Zonal office, Malam Musa Kangiwa, thanked the state government for hosting them.
He charged the IDPs to take what happened to them in good faith, be courageous and judiciously utilise the items given to them.
In his address, Alhaji Zubairu Albadau, Special Adviser, Sokoto State Emergency and Disaster Management Agency, commended the federal government for the gesture.
Albadau promised to ensure that every item given through the agency was shared among those it was meant for.
Also, the local government Chairman, Alhaji Zakari Shinaka, represented by his Vice, Malam Ahmad Kojiyo, appreciated the gesture, saying it would ease the pains of the IDPs.
Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
Upgrade: FG officially hands over National Theatre to CBN, Bankers Committee
The Minister for Culture and Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Sunday in Lagos handed over the National Theatre to the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers committee for restoration and upgrade.
Speaking at the event, Mohammed said that the National Theare, despite the arrangement, still remained a national heritage.
He said that the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture would continue to hold the keys to the iconic national heritage inspite of the Public Private Partnership arrangement between FG and the Bankers Committee.
” Please permit me to make clarifications that this iconic National theatre remains a national heritage and will not be ceded to any person or group as some naysayers are insinuating, it remains our national heritage.
” The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will continue to hold the keys to the National Theatre on behalf of all Nigerians.
” What we are here to do is to handover the National Theatre for restoration and upgrade and also the 134 hectares of fallow land within the premises to the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers committee for development,” he said.
The Minister said that the PPP arrangement would be in two phases which were; the restoration and upgrade of the National Theatre to its glory days, while the second phase would be the development of the fallow land surrounding the edifice.
” Another good news is that this project will not lead to any single job loss rather, it will create more, over 6,000 jobs will be created during the construction phase while the completed project could generate additional 600 permanent jobs and 2000 to 3,000 jobs, this is a good one,” he said.
Mohammed said that the project which had been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari would be a win-win arrangement for everyone involved.
”The place had been left for over four decades without any form of renovation.
” Government has no money to restore the complex as you know, this is the hub of the creative industry in Nigeria.
‘’The National Theatre was established for the advancement of the performing arts throughout the country, to also encourage the promotion of the social development and improvement of the quality of life.
” But its present state is not living to its billing,” he said.
The Minister said that the centre, upon upgrade, would comprise creative clusters of fashion, music, film and information technology which would be supported by other facilities including multi-storey parking space to accommodate over 1000 cars.
” There would be the administrative and management offices, this will create massive job opportunities for the youths.
” I enjoin all of us to give our maximum support to this project so that we can bequeath a befitting national heritage to the younger generation.
” I appreciate everyone connected to the success of this project,” he said.
Also, the Minister for Youths and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare, said that it was a privilege for him to be at the event which would see to revampimg the creative and entertainment centre.
Dare said many would wonder why the Minister for Youths was at the event forgetting that the youth would benefit more from the project as they are the most active part of the creative industry.
“The potential of the new National Theatre is massive job creation, talent discovery for our youths and the coming generation being an information and technology hub.
” With the Pandemic still biting hard, this project is much more divine and needed to battle the multi-headed challenge of unemployment, criminality and the negative impression that is thrust upon individuals who have chosen the life of crime.
” I commend the Bankers Committee for pioneering the vision and taking the risk to invest in the youth of this country.
” Some may see it as a risk, but I do not see it that way, I see it as an investment, even if it is a risk, it is a risk worth taking.” he said.
The minister commended President Buhari for giving approval for the upgrade of the national heritage.
He also commended other individuals involved in the handing over of the National edifice.
Edited By: Debo Oshundun/Oluwole Sogunle Bankers (NAN)