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Monday, August 31, 2009

Expect more investment reduction in IT – IDC boss

Vice President and Regional Managing Director, IDC for Middle East, Africa and Turkey, Mr. Jyoti Lalchandani, has said that Information Technology (IT) stakeholders should anticipate more investment reduction toward the end of this year, 2009.

Speaking at a one-day Information Technology (IT) managers forum and expo conference series, which held in Lagos, weekend and attracted an estimated 150 participants, he said it is no longer secret that the ravaging global meltdown has affected the sector.

“The IT market will most likely suffer from a reduction of investment in 2009 as many decisions will be based on a misunderstanding of the real benefits of ICT technologies. We all know that a properly prepared strategy is the best ally during times of crisis. And through this event today, IDC has demonstrated that ICT technologies, if used wisely, can be part of the remedy for dealing with the fallout from the financial crisis,” he said.

Presenting his paper, Mr. Lalchandani assessed the impact of the global economic downturn on the emergence of ICT megatrends such as convergence, mobility, virtualization, software-as-a-service, managed services, and off shoring.

He also outlined the impact of the financial crisis on investment for the remaining part of the year, 2009 and beyond, mostly on the Middle East and Africa in general, and on Nigeria in particular.

The event began with a roadshow across 13 of the region’s most important cities, is expected to bring together over 3,000 top Information and Communication Technology (ICT) end users along the way.

Running under the theme ‘Making IT Matter: Finding Opportunities and Defining Value’, the organizers said, the event attracted 150 leading IT decision makers from across the country.

The Conference Director for IDC MEA, Ms Ronita Bhattacharjee, affirmed in a press statement made available to Champion Infotel, that it was tailored specifically to meet the needs of IT and business executives, seeking to discover how technology could be used to enable and transform business models and processes.

“Some of the region’s most influential ICT thought leaders were on hand to advise delegates on becoming a smart IT buyer during this time of economic uncertainty, providing cutting-edge analysis of the drivers and metrics that will be critical to the IT market in the coming years,” she said.

The forum equally attracted partnership with Dell, Polycom, and FVC, Commvault, APC and Brother. While Dubai Internet City was the ICT partner, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek was the event’s media partner.

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Zinox to launch LifeTime warranty, 500,000 e-books

Ahead of the nation’s celebrations of 50th independence anniversary, Zinox Technologies Limited has set October 1, 2009, aside as the launch date for a Lifetime Warranty policy for all Zinox products.

Revealing this at the weekend to Champion Infotel, the Corporate Communications Adviser to Zinox Group, Mr. Echika Ezuka, said the aim of the Lifetime Warranty policy affords more Nigerians to benefit from the values embedded in Zinox brand through inclusion of 500,000 e-books in all packages.

According to him, this policy was designed to further enhance product differentiation, covering all Zinox Pcs, laptops, servers and Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) with effect from October 1, 2009.

He said that in the last three years, the core research and development team led by the chairman of Zinox Technologies Limited, Dr. Leo-Stan Ekeh, has been working on ways to additionally reduce the total cost of ownership of computer hardware in Nigeria and the West Africa sub-region.

This research, he said, went beyond the digital tracking of components, the signing of critical agreements with ‘A’ class component manufacturers including Microsoft and Intel, as well as online support definition.

“The lifetime warranty policy is a confirmation of the Zinox confidence in the quality of components bought from No.1 manufacturers in the world,” he declared, stressing that those products bought in the last eight years ago at the launch of Zinox Computers are covered by this policy.

Explaining the policy, Ezuka said that it covers free labour, all driver upgrades among others, while Zinox customers shall only pay for parts from the first year of comprehensive warranty.

“Our research has shown that less than one (1) per cent of systems returned for support need parts replacement because of the high quality of the components we use.
Most faults reported have to do with corrupt applications, reloading of drivers and virus challenges. So, with effect from 1/10/09, our customers, country wide, should be able to go online and resolve 90% of their support challenges as our Help Desk will be online to help” he asserted.

Equally, he noted this as another first in Africa from Zinox Computers, 2nd best selling PC in Nigeria.

Mr. Ezuka also said that from October 1, 2009, all Zinox computers will come standard with 500,000 e-Books free of charge.

The free e-book, he said, was made possible due to recent partnership deal entered between Zinox and World e Books Library.

He emphasized that there is no option to being a knowledge driven nation, just as Ezuka urged all stakeholders to encourage a new generation of Nigerians that will lead this nation to the promised land.

“These e Books cover all disciplines no matter your specialization and interest and are free for one year. He said that the cost of subscription would be minimal, little or nothing, for subsequent years. It may be convenient for most people to subscribe for additional years at point of purchase of equipment,” he said.

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APC unveils ‘Server Rooms Made Easy’

Global leader in critical power and cooling services, APC by Schneider Electric has unveiled ‘Server Rooms Made Easy’ at the just concluded Middle East and Africa IT Managers Forum and Expo 2009 in Lagos.

Territory account manager for English speaking West Africa at APC, Mr. Kennedy Otedoh, said the company’s “Server Rooms Made Easy” was launched to delegates to create more enlightenment among the participants, most of who were IT managers and senior representatives of their companies.

He stressed that Information Technology (IT)-based Small and Medium Business (SMB) for this year is set to grow by 3.2 per cent, which is against the 1.7 per cent by large business spending.

“Despite the current poor economic conditions, the midsized market will emerge as especially important for technology providers, particularly in firms with 100 to 499 employees. These figures highlight the importance of the server room market for our partners across the globe,” he said.

Kennedy used the platform to address current trends within this space, which he described as a go-to-market strategy for this sector as well as solutions available to enable businesses to power, cool, manage and monitor and service their server rooms.

One such solution as the APC InRow SC Systems, he noted, that a new self-contained, integrated cooling enclosure is ideal for network closet and server room environments.

These systems, he said, offer the flexibility to be deployed as a fully contained IT environment, meaning no need for remote heat exchangers, or as a partially contained system that can be easily added as a retrofit to allow for seamless growth within existing space.

“Complete with up to 7kW of cooling capacity, a 600mm wide rack enclosure, and front and rear containment options, these new cooling systems monitor and actively adjust cooling capacity to ensure proper server inlet temperatures,” he said.

Network closets and server rooms, he explained, are critical systems within a customer’s IT environment, requiring high availability to support essential business applications.

Adding his view, regional director, Africa, Indian Ocean Islands and South Caribbean at APC by Schneider Electric, Mr. Carl Kleynhans, pointed out that the new APC InRow SC Systems could provide the flexibility network managers need for changing IT environments in self-contained systems designed and engineered to work together in a scalable modular architecture.

He further said that the InRow SC Systems are simple, self-contained units including an APC InRow SC row-based cooling solution, APC NetShelter SX rack enclosure and APC Rack Air Containment options, and offering ease of installation and mobility during changes. Intelligent and manageable components make the system network-enabled and self monitoring. Containment wrapped around IT rack and cooling creates, he said, are usually located in an isolated environment which capsulate that it could be placed in most surroundings with low noise impact as well as the option to add security solutions.

As said by him, this new system features include offering of predictable cooling for server room and wiring closet environments in a row-based architecture, with such as active response controls, individual hot swappable, variable speed fans, remote management capabilities, coil freeze protection, dry contact output and horizontal airflow pattern.

In addition, he APC NetShelter Enclosure – provides a reliable rack-mounting environment for high-density and networking equipment including mounts for two APC metered PDUs (not included with bundle) in one rear channel, multi-vendor equipment compatibility, numbered U positions, removable reversible fully ventilated doors and simple baying installation.

In addition, he said, APC Rack Air Containment is a modular system designed to work in conjunction with the APC NetShelter SX enclosure and InRow cooling unit to provide maximum cooling predictability, capacity, and efficiency.

“Easy to install, the APC Rack Air Containment unit attaches to the front and rear of the NetShelter SX rack enclosure thereby eliminating mixing of hot and cold air streams,” he declared.

The APC InRow SC Systems, he further said, are currently available in Europe, Middle East and Africa, just as the solution could also be configured as a fully redundant system to provide customers with additional availability.

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MNet names Osakioduwa host of BBA-4

The Digital Satellite Television (DSTv) channel, M-Net has named Nigerian Ik Osakioduwa the host of its latest reality show, the Big Brother Africa (BBA-4) reports CHARLES OKOH.

M-Net in a press statement made available to Champion Infotel, weekend, said that BBA-4 due to take off next Sunday, September 6, would be hosted by a talented Nigerian television star IK Osakioduwa.

An Economics graduate from the University of Lagos (UNILAG), IK as he is fondly called, began his broadcast career as ‘Wild Child’ on Nigerian radio station Rhythm FM 93.7, from where he moved into television.

A presenter on M-Net’s flagship Afro-chic lifestyle programme Studio 53, Ik has also helmed two other M-Net productions - the Nigerian game show Temptation Nigeria and the stand-out stand-up series Comedy Club: Live in Lagos.

“I’m not sure what it is about the show but it’s almost addictive. I hate to confess it but, I remember days when I stayed up watching people in the house sleep,” he said.

IK also called on audiences to share his passion for the series saying: “I’ve been speaking with some people involved with the production and I think it’s safe to say that a lot of thought has been put into improving everything that has been done before. We see a reflection of that in the increased prize money. I also think there will probably even be more drama in this edition too because the stakes are higher.
Not to mention that there are more countries.”

To the housemates, he advised them to be cautious because people would be watching critically from across the continent.

“I think being fake would work against you. Keep it real and hope for the best. Also as much as we are all watching you, try to have some fun with it!” he said, just as the show will also feature up and coming African sensation K’Naan.

The Somali born, Canadian based musician, K’Naan, has won global attention for fusing hip hop, rap and reggae with poetic insight and a keen sense of timing. It’s no wonder then that his breakout album The Dusty Foot Philosopher has become an international hit. 

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Glo introduces direct debit payment for subscribers

Globacom has introduced the option of direct debit for its subscribers into its Nigerian market.

This the operator said, is unlike in the past where payments could only be made through Easy-pay, cheque or cash at ETB branches or Gloworlds, the new direct debit method allows subscribers on the post-paid platform to pay their bills directly through their bank accounts, thus avoiding the problems of disconnection due to unpaid bills.

Customers, Glo said, could collect the activation forms from the nearest Gloworld, get it endorsed by their banks and return them.

Alternatively, official of Glo said, interested subscribers to send “YES” to a free short code (30008) so they could be contacted by telemarketers who would inform them of the benefits and process of registering for the service.

As part of the package, Glo is offering 25 free Glo-to-Glo SMS per month for three months for subscribers who opt for this mode of payment after registering for the service.

According to a press statement from the company, the direct debit method offers great flexibility for corporate and individual subscribers who appreciate the convenience it offers.

Glo further said that the direct debit option is a smarter method of paying bills by subscribers.

“It means that subscribers need not make frequent trips to and from bank branches or Gloworld outlets, but rather get their phone bills paid directly from their bank accounts no matter the bank or the location of the branch in which their account is domiciled,” official said.


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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

ICT firms fault CBN on bank debts


Following the recent publicized list of bank debtors by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), some of the affected companies within the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector have insisted that the apex bank erred.

Those who reacted to the CBN’s list of debtors included Reliance Telecommunications Limited, trading as ZOOMmobile, Mobitel Limited and Omatek Computers Plc.

They were of the consensus that CBN committed major blunder by not taking time to verify the state of consumers’ accounts before publicizing the list.

According to some of the respondents, CBN needed to conduct a proper homework before that exposure, which has since ignited a lot of knocks from all sectors of the economy.

Already, CBN has acknowledged that there were some typographical errors in the publication.

ITRealms Online gathered that most of the affected ICT companies, for instance, claimed that whatever they were owing their respective banks was not a bad debt, just as others maintained that the figure given by CBN was not a true state of things, yet others said they have since cleared the debts in question and were surprised that the report reflected otherwise from the apex bank.

A fortnight ago, CBN Governor, Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had sacked the managing directors and chief executive officers of five banks along with their executive directors.

Those affected included Messrs Erastus Akingbola, Sebastine Adigwe, Okey Nwosu and Barth Ebong as well as Mrs. Cecilia Ibru of Intercontinental Bank Plc, AfriBank Plc, Finbank Plc, Union Bank Plc and Oceanic Bank Plc in that order.

However, replacements were immediately announced by Sanusi, namely John Aboh for Oceanic Bank Plc, Mahmud Alabi for Intercontinental Bank, Nebolisa Arah for Afribank, Ms Suzanne Iroche for Finbank, whereas Ms Funke Osibodu captured Union Bank Plc.

Also, ITRealms Online recalled that an estimated 28,023,079,047.08 billion was purportedly identified as debt owed Nigerian banks by Information and Communication Technology (ICT) entities in the country.

As stated by Central Bank of Nigeria, NITEL CDMA Project Account owed 3,593,779,589.40; Mobitel Limited - 1,380,781,422.64; Omatek Computers Limited – 1,649,380,634.77; MTS First Wireless Limited – 9,849,331,689; Communications Trends Limited – 1,127,361,164; Minaj Holdings Ltd – 1,634,717,063; NITEL – 7,829,277,000; Reliance Telecommunications Ltd – 800,896,080.76; Intercellular Nigeria Plc – 157,554,403.51, to name a few.

Responding to the CBN inclusion of his firm in the debtors list, the Group Managing Director (GMD), Reliance Telecommunications Limited, Mr. Tony Okonkwo, last weekend, said that the figure was not correct as the telecom operator is aware of only N307 million, which has even been structured for payment since August last year and has never defaulted.

He wondered why his firm should be listed or the loan classified as non-performing loan when there is an on-going understanding for repayment of the exact amount.

“We have never defaulted and so we cannot understand why it was classified as nonperforming when there is an understanding and as a responsible organisation we meet our corporate commitment with the bank,” he declared.

Equally reacting, Mobitel Nigeria, stated that its listing on the debt roll of the recent special report publication by Central Bank of Nigeria is shocking.

Chief Executive Officer, Mobitel Nigeria, Mr. Johnson Salako, expressed disbelief on the claims that Mobitel owed Intercontinental Bank, saying "With reference to Mobitel owing Intercontinental Bank, nothing could be further from the truth. The amount owed to Intercontinental Bank was N1.380 billion. After negotiation, a full and final payment of N1.0 billion was made on August 8, 2008," he asserted.

This, he insisted was duly acknowledged by a letter dated same day from Intercontinental Bank’s loan recovery unit.

Salako reiterated that all outstanding commitments to creditors, suppliers and staff had been fully settled during the acquisition process.

"We want to state categorically that we have fulfilled all our obligations with respect to outstanding payments to creditors, suppliers and staff during the acquisition process with signed documents of release obtained from each party. This settlement cost nearly N3.4 billion and was considered a wise and necessary investment needed to reposition the company for unencumbered future growth," he said.

And for the Group Managing Director of Omatek, Mrs. Florence Seriki, though expressed shock over the CBN publication, she promised to respond officially.

But as at the time of going to the press, ITRealms Online was yet to get Omatek response.

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NCC confirms plans to re-sale 2.3Gh spectrum

... Partners ATDI on summit

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reaffirmed its resolve to resale the controversial 2.3GHz spectrum as directed by President Umaru Yar’Adua, just as the commission said it has finalised arrangements with some stakeholders on the hosting of a one-day Africa Telecom Development Summit to be held in Abuja.

ITRealms Online gathered that the board of NCC, chaired by Alhaji Ahmed Joda, met last week in Abuja to review the issues concerning the recent 2.3GHz frequency spectrum licensing process and the issues arising thereof.

Affirming this, Head, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka, said that the Commission has noted the published directive to the Commission by Mr. President to conduct a fresh bidding round for the licenses on this frequency band.

Based on the foregoing, he said, the programme for the fresh bidding round for licenses in the 2.3GHz band, and other frequency bands, has been initiated by the board of the Commission, and full details would soon be announced.

“All stakeholders are advised to look out for public announcements in this regard,” he said, advising interested parties to forget the events of the past months and join the Commission in fostering a nation where telecom services are accessible and affordable to all.

“The Commission pledges its absolute commitment to due process, respect for law, and unequivocal commitment to openness and transparency, and has always been guided by these principles in all its licensing processes,” he said. Additionally, Muoka said the Commission solicited for the support and understanding of all stakeholders in the quest to sustain the gains made in the Nigerian telecom industry in the last nine years for the benefit of the Nigerian people and the future of the nation.

Meanwhile, NCC is partnering with a pan-African non-governmental organisation, Africa Telecom Development Initiative (ATDI) and West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA) as well as the African Business Round Table on a one-day Africa Telecom Development Summit.

The first edition of ATD Summit is expected to assemble key telecom personalities, including regulators, operators, equipment vendors and policy makers, is billed for Nigeria, at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, on September 10, 2009.

A joint statement in Abuja by the Executive Secretary, ATDI, Mr. Ken Ugbechie and Head, Public Affairs of NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka, said the Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Dr. Hamadoun Toure, has confirmed his attendance as the guest speaker at the event.

Top Nigerian government officials are expected to attend the event designed to become an annual telecom forum to appraise the state of the industry in the continent as well as seek new ways to maximise the potentials of ICT for human and societal development.

ATDI is founded by progressive African professionals and business people seeking to promote a sound culture of progressive and sustainable telecom development on the continent.

The theme of this year’s maiden edition of the forum is ‘Telecom in the Service of Humanity’. The ITU scribe would open discussions at the event with the lead topic, titled “Sustaining the Gains of Telecoms Development in the Continent in the Past 10 Years,” the statement said.

The key sub-themes at the summit would dwell on Cyber Security, Food Security and Citizen Security, as well as carefully selected experts versed in the respective fields.

The summit which serves as a bridge between the policy makers on one hand and regulators, operators and consumers on the other will have in attendance governors, ministers and telecom regulators from Nigeria and other countries of the world.

Organisers of the summit are hopeful that it would provide a platform for African nations to share experiences, build synergies and fashion out strategies through which telecom could be widely deployed to aid economic development as well as forge effective integration of African nations in a globalised economy.

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Instilling knowledge through virtual libraries

Against the backdrop of the global new concept of the world as a global village, REMMY NWEKE examines the role of some ICT firms in redefining knowledge through virtual libraries.

In this day and age, libraries have evolved from the brick-and-mortar warehouse of physical books, journals and other such resources of yesteryears to today’s virtual store-house of information.

And being that the world has since emerged as a global village, Nigerian children stand little chance of competing with their counterparts from other parts of the world if not supported in terms of provision of fundamentals in the nation’s institutions and public enlightenment outlets like the libraries.

Notwithstanding the acute shortage of books in school libraries across the nation and where the books are available they are mutilated or stolen outright by desperate students who are unable to photocopy the parts they need for lack of money or unavailability of photocopiers in such public institutions. Hence, there is need to evolve a virtual means to make Nigerian schools and students globally competitive.

Virtual Library, thus, becomes an option for solution and has been defined by experts at wikipedia.org as the World Wide Web Virtual Library encapsulated as the first index of content on the World Wide Web (www) and still operates as a directory of e-texts and information sources on the web. Reputed to have been started by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of Hyper Text Mark-up Language (HTML) used by the Web itself, in 1991 at CERN in Geneva, yet, for others, a digital library is a library in which collections are stored in digital formats as opposed to print, micro-form or other media and accessible from any part of the world at any time.

Equally of note is that years of neglect and financial starvation have left the nation’s public ivory towers on the brink of total collapse, with no luxury of time to bother about updating their stocks of books on most fields of learning. With a past as aforementioned and a future not assured of better funding, there is little or no hope Nigeria’s ivory towers could catch up with their peers across the world any time soon.

Recent reports by a London-based education magazine, the Time Higher Education (THE), noted that none of the tertiary institutions in Nigeria was among the first 500 institutions in the world ranking. That could not have been a surprise, when most of the institutions have their libraries stacked with books printed in the 60s even for such dynamic courses as computer science.

This is one reason parents who have the wherewithal prefer to send their children abroad for higher education. So, it was not surprising too that about 60,000 visa applications were reportedly received every month by the British High Commission in Nigeria from students wishing to study in the United Kingdom (UK). 

It is, for instance, doubtful if Philip Emeagwali, the Nigerian born ‘father of the Internet’ would have attained that height if he remained in Nigeria. There are thousands of other Emeagwalis in Nigeria’s institutions today who only need the right environment and facilities to bring out the best in them.

That is why the evolution to virtual libraries is a major advancement that all lovers of Nigeria should be very excited about. Virtual libraries remain the only way to bridge the wide gap between institutions in the country and those in the developed world.

Virtual libraries break down international boundaries in the pursuit of knowledge. From the remotest parts of Nigeria, through virtual libraries, students, lecturers and researchers could access books and other academic resources in libraries in the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Japan or just about any country in the world in a matter of seconds.  

The question now is if funds were the major barrier against institutions keeping up to date books in their libraries, how would they manage to build virtual libraries? This becomes a big issue considering that the very essence of a virtual library lies in its connection to the limitless information beyond its four walls.

Basically, in a virtual library, there must be functional computers, broadband internet, constant power, photocopiers and other related accessories, in addition to having alliance with other virtual libraries around the globe and subscriptions have to be paid.

That is where the Public Private Partnership comes to play and to say the least, this kind of collaboration is already achieving wonders across the nation with the recent co-operation between some institutions and MTN Foundation (MTNF).

MTN Nigeria Communications Limited through this foundation is literally enthroning the concept of virtual library as a shortcut to revamping the nation’s educational system and through which MTN Foundation, has made substantial investment in the establishment of virtual libraries in three of Nigeria’s most notable public universities. 

The foundation has so far under its flagship project, UniversitiesConnect scheme, donated fully equipped virtual libraries to the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). While a fourth institution, the University of Benin (UNIBEN), has just been approved to benefit from the project. 

Based on MTNF outline, each virtual library is digitized laboratory made up of 128 networked personal computers, broadband internet access, three servers, two high capacity printers and a sound proof 100 KVA generating set.

Also, MTNF’s virtual library is linked to over 5,500 virtual libraries across the globe and cover courses including Arts, Law, Medicine, Architecture, Information Technology (IT), Communications, Business Management, Education to name a few.

While books, case studies and journals covering the various fields, including pictures and graphs come in Portable Document Formats (PDF) and are downloadable by students as well as lecturers from any of the virtual libraries, whereas the rights to these materials have been secured and paid for by the foundation.

The establishment of these libraries entails huge investment and tends to make equal difference in the existence of the benefitting institutions. Thus, during the formal commissioning of Phase 2 of the project in ABU Zaria, the outgoing Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Abdulahi Shehu said that the library had increased the rating of the institution to 99 per cent by the National Universities Commission (NUC). 

In order to sustain the tempo around these virtual libraries, MTN Foundation came up with the plans to host regular workshops and interactive forum aimed at providing hands-on training for potential users of the libraries in the institutions where they have the facilities.

Speaking on this, the Corporate Services Executive, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Akinwale Goodluck, said, “it is MTN’s contribution to building a greater nation through the education of Nigerian youths.”

Some other companies have made commendable interventions in education in this country. For instance, MultiChoice Nigeria is providing resource centres in both secondary and tertiary institutions across the country. Cisco Systems Incorporated recently spent millions of Naira on its Cisco Network academy nationwide. The company provided free books and curriculum for students and also 75 per cent of the equipment and infrastructure used by the students.

At the moment, Cisco has full-fledged network academies in the University of Jos, University of Lagos, Lagos Business School and about 74 other institutions nationwide. Most of all, these are the kind of companies Nigeria needs to advance, especially the virtual library project by MTNF deserves commendation for the great promise it holds to literally bridge the divide between Nigerian institutions and those of the advanced countries of the world, even as more of this intervention is welcome anytime, any day.

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NCC, Police win case against Computer Plus

•On software piracy

The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and the Nigeria Police have won the case against Computer Plus Limited over software piracy.

The case which took over five years to conclude due to pro-longed court process saw Computer Plus Ltd and its managing director, Felix Agbor, being found guilty on two counts charge of software piracy.

ITRealms Online recalls that in 2003, NCC got tip-off on a number of companies reputed in software piracy, including Computer Plus Ltd.

A press statement from Microsoft Nigeria endorsed by the Public Relations Manager, Mrs Ndidi Uwadoka quoted the Director-General of NCC, Mr. Adebambo Anthony Adewopo as saying that the tip-off was followed by a test-purchase carried out which confirmed that the company was pre-loading computers with unlicensed copies of Microsoft software.

“With this proof in hand, a warrant was issued, the reseller’s property was raided by the police and the managing director was charged,” he said.

According to Adewopo, after a lengthy court process, the defendants, Computer Plus and Felix Agbor, pleaded guilty on May 15, 2009 and were convicted and sentenced to a six-month prison term with the option of a fine. Noting that though Mr. Agbor, opted to pay the fine the criminal conviction will remain on Computer Plus and Mr. Agbor’s criminal record.

“The kind of software piracy that Computer Plus carried out is not uncommon,” he said, pointing out that in an effort to make their sales offerings more attractive and compelling, resellers sometimes illegally pre-load software onto a computer when it is being sold – either including it as “part of the package” or “at no extra cost”.

He equally said that while pre-loading software onto a computer for a customer is not an illegal act, every item of software loaded should always be legally licensed.
“In this case, the proof of license documents, like a genuine Certificate of Authenticity and hologram CD, were not provided during the test purchase and evidence gathered during the raid confirmed that Computer Plus was in fact dealing in pirated software,” he said.

Also speaking on the matter, Licensing and Compliance Manager for Microsoft Nigeria, Mr. Serge Ntamack, said, piracy is not a victimless crime.

“On the contrary, many people and businesses suffer at the hands of these criminals. Honest resellers lose out on sales, businesses lose out on productivity, software companies lose out on revenue and governments lose out on tax revenue, which could be re-invested into the country,” he highlighted.

Stressing that this could not be over-emphasized, adding there is a need to respect copyrights and the laws that protect intellectual property.

“Piracy is a crime, just like theft, tax evasion and fraud. And criminals will be brought to book when they are caught,” Ntamack explained.

As said by him, people and businesses in Nigeria who utilise unlicensed software are putting themselves in a precarious position when it comes to their own security.

He cited an example, saying that unlicensed software users cannot get the latest security updates and patches, leaving their systems vulnerable to viruses and potential computer hackers.

“If anything goes wrong with their systems, they are left without any technical assistance to resolve the problem. The risks far outweigh the cost benefits of using pirated unlicensed software. It’s just not worth it,” he said.

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FABS boss canvasses virtualisation

Chief executive officer of Mauritius-based Footprint Africa Business Solutions (FABS), Mrs. Karien Bornheim has recommended virtualisation of platforms for Nigerian-based businesses.

This is coming as FABS has engaged a Nigerian media communications agency, TopComm.
Speaking in a chat in Lagos, last week, Mrs. Bornheim who was in the country on a business trip, said that by adopting virtualisation, businesses could optimise any platform they may wish to deploy in terms of software solution.

She also identify complicity in the Nigeria’s public sector deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), especially with respect to software application, hence creating confusion on what and how to deploy a given service that could lift the administration of governance through technology.

“They don’t know what exactly they really want. Also, the people change very often and it is difficult to make decision that could spur growth and enable the catering for clients better,” she said.

According to her, FABS utilizes the platforms of world class software providers such as the IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Novell, Red Hat among others to deliver a quality service to its customers in virtually all parts of the globe.

Pointing out that in most cases, especially at this moment of meltdown, organisations do not really have to buy new software, stressing that usually, what her firm does is to embark on health-check of the environs followed by recommendation, which often times include training, upgrading so as to meet up with global best practices.

“We have our own expertise in our bid to deliver and we would not give any customer a product that is not certified,” she declared.

FABS, which has extended its presence to Lagos, Abuja to name a few, she said, provides business solutions to its teeming patrons across the continent of Africa from its operational headquarters in Johannesburg and hopes to capitalise on its relationship with TopComm to secure a foothold into the nation’s market.

“FABS has been engaged with TopComm in an informal manner over the past 12 months and has seen a marked improvement in its footprint in the Nigerian market,” she said.

Bornheim expressed optimism that the partnership would also stimulate opportunities for FABS as a global business solutions provider to make the desired in-road into the abundant and vibrant Nigerian market.

“We truly believe that the combined strengths of TopComm and FABS will enable both companies to grow exponentially in Nigeria,” she said.

She revealed that over the years, her company has come to discover that although most companies may not necessarily buy a new software application, some still prefer to deploy open source suite.

“In Open Source, the license is free, but the support service is not,” she said, stressing that Linux environment is the way to go.

She cited an instance with East African countries where open source application has become an official software backed with a government decree.

She further said that FABS is keen in management of IT application to make certain that solutions deployed are well managed based on chosen projects.

However responding, the General Services and Strategy Manager at TopComm, Mr. Seyi Jawando, affirmed the determination of his firm on ensuring that the strategic partnership benefits from the competence which TopComm is known for.

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Cisco unveils ‘Small is Big’ contest-09

Cisco Systems Nigeria has given a boost to the nation’s small businesses with the introduction of its ‘Small is Big’ contest.

This, the company said, would provide small business the relevant stepping stone for one of such businesses in the country to gain a heightened programme support from Cisco.

The Marketing Manager, Cisco Systems Nigeria, Ms Owen Nwelih, informed that through this initiative, Cisco aims to help small businesses in Nigeria to gain greater agility and efficiency in working with customers who are increasingly expecting to do business on the move, on the Internet and via video.

The programme, she said, which is on-line, six-week contest entitled ‘Small is Big’, where the winning business would be entitled to receive Cisco small business products comprising routing/switching, wireless, security and voice solution.

She explained that the programme is built on the $100 million global strategic initiative launched earlier in the year by the company, which focuses on small business networking and communications solutions for companies with fewer than 100 employees.

“The number one priority for small-business owners in Nigeria is to grow their companies, not become technology experts. Small businesses learn about and implement technology in a very different way from large enterprises. Recognising this, Cisco has transformed the way we communicate with small-business customers with a customized SME-specific website and marketing campaigns that focus increasingly on business capabilities and benefits of complete solutions rather than on products and technologies,” she said.

As said by her, it is incredible to know that for as little as $2,000 depending on their basic infrastructure and information technology (IT) equipment, a small medium enterprise (SME) could acquire a full suite of equipment to enable mobilization of their workforce, no matter where employees are using a wireless connection, extend full communications to home workers with secure access to the company network and also afford them the use of their laptops or PCs as full-featured office phones.
Cisco, she said, plans to give away this equipment to one lucky SME in just about six weeks.

The ‘Small is Big’ contest, she said is open to all small businesses in Nigeria with between 10 and 250 employees.

Entrants, she said, could enter by logging onto http://www.cisco.com/web/EA/index.html. The business selected at random after the closing date will be entitled to receive Cisco small business products comprising routing or switching, wireless, security and voice solutions worth $5,000 USD.

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Zain, MTN partner NetVisa on anti-phone theft scheme

Leading mobile phone operators in the country under the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), MTN Nigeria and Zain Nigeria, have joined forces with the anti-mobile phone theft network service provider, NetVisa Nigeria Limited.

ITRealms Online gathered that while Zain connected to the network just before the inauguration of the service about three weeks ago, MTN hooked on to it about a fortnight ago.

This much was confirmed by the Corporate Services Executive at MTN Nigeria, Mr. Wale Goodluck, at the weekend to ITRealms Online.

“We have connected,” he declared.

Also, ITRealms Online learnt that with this connection by the operators, it would allows both firms to offer their subscribers a service whereby if they report their phones stolen, such phones would be rendered unusable in any mobile network in the country.

This would be possible as Netvisa would keep a database of the International Manufacturers Equipment Identity (IMEI) of such phones and make them available to operators to bar them from their networks.

Commenting on the connection of the two operators, the Executive Director, Industry Relations, NetVisa Nigeria Limited, Mr. Abubakar Grema, said that it was great that Zain and MTN were now part of the service.

As said by him, with the two largest networks now ready to offer mobile owners the mobile phone anti-theft service, subscribers should now adopt the attitude of writing down the IMEI numbers of their mobile phones as it is the primary means by which their stolen phones could be identified by mobile network operators.

“It is a great development to now have both MTN and Zain on our network. As you know, these two operators account for about 65 per cent of mobile phone subscribers in Nigeria and this means that as things stand, most Nigerian phone users can now benefit from the service offered by Netvisa,” he said.

Grema also said, that in the coming weeks more operators are expected to be hooked on the Netvisa network to offer same services to subscribers.

Emphasizing that all the 11 mobile service operators have now been trained on the delivery of the service and what is left is for them to hook on NetVisa network.

He further said both GSM and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators would be offering the service and that the scheme would also be available for other value-added services.

Netvisa, he said, had already established all that was needed for any subscriber to report the loss of their phones and get them barred from any network in Nigeria.

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Starcomms lifts Police with Internet access

Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operator, Starcomms, has lifted the public relations office of the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters with one year free Internet access.

Starcomms said, the access was offered as part of its corporate social responsibility to help the office handle official messages and general complaints emanating from the public nationwide.

This gesture was a follow up to the donation last year of a complete computer with Starcomms izap to the office with one year free internet access. The facilities have helped the Police to promptly address public communication on a daily basis.

The presentation of the latest offer was made by the duo of David Babalola and Kenneth Ekwunife, recently.

A letter of appreciation from the Police Force to Starcomms and signed by the Assistant Force Public Relations Officer, Ramoni Lawal SP, on behalf of the Force PRO, the security agency reiterated its reliance on Starcomms’ facilities for its operation.

“Your kind gesture truly, is seen as your contribution to policing in Nigeria and a manifestation and demonstration of your positive attitude to charity. Apart from the larger number of the Police Commands and Department that will benefit from this gesture, your company has through this gesture impacted positively on Nigerians for whom this office has been the only hope for addressing numerous complaints against Police and members of the public.

“You have set the pace for others to emulate and we are very appreciative of the good work you are doing and pray that God will continue to guide you and keep your company strong and successful in all your business endeavours,” the letter read in part.

According to the Starcomms officials, partnership of this nature has formed part of a larger Starcomms’ CSR undertaken to lead the industry in supporting crime fighting in the country.

ITRealms Online gathered that apart from the donation to the PR office last year and this year’s renewal, the company also supported the Nigeria Police, FCT Command with 1,000 highly subsidized Virtual Private Network (VPN) lines donated to the command in 2007.

This was in response to the distress call from the former Police Commissioner for the Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Haruna John.

In addition, the Starcomms donated EVDO mobile internet connectivity, raincoats, reflective jackets and torch lights to further assist the police in the discharge of its functions.

Further, ITRealms Online recalls that last month, Starcomms was honoured with the White Hat award by Spamhaus, an international organization whose mission is to track the Internet’s spam operations in recognition of the company’s fight against Internet crimes and its zero tolerance to spam.

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ZOOMmobile, Harris root for telecom device forum

Top companies in the nation’s information and communications technologies (ICTs) industry have lent their weight to the meeting of major stakeholders involved in the development, distribution and management of end-user telecommunications devices and services.

The Telecom/Device Forum is being put together by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Communication Week Media and has been slated to hold next month September in Lagos.

A press statement endorsed by Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, a senior associate editor, indicated that leading supporters of the event include Harris Stratex, Valucard, ZoomMobile, eTransact, IHS and Galaxy Wireless.

He said these companies would join the leadership of the NCC, Nigeria Interbank Settlement System and top government functionaries to present valid forecasts of developments in the telecom industry and examine the driving forces behind these developments especially in e-payment and emerging technologies.

With the theme “Telecom Industry Fuelling the Future of e-Payment System” the forum is designed to give both the layperson and the professional an update of emerging technologies, e-payment and handheld devices and related business trends and events.

Head, public affairs, NCC, Mr. Reuben Mouka said that the forum would bring key actors in the industry to meet, discuss, suggest and chart a roadmap for the future of communications industry in Nigeria.

He also said, Nigeria is witnessing a telecom revolution, which has resulted in impressive growth of landline and mobile connections.

“The sweeping revolution has continued to impact on all facets of the national economy. As a matter of fact, there is no sector that does not rely on telecommunications one way or the other,” he said.

Equally commenting, editor, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, Mr. Ken Nwogbo said the meeting is expected to attract stakeholders including regulators, top government functionaries, bankers, major switching companies, device manufacturers and suppliers, network operators, software vendors, distributors and retailers, as well as internet service providers, media, broadcasters and the general public.

Nwogbo, further said, the forum is an opportunity for companies to flaunt their products and create heightened visibility while underscoring their support for Nigeria content in the telecommunications industry.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

75% Nigerians use email – Obijiofor

A Nigerian-born Senior lecturer at the School of Journalism & Communication, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, Dr. Levi Obijiofor, has said that about 75 per cent of Nigerians are mostly interested in utilizing electronic mails (Email) among other Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) tools.

He spoke at the 2009 African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) in Accra, which held at the Centre for Africa Wetlands, University of Accra, Legon, on “ Perceptions and use of Internet & e-mail technologies by Nigerian university undergraduate students.”

According to him, this was the outcome of a study he recently conducted at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), stressing the fact that about 75 per cent of Nigerian undergraduates are merely interested in using the internet for electronic mail purposes, it cannot be different from the larger population usage of email in the country.

He told the panel B session on ICT and New Media presided over by Dr. Hopeton Dunn of the University of West Indies, Jamaica, that based on the uses and gratifications theory, which viewed media audiences as active consumers of media contents, who make conscious decisions about what type of media and media content to expose themselves to, the UNILAG students, actually made conscious decisions about aspects of the Internet technology that would satisfy their needs.

Though cautious on the extrapolation of the study, Obijiofor said the students use e-mail to gratify their needs which include the maintenance of regular contact and communication with friends, family, peers, teachers to mention a few.

Obijiofor also said that the Internet has enabled Nigerian students to satisfy needs related to special information, business, entertainment and the desire to keep up with the news.

“E-mail communication was the primary reason why the students used the Internet,” he said, based on the study, noting that reliance on the Internet for e-mail communication also implies on the limited use of the various applications and resources available on the Internet.

“This implied that students’ Internet use is driven by a very limited goal, thus challenging uses and gratifications theory,” he declared and pointed out that a total of 142 students took part in the research.

Although Obijiofor noted that a large number of Nigerian students have Internet access, only a very small number use the Internet more frequently.

As such, in terms of perceptions of the Internet, more than half the students perceived the Internet as the most effective medium of communication, while more than two thirds of the students expressed optimism about the usefulness of the Internet.

However, a majority of the students believed that the Internet would expose young people to morally inappropriate contents, hence, these perceptions suggested that the students recognize the “good” and “bad” aspects of the Internet.

On the adaption by gender and Internet use, he said that more female students than male students use the Internet less frequently per week.

The objectives of research, he outlined to include identification of the primary reasons why university students use Internet and e-mail technologies; understand the needs which the students seek to gratify through the use of the Internet and e-mail; understand the extent of their use of these technologies; how students perceive Internet and e-mail technologies and determine the extent to which gender influences students’ Internet use.

Obijiofor pointed out that out of 142 students who completed and returned the questionnaire, 137, which amounted to 96.5 per cent said they had access to the Internet, while five (5), which is about 3.5 per cent did not answer the question, even as male top the respondents with 77 students, that is about 54.2 per cent, whereas the female scored 65, which is 45.8 per cent.

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HiTv signs MoU with ETB

The management of the pre-paid digital television provider, Highway Entertainment Nigeria Limited, trading with the name, HiTV, last weekend signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with one of the nation’s surviving banks, Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB) to make the acquisition of HiTV decoders and subscription easy for customers.
Deputy General Manager, Corporate & Commercial unit of Equitorial Trust Bank, Mr. Wale Ogunrinde, made this disclosure in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online.

As said by him, a swell time awaits lovers of European football in the country as ETB has taken up the provision of a unique platform to acquire HiTV decoder and subscription without stress on its pre-paid cable services.

The offer, he said, comes with zero equity contribution, no hidden charges and free decoder, pointing out that the collaboration is on the heels of recent HiTV exclusive license to broadcast Champions League in addition to the existing premiership.

Ogunrinde also noted that the company has introduced two exciting bouquets for the enjoyment of the whole family.

“While football lovers will have the opportunity to watch Premiership, UEFA Champions League and CAF Champions League matches among other exciting entertainment channels in the Premium bouquet, Subscribers to the HiTV Classic bouquet  will have the opportunity to watch exciting programmes including Discovery World, Fox News, Hi-nolly among others,” he said.

According to him, the deal tagged: ETB/HITV Subscription Finance Scheme, the MoU signed with HITV affords the financing of HITV facility for customers and non-customers of the bank with repayment spread over six months.

He further said the package was targeted at all the bank’s customers and non-customers most of whom are ardent sport enthusiasts especially football, which cuts across all categories of Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike.

“ETB is desirous of making HiTV affordable to low level income earners who will be able to watch live matches of their darling teams; Arsenal, Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid etc from the comfort of their homes” They will also watch their heroes; Mikel, Ronaldo, Eto, Igwe, Messi, Inesta, live” he said.
Additionally, he said, with the rising interest of Nigerians in European football and clubs the scheme would make it extremely easy for Nigerians to watch matches in the comfort of their homes with payment arranged over a period of time.

“Under the scheme, customers get a pro-forma invoice from Highway Entertainment Limited detailing the cost of the decoder with 12 months’ subscription, installation and other logistics,” he said, stressing that the customer could simply walk into any branch of the bank, pick and complete the bank’s asset and acquisition form, open a current or savings account with the bank and the bank will make payment to HiTV.

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Interswitch, Precise Biometrics strike N42m deal

Precise Biometrics and Interswitch Limited, have entered into a partnership deal for fingerprint recognition solutions worth €200,000, about N42 million.

Managing Director, Interswitch, Mr. Mitchell Elegbe, said in Lagos, the aim is to supply fingerprint recognition with Precise Match-on-Card to bank applications.
The partnership, he said, is already engaged in a first project, which would provide license sales at a minimum of €200,000, about N42,000,000.

He noted that through this partnership Precise Biometrics and Interswitch aim at building and promoting biometric Match-on-Card solutions for the banking segment on the continent.

The solutions, he also said, would initially target Nigeria, which is the most populated country in Africa with more than 150 million inhabitants.

He recalled that Nigerian banks are migrating from magstripe cards to the more secure chip cards in order to gradually eliminate the incidence of magstripe fraud in the banking sector.

The new chip and Personal Identification Number (PIN) cards comply with global EMV standards and government had given the banks a deadline to replace all magstripe cards with chip-based smart cards by June 2009.

He explained that to enable banks migrate faster, Interswitch has introduced the Verve card into the market, just as the new card has both international and local security features.

Interswitch’s partnership with Precise Biometrics, he said, affords it the opportunity to provide finger print recognition and Match-on-Card features on its card offering Verve.

“These features will further ensure that bonafide cardholders can make card present and offline transactions. With fingerprint recognition and Match-on-Card, banks, governments and organizations can increase internal security through personnel verification and KYE (Know Your Employee),” he said.

Interswitch, Elegbe said, is pleased to enter into this partnership as Precise Biometrics is the leading provider of biometric Match-on-Card solutions, he believes that the joint efforts and technological know-how would have great commercial potential in the West African region.

Unlike existing biometric solutions, Elegbe pointed out that due to fluctuations in power and communications, do not accurately match fingerprints on network devices, external servers or databases, while Precise’s Match-On-Card solution works seamlessly to ensure to eliminate this problem.

“Interswitch decided to collaborate with Precise Biometrics because of the potential to jointly provide accurate payment identification and authentication solutions in Nigeria,” Elegbe declared. 

Equally commenting, the chief executive officer, Precise Biometrics, Mr. Thomas Marshall, said his firm is delighted to have come to an agreement with Interswitch, which would place Precise Biometrics in a prime position to capture the rising biometric opportunities within the financial sector in the sub-region.
 
“The partnership is strengthened by our ongoing National ID card projects and we have substantial commercial expectations for the partnership in 2010 and onwards,” Mr. Marshall said. 

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Galaxy supports ‘09 Digitest for capacity building

Galaxy Backbone Plc (GBB) has supported this year’s edition of Digitest with the donation of 20 pieces of Personal Computers.

The Chief Education, States & Other Services at Galaxy Backbone Plc, Mr. Yusuf Kazaure, said at the formal presentation of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools to the Board of Trustees (BoT), Digital Peers International (DPI) in Abuja, weekend, that the essence of the donation was to give a boost to the activities of the organization which is in tandem with current call for rebranding of Nigeria.

He also noted that Galaxy Backbone believes Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is in its DNA by virtue of operational mandate, which made it mandatory for GBB to drive the digital inclusion of underserved communities and rural locations.
“Indeed, our vision is to be the leading enabler of digital inclusion in Nigeria and Africa,” he asserted.

Kazaure also said that Galaxy’s partnership with Digitest over the years is firmly in support that the ICT camp for women and the youths would provide a veritable platform for empowering the young generation of Nigerians for positive contribution to national development.

He said this underscores the company’s commitment to drive the digital inclusion of underserved communities in the country and also supports the use of ICT for capacity building to improve our educational standards. Finally, it is a significant corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative which empowers the young generation of Nigerians through ICTs.

The Executive Secretary, Digital Peers International, Mr. Olubodun Festus Gbenga in his response said DPI is an NGO that organizes an annual ICT based camp and competition for children tagged DIGITEST, which creates opportunities for children and youths to be taught on “how to develop content on the Internet and to write interesting programs with emphasis on the development of quality youth leadership, promotion of role models on youth issues and inculcating godly values in the children.”

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

‘ACCE should’ve observer status @ African Union’


Secretary-General of the West African News-media and Development Centre (WANAD), Prof. Alfred Opubor, has advocated for an observer status for the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) at the African Union (AU).

In his address to the just concluded 2009 ACCE conference at the University of Ghana Legon, Accra, last weekend, Prof. Opubor, said that the group should seek for an observer status in the continental meet for African leaders.

Additionally, he advised, that ACCE should partner with the private sectors to boost its viability on the continent so as to contribute its quota in bridging the digital communication gap between professionals and the ordinary citizens.

This, he also said, would enable experts that made up ACCE members to communicate and impress the essence of the group and on repositioning of Africa through qualitativehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif communications education on the continent’s leadership.

Commenting at the forum, a Sierra Leonean communications scholar, Prof. Cecil Blake, who is of the Department of Africana Studies, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennyslvania, tracked the journey so far for the organization in a piece, entitled “How we got to Accra, Ghana today from Abuja, the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

He commended Nigerian chapter of ACCE for keeping the hope of the organization alive despite the seeming crisis that rocked it since 2003.

“Thanks primarily to the Nigerian chapter of the ACCE, the council continued to function at the national level, preserving at least its name. Signs of a protracted crisis for the council were detected at the Abuja convention,” he said.

According to him, the crisis resulted in a call for a framework that would create structures to seek redress for the increasing difficulties faced by the council at both the governing and operational levels.

“To compound the problem, however, the host country Nigeria manifested an intergenerational rift that became so apparent that it nearly marred the convention. The intergenerational rift required immediate attention,” he said, hence a peace and reconciliation committee was organized and thanks to its diligent work, the rift did not result in the collapse of the council at the national level, in addition to a council of elders formed and presided by himself.

He, however, prayed that ACCE will rise up with the current meeting and situate itself as the harbinger of ‘good’ as in moral communication, as the on-going to engage the African development problems with a strong and firm emphasis on African ethos and agency.

Blake also seek the manifestation of African governance, the reduction of blatant corruption grafts and personal aggrandizement, the rule of law which is neither absent nor strange in African tradition and culture, but require the collective robust attention of ACCE members, noting that Africa has a rich and lofty tradition of core principles that surpass even those enunciated by those outside of the continent who are using African brightest brains to detect how to govern Africa.

The African Council for Communication Education (ACCE), a non-profit-making non-governmental organization was formed since 1975 with funding and support from the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

ITRealms Online recalled that at inception, ACCE acted as an association of Heads of Schools of Journalism and Communication on the African continent, but later transformed into the only regional organization of Africanist communication scholars and practitioners on the continent, with headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

ACCE is a professional Pan African organization charged with the responsibility of promoting journalism, development of communication resources in Africa and creating awareness among African policy makers and planners on the role of communication in national development.

Its activities over the years include communication research, training, workshops, seminars, documentation, in addition to publishing books, monographs, a journal (Africa Media Review), occasional papers, as well as a newsletter (Africom). In July 1983, ACCE established the Institute for Communication Development and Research (ACCE/ICDR) whose main task is to implement the above activities.


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Internet agency sacks 3 registrars

Global coordinating internet agency, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced the sack of three registrars over breach of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) of May 2001.

ICANN gave the names of these fallen registrars to include South America Domains Ltd doing business as namefrog.com, Simply Named Inc (SimplyNamed.com) and Tahoe Domains Inc have not had their RAA renewed upon expiration for failure to comply with the requirements of the agreement.

According to ICANN, notice to this effect dated July 30, 2009 tagged ‘Non-renewal of Registrar Accreditation Agreement have been dispatched to the trio via fascimilie, courier and electronic mail.

A copy of the letter addressed to the chief executive officers of the aforementioned companies made available to ITRealms Online, read in part that their agreement with ICANn has elapsed due to the breach and inability to renew same.

The sack, ICANN explained was as a failure to provide a working Whois service in pursuant to and compliant with Section 3.3 of RAA.

The three-page notice signed by ICANN’s Director, Contractual Compliance, Stacy Burnette and sent to the affected three companies, the internet coordinating agency, stated that Section 5.4 of the RAA provide or apply upon expiration for renewal of accreditation in compliance with its obligatons under the RAA.

Based on failure to comply with Sections 3.3 of the RAA, ICANN said it does not intend to renew these registrars upon its expiration on August 5, 2009.

ICANN noted that failure to provide public access to data on registered names in pursuant to Section 3.3 of the RAA.

Section 3.3.1 of the RAA, ICANN said requires registrars “provide an interactive web page and a port 43 Whois service providing free public query-based access to up-to-date data concerning all active registered names sponsored by registrar for each Top Level Domain (TLD) in which it is accredited.”

ICANN said that such data requiring updated from registrars include the name of the registered name, the names of the primary nameserver and secondary nameserver(s) for the registered name; the identity of registrar which may be provided through registrar’s website and the original creation date of the registration.

In addition, ICANN said it expects to get update on the expiration date of the registration, the name and postal address of the registered name holder, the name, postal address, email address, voice telephone number and where available, fax number of the technical contact for the registered name.

Burnette recalled that on July 17, 2009, a reminder was sent to the affected registrars by email and fax that Whois service was not compliant with RAA requirements.

“Specifically, your registrar’s Whois service did not provide any Whois data when ICANN staff attempted to access Whois data regarding domain names sponsored by ‘you’,” part of the letter read.

Pointing out that “You were requested to correct this contract violation immediately and report back to ICANN staff when the violation was corrected. ICANN staff never received a response from you or anyone representing ‘you’ regarding this matter.”

ICANN said it never received any response from the affected registrars as at the date of the notice.


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DSTv introduces Access bouquet, adjusts subscription

Digital Satellite Television (DStv) service provider, MultiChoice Nigeria, has introduced a new bouquet on its platform, called DTSV Access, just as it adjusted fees of its compact and premium bouquets upwards, reports CHARLES OKOH.

Managing Director, MultiChoice Nigeria, Mr. Joseph Hundah said, the new bouquet was in response to the yearnings of aspiring DStv lovers to have access to high quality content at a subscription fee of N1,500 monthly.

Access, he said, would contain 27 world-class channels at inception and the number would be increased to 34 before December this year, stressing that the bouquet offer cuts across the major entertainment genres.

“The bouquet line up will cut across entertainment and movies, lifestyle, sports, documentary, children, music, religion, news and current affairs, among others,” he said, noting that the DStv Access is in keeping with the company’s consumer-centric philosophy to make available to a greater number of people in the country.

“We carried out extensive research and focus group discussions and discovered that a good number of Nigerians wish to have access to world-class information and television programming but these potential subscribers are hindered by their purchasing power. We decided to meet the consumers’ aspiration by creating yet another bouquet to further lower the entry barrier without taking away the value-added advantage that DStv is synonymous with,” Hundah said.

On the adjustment in its fees, Hundah said new subscription fees for DStv compact and premium, from September 1, 2009, take effect, even as DStv family remains at N2,500 monthly.

Explaining further, he said, the prevailing operating environment in country with attendant rising cost of providing service necessitated the adjustment in subscription fees.

“In the last four years, we have had to contend with the impact of fluctuation in the exchange rate, double digit inflation and rising cost of overheads. Within the same period, we have increased the number of channels on our bouquets by at least 10 without an accompanying increase in subscription fees. We have also discounted the cost of hardware considerably to meet the needs of many new subscribers,” he said.

Hundah also said with the impending launch of its High Definition Personal Video Recorder (PVR) decoder and system upgrade in the last quarter of the year, hundreds of thousands of Nigerians, will begin to enjoy high quality, entertainment as well as educative programmes.

“We are also looking at ways of reducing the cost of these programmes. The benefits of these measures we are taking will always be passed on to our subscribers,” he said.


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Swiss university unveils Transknowlogy in Nigeria

Vienna-based Swiss Management Center (SMC) University has announced its presence in Nigeria with the opening of its offering for top professionals and knowledge seeking executives in the country for obtaining a world class Masters and PhD certification online through the unveiling of Transknowlogy learning methodology.

Reputed for distance learning institutions, SMC Swiss University, which also have office in Zurich, said it has deployed state-of-the-art academic technology to bring the highest level quality education to its executive students around the world.

ITRealms Online recalls that in the first quarter of 2009, SMC University introduced Transknowlogy, an innovative approach to knowledge transfer.

According to the Academic Director, SMC University, Dr. Guenther Singer, Transknowlogy is a unique learning process, which motivates students to push their limits and to continually measure themselves against other students and their respective cultural backgrounds, despite virtualization.

“Transknowlogy is revolutionary insofar, as it offers students the opportunity to directly and practically deploy the knowledge gained, frequently resulting in sustainable business models and successful multi-million dollar projects,” he declared.

He pointed out that in the world of virtual learning, Transknowlogy compares to what is called Web 2.0 in the online communication community.

He explained that this new approach not only covers the interaction between professors and students, but also the relations between students and between students and administrators. “Transknowlogy empowers students from around the world to acquire knowledge, to develop and to measure themselves against other students and, most importantly, on the market,” he said.

Stressing that due to Transknowlogy, students from a wide range of different countries experience knowledge transfer in a global business context, meaning that they directly and practically deploy the knowledge gained in the course of their degree programmes.

As said by him, SMC University considers it natural for a learning institution with online students from all parts of the world to connect people, cultures and organizations. “Transknowlogy goes a decisive step further: just as new types of aircraft do not receive their certificate of airworthiness on the ground but only when compliance with airworthiness standards has been proved, SMC University students also have to demonstrate their practical abilities,” Dr. Singer said.

Further, the director enlightened that a group of students, including among others, the current Global Vice President of a well-known Italian sports car manufacturer and an experienced CFO, was challenged with the project task of designing and launching “The Ultimate Toy for a Boy”.

The group, he said, developed a 111-foot yacht which they called “One-One-One”, an original brand name referring to the vessel’s length.

SMC University, he pointed out that the programme required the students to not just prepare simple draft of a business idea or a business plan, but a complete conceptualization.

“And they did just that; the result was so impressive, that a company – Summit Marine – was established with the help of the SMC University network. The first One-One-One, worth ten million dollars, will go into production this year,” he asserted.

SMC was founded in 1985, but in 2002, the institution evolved into a university specializing in high-quality distance learning master and doctorate programmes for professionals in executive positions.


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Internet Society gets new BoT

The Internet Society has announced the election of new Board of Trustees (BoT), comprised of leaders from industry, academia, and the global Internet community.

Just as the Executive Director, Internet Address Registry for Latin America and the Caribbean (LACNIC), Raúl Echeberría, continued as a board member and was selected as the new chair of the Board.

The diverse and distinguished board membership reflects the Internet Society’s mission of providing global leadership in promoting the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world.

Mr. Greg Wood of Internet Society informed in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online that the new members of the board with terms beginning this year are include the Chief Technology Officer at Neustar, Mr. Eric Burger, Founder of the Arab World Internet Institute, Mr. Khaled Koubaa, Internet Architectures Group of Cisco Systems represented by Mr. Philip Smith, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and co-founder Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Mr. Jonathan Zittrain,

In his acceptance speech, Echeberria, said he looks forward to working with the worldwide Internet Society community of members and chapters, as well as colleagues on the board, to continue the important work of the ISOC in promoting access to, and supporting the continued growth of, the Internet while preserving its core values.

During its first meeting, the Board formally thanked outgoing chair Daniel Karrenberg for his service over the past three years.

Meanwhile other members of the board, are Hiroshi Esaki, Professor, The University of Tokyo,Ted Hardie, Director, Internet and Wireless, for Qualcomm’s Research and Development group, Daniel Karrenberg, Co-founder and Chief Scientist of RIPE NCC, Désirée Miloshevic, International Affairs and Policy Development Advisor at Afilias Global Registry Services, Alejandro Pisanty, Professor, the National University of Mexico, Patrick Vande Walle, Official of the European Commission and Bert Wijnen, Research Engineer at RIPE NCC.


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Abdus-salam advises on mobile phone usage

Consultant Radiation Oncologist at the Department of Radiotherapy, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Dr. Abbas Adesina Abdus-salam has advised Nigerians on how to optimize the use their mobile phones in the country.

Speaking at a forum in Lagos, last week, on “Health risks from mobile phones radiation” there are some few peculiarities about Nigerian situation that may warrant extra studies concerning the subject matter, hence there is need to adhere to some safety rules.

According to him, communication consumers in the country should use their mobile phones as sparingly as possible.

“Long calls should be reserved for landlines, while children’s use of mobile phones should be highly restricted and regulated,” he said.

In addition, Dr. Abdus-salam, said that mobile phones should not be used unnecessarily while driving.

“Use hands free whenever possible,” he advised.

Dr. Abdus-salam stressed that most Nigerians have no access to wired lines, thus giving rise to the use of mobile phones, culminating in ordinary calls that suppose to be made via landline is done through mobile phones.

“Most phone calls are made via mobile phones,” he said, warning that this may increase the overall exposure to mobile phone radiation to average Nigerian phone users compared to their counterparts in developed world.

“Because of poor services many Nigerians regularly carry on their persons several handsets. This may also create an additional source of extra and increased exposure,” he lamented, warning that Nigeria could be a dumping ground for used phones from elsewhere.

“These phones may not be functioning properly and may exceed regulatory limits like increased Specific Absorption Ratio (SAR).

Pointing out that Nigeria has become a major market for phones (usually dual Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) from grey markets in China with potentially poor regulatory compliance.

He noted that all available data have shown that over the last two decades mobile phones have moved into mainstream, even as no conclusive proof has been shown that it could lead to cancer.

However, he said, carcinogenesis is a long term process that may not become fully evolved for decades.

“It may, therefore, be too early to rejoice and finally lay to rest this controversy,” he said.

Calling for more stringent guidelines on the regulation of mobile phones, noting that so much is yet to learn to be able to fully rest assured about safety of mobile phone radiation.

He emphasized that the lack of consistency in regulatory guidelines for mobile phone handsets and base stations globally is a serious pointer to the confusion about the safety or lack of it of mobile phone radiations.


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Ndukwe bags double prize @ telecom awards

Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe has bagged double prize at the 5th edition of the Nigerian Telecom Awards, for his contributions to the revolution witnessed in the industry over the past eight years and exemplary performance as a public office holder.

While the Gold Award for Telecom Revolution was presented to Ndukwe by the former President Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone, the award for the Outstanding Public Office Holder, was presented by chairman, board of NCC, Alhaji Ahmed Joda at the occasion.

Speaking before the presentation, Alhaji Kabbah commended Ndukwe for the successes achieved by Nigeria in the area of telecom due to the institution of telecom regulation and the doggedness of the NCC boss.

He noted that during his regime in Sierra Leone, his country was able to set up a telecom regulatory body that contributed to the sanitization of the industry and made the environment a win- win sector in the country.

He also applauded the efforts of the organizers of the awards, the Nigerian Telecom News, led by its publisher, Otunba Biodun Ajiboye.

The awards, he noted, seeks to identify and celebrate excellence and breakthroughs in the telecom sphere on the continent, which has succeeded in Nigeria and has become a truly continental event.

At the occasion, held at the Oriental Hotel, Lekki-Lagos, and witnessed by prominent Nigerians , including the Esama of Benin, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, former Information Minister, Chief Alex Akinyele, former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba among others, the Governor of Lagos State, Chief Babatunde Fashola, SAN, was named the Exemplary Governor of the Year.

Equally, a number of individuals and corporate bodies, including banks, were honoured for their outstanding contributions to the development and continuous growth of the telecom sector.


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Glo, Shell partner on poverty alleviation

Globacom, the second national operator and multinational oil exploration company, Shell, have signed an agreement to take poverty alleviation and youth engagement in the Niger Delta Region to an unprecedented height.

ITRealms Online recalls that the two companies have for five years been working together to productively engage Niger Delta youths in telecommunications services business.

The signing of the new agreement on Telecoms Self-Employment Programme (TELSEP EXTRA) in Port Harcourt recently would engage more Niger Delta youths in economic activities that will enable them run two profitable businesses under one roof.

It is also envisaged that the renewed partnership will help in “creating sustainable youth owned and managed businesses thereby reducing rural-urban migration and youth restiveness”.

Shell officials disclosed, last weekend that the deal would assist in maximizing the over 75 base station erected under a special arrangement with Globacom in Shell’s operational areas in the Niger Delta.

At the same time, the youths would also be trained and monitored to engage in telecommunications services alongside any other productive economic activity which could be combined under the same roof.

Additionally, Shell stated that following the lessons learnt in the past five years and the recent SPC-Globacom partnership for the roll-out of 75 GSM base stations across the Niger Delta, “the 2009 programme aims to scale up the programme by taking advantage of the new mast sites to enhance livelihoods of community members through telecoms and other small businesses.”

It is expect that thousands of youths in the Niger Delta have over the years benefited from this partnership and both Shell and Globacom said they are committed to taking it to a higher level.


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Omenugha warns on negative use of SMS

Head, Department of Mass Communication, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Dr. (Mrs) Kate Azuka Omenugha, has warned on the negative use of Short Message Service (SMS).

She also said that the usage of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), especially mobile phones’ value added service, otherwise known as Short Messaging Service (SMS) may erode the effort at inculcating into Nigerian students the right English spelling of words.

She sounded this note of warning at the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) Accra-09, which took place at the Centre for Africa Wetlands auditorium, University of Accra, Legon-Ghana on Wednesday, while dwelling on the paper: Nigerian students’ use of information and communication technology – A blessing or a curse?.

Although she applauded the easy acceptance of the benefits of ICT’s value added service, especially the utilization of SMS on mobile phones, stressing that to a large extent, mobile phones have escalated the absolute disregard during written class work, more so for spellings.

“The use of abbreviations creating an impression of a ‘generation in a hurry,’ with the attendant distracting looks of the students,” she said.

Dr. Omenugha also said that notorious sounds of mobile phones either ringing or playing music have not been helpful during class engagement.

“This is quite distracting in the class and over the years we have set punitive measures to erring students,” she asserted, noting that some lecturers have complained of students calling them as late as 1am in order to take advantage of the ‘free air time’ offered by some of the popular telecommunications networks in Nigeria.

She noted that another lecturer had to contend with some explanation to convince his wife one the relationship existing between him and a female student who had the courage to call him at the ‘unholy’ hour because of free air time.

Omenugha equally decried the attitude of some students who choose to play computer games in the class or listen to music using their ear piece while lectures are going on, just as she disclosed that some students record answers in their phones and play back using the ear piece, both cleverly concealed.

In addition, Dr. Omenugha condemned the spread of students downloading information from the internet such as dictionary among others and using same in class work without being authorized.

“Some students given home works would simply download materials from the Net and submit the same to the lecturer. They do not care about plagiarism; neither do they bother with the synthesis of any read work,” she lamented.

She cautioned Nigerian students of the negative use of ICT, adding that this was not to say that they do not make positive use of ICT tools, emphasizing that examining some of the students’ answer scripts has showed that they seem very immersed in the ‘language’ of emails and text messaging which is reflected in their scripts.

Underscoring the fact that SMS or text messaging has become deeply rooted in Nigeria, with particular reference to students in higher institutions, Dr. Omenugha, said that most students have resorted to using abbreviation in written examinations.

Some of the abbreviations used by students could be seen as “Comm = communicate, Nig = Nigeria, pple = people, d = the; luv = love, tech = technology, info = information, comp = computer, & = and.”


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Nokia’s Ovi e-mail records 1m hit

Ovi mail, a subtle service from Nokia has hit 1 million mark within six months of its launch, according to the head, Consumer Messaging at Nokia, Mr. Tom Furlong.

He said, Ovi Mail has established itself as the electronic mail (e-mail) account for the developing world.

Specifically designed for on device set-up, he said, people could get their first email address and create and manage their accounts without any Personal Computer (PC) needed.

“More than just reaching a company milestone, this proves to us that there is a real appetite in the developing world for these types of tailored services,” Furlong said, noting that for the first-time email users, Ovi Mail provides a digital identity and thrill by its rapidly rising adoption rate.

The inspiration for Ovi Mail, he said, came from the growing number of people, mostly in developing countries, without access to a PC.

“The top five countries for Ovi Mail subscribers are India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and South Africa,” he said, stressing that since its inception in December 2008, Ovi Mail is available in more than 180 countries and supports 20 languages.

Ovi Mail is free to set-up straight out of the box and comes with spam filters to block unwanted emails.

“It is also accessible from a broad range of Nokia devices with the Nokia 2330 classic, Nokia 2630 and Nokia 5310 XpressMusic being some of the most popular devices used,” he said.

Furlong explained that to access Ovi Mail, simply go to the email setup wizard on Nokia NSeries 40 device including Nokia S60, N97, E63, E75, E66, E71 and E90.

Nokia is a pioneer in mobile telecommunications and the world’s leading maker of mobile devices.


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Svanberg assures on bank’s assistance for Sony Ericsson

The out-going chief executive officer at Ericsson, Mr. Carl-Henric Svanberg has assured that the Swedish vendor’s commitment to Sony Ericsson, its mobile handset deal with Sony would get support from banks.

Reuters reports that its loss-making handset joint venture with Japan’s Sony would receive support through an arrangement by Ericsson.

As said by the report, Ericsson has expressed its willingliness to arrange bank financing to support the venture rather than it rely on contributions from parent companies.

“The first thing you do as a company is not to run to your shareholders and ask for more money. The first thing you do is try to arrange normal financing,” Svanberg said, stressing that lending conditions have improved from six months ago.

He also said that Ericsson remained committed to providing financing for the JV if necessary and would not “leave them in the cold if they end up in that situation.”

Sony Ericsson’s share of the global handset market has sunk to around 5 per cent in recent times, but Svanberg said the unit remained an important part of Ericsson’s overall mobile strategy.

He declined to forecast when the loss-making unit would return to profitability, saying that there was no timeframe in place for when the unit would move back.

In another media chat, Svanberg said that mobile operators appear to have stopped cutting spending on network equipment, suggesting a recovery in the market was imminent.

“The whole world is suffering from decline that is bigger than anything we’ve seen... [but] it is not our impression that there is further cutting being made,” he said.

Svanberg will leave Ericsson to become chairman of UK energy giant BP in January.


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Haruna reiterates support for Omatek Ghana

The Ghanaian Minister of Communications, Hon. Iddrisu Haruna, has reiterated his commitment for continuous support of Omatek Computers Ghana Limited, to foster Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development in the country.

Giving this assurance recently during a tour of the company’s factory facilities in Accra Haruna said the support would come by creating enabling business environment and policies to encourage and aid the growth of information technology (IT) in the country.

He also applauded Omatek for its investment initiative in the country, noting that the move could lead to the establishment of allied industries that would further promote employment for the youths in the society and prosperity for Ghana through taxes.

Equally, the Minister eulogized the new chairman, board of directors, Omatek Computers Ghana Limited, Ms. Joyce Ayree, on her inauguration which coincided with his visit to the factory.

He described Ms Ayree as an achiever who will add value to the company as the new chairman.

Welcoming the Hon. Minister to the factory, Mrs Ayree said her inauguration was in line with Omatek’s resolution to continue to offer innovative products and solutions that will add value to the customers.

She also said the tour of the factory will enable the Minister to take informed decisions especially in the area of government policies and granting incentives, having been taken through the production processes in the factory.

She, however, restated the need for government to consider putting into policy the application of zero per cent duty on Completely Knocked Down (CKD) components for Omatek Computers, to encourage local production.

“Granting a special concession on the importation of Completely Knocked Down Computer components with zero percent duty will help us to continue to maintain quality production by meeting up with the MOQ required by the high class manufacturers, thus bringing down the cost of computers. This is the only way to compete with the Foreign Brands, especially since we purchase our parts from the same high class manufacturers,” she said.


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Monday, August 17, 2009

Ghana’s Vice President tasks African communicators on MDGs

The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, has tasked African communication educators to stress the value inherent in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for the growth of the continent.

He also lamented the fact that Africa has continued to suffer for lack of information despite the progress made in the political development on the continent.

Mr. Mahama gave these charges in his address at the opening of a three-day meeting of the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) 2009, last week, at the Centre for African Wetlands, University of Ghana, Legon, on the theme: “Communication Education and Practice in Africa – A Social Contract for the 21st Century?”

He also said that participants should spare a thought for Africa’s MDGs and the role that communication could and should play in helping the continent to realize them by 2015.

“For Africa, they (MDGs) constitute a major component of the social contract between governments and the people they serve,” he asserted.

According to him, the development challenges facing African governments are still
quite tremendous, although strides have been made in literacy but illiteracy rates are still very high in many parts of the continent.

Although the growth of media on the continent have improved, he said, there are nevertheless various access restriction that is dragging Africa backward.

“Even though we laud the proliferation of the media more than 60 per cent of Africans live in rural areas with restricted access to most forms of media mainly because of transportation and electricity challenges,” he said.

Mr. Mahama pointed out that continental expert groups like ACCE has a role to play in ameliorating these conditions, noting that in the past, Africa has provided advisory services and consultations to governments, institutions and organizations in the formulation of national communication policies and communication strategies.

“In the coming years as you regroup and revitalize your organization, I hope you will again provide these valuable services,” he charged.

The vice president emphasized that currently, Ghana has over 60 newspapers with over 150 Frequency Modulated (FM) radio stations and more than 10 local television channels.

“… Thanks to a new version of the social contract which emphasized liberalization of the airwaves, the right to information and to free speech,” he said and later declared the event open.

Speaking at the occasion, the Vice Chancellor, University of Ghana, Prof. Nii Boi Tagoe, described the conference and its theme as timely which suggest that communication, as a discipline and as a human activity as well as a tool is an inspirable component of all developmental discourse.

“Indeed, communication issues transcend time and space,” he said, stressing that at this digital age, characterized by incredible achievements in science and technology, which have improved the quality of various aspects of human life.

“The gains of advancement in information and communication technology (ICT) are immeasurable, and have made the world what is now known as a global place, a global market or more popularly a global village,” Prof. Tagoe enthused.

The aforementioned, he said, are some of the products and services, which could be put online for sale, but where identities of the world’s peoples are in perpetual contention.

Also speaking, chairman of the occasion and Executive Director, Ghana Chamber of Mines, Ms Joyce Aryee, described the theme as a very apt key to communications growth in Africa.

Africans, Aryee noted, are known for communication or interactive, hence she charged participants to harness this further to get the African citizens to feel empowered and hold government accountable through good governance.

She looks forward to a day when the clerics of all religion would sit at the feet of communication educators to learn how to interact effectively for the unity and peace on the continent.

Welcoming participants to the conference earlier, the Acting Director, School of Communication Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, Dr. Audrey Gadzekpo, said the meeting was a rebirth for Africa and African communications educators as a means of moving forward at this century.


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