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NCC promises to narrow gap between existing, planned fibre infrastructure

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Infrastructure

Lagos, June 10, 2019 The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says  it will ensure access to pervasive broadband through an Open Access Model as a strategy to narrow the gap between  existing and planned fibre infrastructure.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, gave the assurance at the 10th edition of the E-World Forum and Awards.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the event held in Lagos on Monday with the theme “Roadmap to Broadband Everywhere”.

Danbatta, who was represented by Mr Oluwatoyin Asaju, Director, Spectrum Administration, NCC, presented the keynote address on ”Broadband for Sustainable Development”.

“In order to address this gap, the commission has set a strategic imperative to ensure access to pervasive broadband through an Open Access Model in line with the National Broadband Plan.

“That is one of the initial strategic actions of the Federal Government, through the commission, in the journey toward facilitating the availability, affordability and accessibility to broadband infrastructure and services.

“The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development established by the International Telecommunications Union maintains that improving the livelihoods of citizens around the world through sustainable development represents one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today.

“This challenge is, however, one that can easily be mitigated, utilising broadband,” he said.

He noted that broadband referred  to high speed internet which could largely be delivered through optic fiber, wireless spectrum and high throughput satellites.

“It is defined for Nigeria as a speed of not less than 1.5 Mbps. This speed will be reviewed upwards with additional deployment of broadband infrastructure.’’

Danbatta said that deployment of optic fibre transmission network had been adopted in the Open Access Model to bridge the current digital gap and deliver faster and reliable broadband services to household and businesses,”.

He said that the success of the model was evident in the growth witnessed in the provision of broadband services by major players in the industry through one technology or the other.

According to him, as at first quarter of this year, Nigeria achieved 33.08 per cent broadband penetration; thus, 63 million Nigerians are currently connected to broadband internet services.

Danbatta said that the commission had concluded licensing and output-based subsidy negotiations of six Open Access Model Infrastructure Companies (Infracos) for the country in an effort to drive broadband infrastructure licensing and deployment.

He said that the Infraco licencees were to provide IP fibre optic capacity to all the 774 local government areas of the federation on an open access, price-regulated basis, with a 10 Gbps Point of Access capacity in each local government.

He said that the project was for a four-year period, with the negotiated subsidies to be paid to the Infraco licencees at the attainment of agreed and verified milestones.

He said that the commission had also continued to make available wireless spectrum resources to operators, as well as create an enabling environment and a level-playing field through various regulatory instruments, for the growth and development of the industry.

“Broadband can reduce poverty and inequality, help ensure access to health and education, help to mitigate climate change, promote peace and international cooperation and ensure sustainable development in decades to come.

“Broadband is a fundamental technology and a game changer to achieve sustainable development for future generations of Nigerians; hence, the persistent calls for investments in broadband infrastructure and the strive to reduce  challenges that undermine the achievement of universal broadband service, some of which are poor electricity supply and access gaps,” he said.

He said that tackling the challenges would enhance the speed of broadband to the un-served and under-served areas of Nigeria, adding that building of an efficient broadband network would facilitate progress in many areas.

Earlier, the organiser of the event, Mr Aaron Ukodie, Managing Director of Ajo Media and Publisher of E-world news, said that there was the need for new agenda that would help to achieve digital revolution.

According to him, to achieve the revolution, the regulator has to focus more on enabling the players and making the environment more investment-friendly.

“The licensed infracos are encouraged to give access to all parts of the country, and this will give them free hands to deploy technology, as new technologies are emerging.

“Nigeria should begin to think about these new technologies, 5G, and how we are going to be able to achieve the digital revolution,” he said.

Politics

Lagos govt. releases N250m to boost science, technology research

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The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said on Thursday that N250 million had been released as seed money to the State Science Research and Innovation Fund.

Sanwo-Olu spoke while declaring open a 2-day Art of Technology Lagos 1.0 (AOT Lagos.) conference, in Victoria Island.

The conference, with the theme: “Bridging the Gap’’, was organised by Eko Innovation Centre and sponsored by First City Monument Bank, Microsoft, Malta Guinness, Oracle, among others.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Lagos State Government is bridging the gap between government and the technology ecosystem through the launch of the Art of Technology.

Sanwo-Olu said that the fund was for research and development in science and technology across different thematic areas in the state.

The governor said that the fund, to be managed by the Lagos State Science, Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC), was to research and develop areas like Artificial Intelligence (AI) to robotics, health informatics and green energy.

According to him, the Council will direct funds to solve issues of national significance through science and technology research.

The governor said it was a platform on which the future of Lagos State as a smart city would be unravelled.

”At the inception of our administration, we had a vision of growing Lagos State with a population above 20 million from a mega city to a smart city, equipped with infrastructure and facilities that work seamlessly to enhance life experiences.

”Our dream and vision of transforming the landscape in Lagos State was anchored on the pillars of our administration’s ”T.H.EM.E.S” philosophy to tackle perceived challenges.

”It is instructive to note that technology has redefined the way we live and think. Indeed, it is the bedrock of social integration and harmony because of its multiple applications to solve or enhance the art of living itself.

”We are prepared to provide Lagosians with the opportunity to connect on the global stage.”

“We cannot disaffirm the intractable challenges we face as a state. With a population of about 22 million and a crumbling infrastructure, new sustainable methods of transportation and infrastructure deployment must be formulated to keep up with the population growth.

”The use of artificial intelligence to predict movement of human resources and materials and reverse environmental degradation are critical solutions we need to adopt,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said that the state’s challenges put it in a unique position to engineer not just its own solutions but solutions for the world at large.

”In view of these and other issues, our administration is committed to releasing and turbo charging our nascent problem solving potential through innovations in science and technology,” he said.

Highpoint of the event was the launch of the ”Innovation Master Plan” by the governor, aimed at highlighting the government’s critical focus areas that will unleash a culture of problem solving.

Sanwo-Olu said that the plan addressed the four main pillars that were required to enable a vibrant innovation ecosystem, namely: Access, Talent, Infrastructure and Funding.

According to him, with the administration’s activities in these four main areas, the innovation ecosystem is sure to receive the needed boost to raise its contribution to the state’s economy.

”There is no gainsaying the fact that any society that wants to be reckoned with on the global stage must be grounded in the application of technology to growth and development.

”It is, also, gratifying to note that the world has accepted that Lagos State is the ”Silicon Valley” of the African Continent, with major investments by Microsoft and Google in the Ikeja based ”Computer Village” and emerging tech hubs, which have served as launch pads for the digital careers of numerous youths as software developers.

”We have provided more opportunities for our children in the public primary and secondary schools to acquire ICT knowledge through exposure to Coding.”

”There are many opportunities available for the development of software that can transform the way we see, do or think about life activities.

”Art of Technology 1.0 will open the window for ideas, concepts and principles buried in the creative recesses of our people to break out and transform the landscape.

”It is our goal to foster the gains achieved by the Art of Technology 1.0 to enhance and empower the residents and investors in Lagos, the obvious and preferred location of first choice,” Sanwo-Olu said.

The Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr Hakeem Fahm,  in his address, unfolded more of the state government’s plans in the state.

“The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is embarking on a journey to provide 6,000 Kilometres of fiber connectivity in the state.

“Three thousand in 2020 and 3,000 in 2021, in addition to that, he is providing 2, 000 high definition cameras so as to accomplish a safe city initiative and e-governance.

“Pooling all these together will give us smart mobility, healthcare, education, grid and smart energy, smart home, use of internet things and smart relay.

“So, we need a sustainable framework to do this,’’ the commissioner said.

Fahm said that in Smart Lagos, transformation would be seen in key domains such as health, transport, urban solutions, safety and education.

The commissioner said that the state would be safer, more comfortable and more sustainable with the use of sensors, monitoring cameras and smart systems.

Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Innovation and Technology, Mr Olatunbosun Alake, said the AOT was an innovation, ecosystem catalysing event that the government was bringing to the people.

“The Art of Technology Lagos 1.0 is an innovation, an ecosystem catalysing event in which the government wants to bring everybody together in an ecosystem.

“Let us make these catalysing connections where funders can meet creators, incubators can meet people with ideas and let’s make all of that work in a serious poll such that the government has support.

“That is what this event is all about,’’ Alake said

NAN reports that AOT Lagos 1.0 brought together 2,000 tech giants, policy makers, government officials, software engineers/programmers, etc., to drive innovations that would pave way for the evolution of a smarter, digital, more efficient and more competitive Lagos State.

FON/ /SOA

Edited & Vetted By: Oluyinka Fadare/Oluwole Sogunle
(NAN)

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Science & Technology

CPAN seeks financial opportunities for members, digital entrepreneurs

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The Computer-Based Test Centres Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (CPAN) on Thursday said it would empower its members and digital entrepreneurs by partnering with other groups to create financial opportunities.

The President of CPAN, Mr Maxwell Akwuruoha, made this known at a seminar/workshop held in Lagos.

Akwuruoha said that the CBT centres could be empowered through the partnership with ‘One Network’ by registering Nigerians for the National Identity Number (NIN) and helping to achieve the registration of all Nigerians in 2020.

According to him, it was as a result of desperation that most digital entrepreneurs who were graduates involved in examination malpractices.

”With such opportunities of making extra income legitimately, it will reduce the examination malpractices among the CBT centres.

”The centres will also serve Financial Technology (Fintech) agents, through Pay Attitude.

”The centres will be providing financial services to the under-served and creating income for themselves as well,’’ Akwuruoha said.

He said that most of the Computer-Based Test (CBT) centres were not properly compensated by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) after the CBT examination.

He said that as such, most of the centres were under-funded and running into debt and could give in to examination malpractices.

Akwuruoha said that the association would also be partnering with Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria to help accredit those who would be trained on coding by the centres.

According to him, most students were not exposed to computer and through such training they will be empowered by the training given at the computer centres.

He said that the empowerment of students would also boost the income of the CBT centres.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that CPAN plans more seminars and workshops in January.

Edited & Vetted By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Adeleye Ajayi
(NAN)

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Science & Technology

YouTube celebrates top trending videos in Nigeria

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YouTube on Thursday released YouTube Rewind, to celebrate the biggest moments and trending videos on YouTube in 2019.

Mr Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Communication Officer  and Public Affairs Manager for Google West Africa, said in Lagos that the top trending videos in Nigeria for 2019 reflected the nation’s love of sports and entertainment.

Kola-Ogunlade said that the top three trending videos in Nigeria were Commander by Mark Angel Comedy; Aiyetoro Episode 1 by SCENEONE TV; and UEFA Champions League – Liverpool vs Barcelona highlights by SuperSport.

He said that beyond the affinity for entertainment and sports, the 2019 list also revealed that Nigerians were turning to YouTube to keep up with trending news stories.

”The BBC Africa Documentary – Sex for Grades undercover  and Ynaija’s interview with celebrity Photographer, Busola Dakolo, made it as top trending videos.

”YouTube also released the list of top trending music videos for the year. Topping the list is the official video of Zlatan and Burna Boy – Killin Dem.

”The official Blow My Mind music video by Davido featuring Chris Brown and Rudeboys’ Reason With Me official video follow on the list, ’’ Kola-Ogunlade said in a statement.

According to him, the top trending videos on YouTube for 2019 were based on views, shares, comments, likes and more.

He said that YouTube Rewind brought together the biggest viral videos featuring today’s biggest YouTube stars, mainstream and current affairs personalities.

He said that YouTube’s Rewind video had taken on a fresh look and feel in 2019.

“Featuring a montage of clips from the top videos, channels and moments of the year as well as the latest release from Glass Animals, featuring artistes on the rise, Denzel Curry,’’ Kola-Ogunlade said.

He, however, said that the Top 15 Videos watched in Nigeria in 2019, excluding major music labels were Mark Angel Comedy – COMMANDER (Mark Angel Comedy) (Episode 193) Scene one TV, Aiyetoro Town Episode 1

He mentioned UPGRADE SuperSport – UEFA Champions League Liverpool vs Barcelona Highlights;

GhenGhen Jokes – INTERVIEW (ATIKU OR BUHARI), among others.

Kola-Ogunlade noted that the top 15 Music Videos watched by Nigerians included Zlatan featuring Burna Boy – Killin Dem (Official Music Video).

He also mentioned On A Spaceship Davido featuring Chris Brown – Blow My Mind (Official Video), Rudeboy – Reason With Me (Official Video), among others.

Edited & Vetted By: Adeleye Ajayi
(NAN)

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Science & Technology

NIMASA donates computers, instructional materials to Kogi school

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The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has donated computer hardware’s, textbooks and other instructional materials to Abdulazeez Atta Memorial College in Okene Local Government Area of Kogi.

Presenting the materials to the School Principal in Lokoja on Wednesday, Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, Kogi Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, on behalf of the Governor, thanked NIMASA for the gesture.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the donation was done under the recently introduced School Based Management Committees (SBMCs) in every primary and Junior Secondary School in Nigeria by the Federal Government..

Osikoya that there were limited instructional learning and teaching aids in Kogi schools, but that the ministry had been able to identify the minimum requirements, which had been forwarded to the Gov. Yahaya Bello.

The commissioner added that the process of supplying those materials to schools were ongoing.

”We have also advocated stakeholders’ involvement, ownership and participation in assisting schools in form of old students’ associations, parents, communities, individuals and corporate organisations.

”What we are doing today is a welcome development about stakeholder’s responsiveness, because we are having positive responses from various stakeholders.

”So, we will like to appreciate NIMASA for donating learning and teaching materials to one of our schools in Kogi, Abdulazeez Atta Memorial College,” she said.

She added: ”I will like to congratulate His Excellency, Gov. Yahaya Bello, because Kogi is one of the first States to holistically adopt the implementation of the SBMC.

She further appealed to stakeholders for more support for Kogi education sector in adopting one or more schools, technical and vocational and also to support out of school children.

”When we all do that, the vision of the governor for ensuring that quality education becomes a norms in Kogi State would be achieved.

”We are also hopeful that Kogi state will be considered for the World Bank support for out of school children,” Osikoya said.

She noted that the ministry had also started ‘Performance Appraisal’ for all schools in the State, based on some key performance indicators as a way of motivating teachers and students.

Items donated includes 12 hp desktops computers with UPS, eight HP laptops with bags, textbooks for various subjects for Senior and Junior Secondary, and Primary School, exercise books, white boards, packets of pen, pencils, among others.

The School Principal, Mr Ajayi Umoru, on behalf of the school management and the students, thanked the donor for the gesture, while commending the commissioner and the governor for changing the narratives in education sector in the State.

Nigeria News Agency recalls that federal government recently introduced School Based Management Committees (SBMCs) in every primary and Junior Secondary School in Nigeria.

SBMC is a unique template which brings communities; parents, non-parents, teachers, artisans, school children and governments under one umbrella for synergy towards addressing challenges in the basic education sector particularly funding, infrastructure and service delivery rather than waiting solely on the government.

By this, communities automatically become stakeholders and actively participate in management of public schools in their environments in partnership with government for judicious and timely cogent actions.

SBMC was inaugurated in Kogi last month by the wife of the Governor, Hajia Rashidat Bello, aimed to create governance structure in all schools”.

Edited & Vetted By: Hawa Lawal and Abdullahi Yusuf
(NAN)

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Science & Technology

Automobile expert solicits governments’ support for mass production

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Mr Ephraim Akwiwu, an Owerri-based automobile manufacturer, has solicited the support of the federal and state governments to enable him to go into mass production.

Akwiwu, who is the Chief Executive Officer, Ephraim and Joeana Akwiwu Auto Shop, Owerri, made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in his office on Tuesday.

He expressed his readiness to deploy the skill he acquired in automobile manufacturing in Europe in ensuring human capital development in Nigeria and overall national economic growth.

He called on individuals, groups and government at all levels to patronise made in Nigeria goods as a way of providing moral, financial and logistics support to indigenous manufacturers.

He said: “I need patronage because whoever patronises me has supported me.

“My doors are open for business and I will welcome every form of support from government at all levels.”

Akwiwu identified irregular power supply as his major challenge, saying that the situation had grounded some of his equipment.

He said that his operation and prospects for expansion were impeded by the paucity of funds and lack of adequate space.

He said that his workshop had continued to provide a platform for the training of Industrial Training (IT) students, secondary school leavers and graduates.
He, therefore, urged the nation’s youths to endeavour to emulate his entrepreneurial efforts.

“I am willing to train more youths who are ready to grow their talents to fruition. That is my little  contribution to human capital development in our country,” Akwiwu said.

He said that he was mainly into maintenance and manufacture of automobile since 2011 and that he manufactured his second vehicle, called “the Combatant”, in 2017.

The automobile expert said that he participated in the 2019 Ondo Auto Rally, adding that his product was the only Nigerian car at the rally.

He said that the making of his third car, to be called “the celebrity”, was in progress.

Akwiwu said that his company was also into the manufacture of domestic equipment, such as kitchen furniture,  doors, windows and a solar powered mobile phone that could charge with unique features such as MP3 for entertainment and free Wi-Fi.

(Edited & Vetted By: Sam Oditah)
(NAN)

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Science & Technology

Encourage youths to acquire technology skills to secure future – ex-commissioner tells governments

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Dr Emmanuel Denenu, a former Commissioner of Science and Technology in the old Rivers, has urged governments to encourage youths to acquire skills that would enhance technological advancement of the nation.

Denenu said  in Yenagoa on Tuesday that there was the  need to stir up the intellectual capacities of the youth to compete globally.

He spoke at the Global Entrepreneurship Week organised by the Bayelsa Tech Hub.

The event had the  theme: “The Benefits of Driving Growth of SMEs with Tech”.

He advised the youth to conceive laudable  dreams and believe in their God-given abilities to achieve great things.

According to him, the internet age provides enormous opportunities for people to acquire knowledge and learn different skills to be able to compete in the global space.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Denenu,  Special Assistant to Prof. Turner Isoun, Minister of Science and Technology, during the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo administration, said that the future belonged to the youth.

“We have to deliberately empower young people, show them the right way to go and give incentives to those who have demonstrated capacity.

“Let us empower the youth,” he said.

In his keynote address, Mr Ebiekure Eradiri, Director-General of the Bayelsa Micro-finance Enterprise Development Agency (BYMEDA), said that the body had been able to promote and support the growth of micro and medium scale enterprises.

Eradiri said that the challenges of SMEs included lack of funds, lack of technological innovation and lack of capacity to manage business.

According to him,  it is for the reasons that the agency in 2015 partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)  to disburse N2 billion grants, give out loans and build the capacities of business owners.

The director-general decried the inability of many business owners, who collected loans, to pay back.

He said that the system had been restructured  to avoid the mistakes of the past following CBN’s directive that defaulters’ bank verification numbers be submitted for easy tracking.

Earlier, the Manager of the Bayelsa Tech Hub, Mr Harry Porbeni, said that the Bayelsa Tech Hub was an enterprise development centre aimed to drive innovations.

He added that it was aimed at finding solutions to technological challenges in key sectors, to stimulate the  economy.

Porbeni said that  the hub was partnering with organisations to create a platform to source for technological solutions.

Edited & Vetted By: Emmanuel Okara/Ijeoma Popoola
(NAN)

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