" ITREALMS: July 2005

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Glo Mobile boosts subscribers’ access days

In readiness to sustain its subscribers, the Second National Operator (SNO) Globacom has announced an upward review of the validity days of its recharge cards.

This Globacom said was a new move to enhance subscribers’ access to its network.

The validity increase which cuts across all recharge card denominations was implemented with effect from July 28, 2005.

Officials of Glo Mobile said, weekend that N500 recharge cards which hitherto attracted five days access gives the subscriber now 20 days validity, even as the validity period for the N1,000 recharge cards have been increased from 10 to 45 days.

Similarly, the N2,000 recharge cards now offer 90 days validity each instead of the previous 20 days access.

Globacom also said the N3,000 and N5,000 denominations of its recharge cards would at present give subscribers 120 days access to Glo network rather than 30 days and 50 days access days respective, which prevailed before the review.

The company also announced that the maximum validity that a Glo Mobile Classic subscriber could accumulate, based on his recharge, has been increased from 90 days to 365 days.

Globacom, said, the increase in validity periods enable the subscriber to have more uninterrupted access to loved ones, friends and business associates.

Group Director of Marketing and Strategy at Globacom, Mr. Subhra Das, said this validity increase coupled with the current promotions – Zero Naira Classic SIM, ‘Everyone is an instant winner' and 'Glo 2nd Anniversary Double slam' - make Glo Mobile’s packages the most attractive in the industry.

He stressed that in the “Everyone is an instant winner” promo, subscribers of Glo Classic, Glo Premium and Profit Max are given 15 per cent discount on every recharge card loaded.

The 15 per cent extra airtime effectively reduces call charges by 15 per cent thereby making call costs more affordable to subscribers.

The bonus translates to a credit of N575 for N500 recharge card, N1150 for recharge of N1000, N2300 for recharge of N2000 and N3450 for N3000 recharge and N5750 for N5,000 recharge card, he explained.

On the other hand, the “Glo 2nd Anniversary Double Slam” which is termed the mother of all promotions offers Glo Mobile subscribers the chance to win 42 prizes including six tastefully furnished town homes, six Mercedes Benz E240, six Kia Sorento jeeps, six VW Polo, six Honda City and 12 Kia Picanto cars in an anniversary draw to be held on August 25.

Remarkably, this offer has also been designed to benefit customers from all over the country in line with Globacom’s vision of being a pan-Nigeria company. While the South West, with the largest number of subscribers on the Glo network, gets two houses and 12 cars, all other regions namely, the South East, the South-South, the North Central, and the North will get a house and six cars each.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

M-Tel, MTN must talk to each other – NCC

NIGERIAN Communications Commission (NCC) has directed that two Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operators; MTN Nigeria and M-Tel who are currently having interconnection problems must speak to each other before the end of next month, August.

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, gave this directive at the monthly Telecom Consumer Parliament held at Ogba-Ikeja in Lagos State.

He said that NCC has observed from the avalanche of complaints presented at the 22nd edition of the parliament that the two operators were not making life easy for their subscribers, who ordinarily would like to talk to themselves.

“MTel must talk to MTN, and MTN must talk to MTel,” he declared, stressing that failure for them to resolve their differences, if any, before the next edition of the parliament, the regulator may be forced to wield the big stick.

“Otherwise, NCC would intervene,” he asserted.

Dr. Ndukwe was not also comfortable with complaints of credit disappearances, saying that NCC would, along with the operators in the country, look into the cause and how to stop it forthwith.

He further cleared the air on the concept of Vmobile customers also using the firm’s website to reach the operator, which was endorsed by the parliament previously, even as he made it clear that it does not take the place of customer service lines.

Emphasising that it is not every subscriber that has access to the Internet which would avail them the opportunity to make contacts via the internet.

Cautioning that free Short Messaging Service (SMS) should be ensured to be free, decrying the lots of complaints generated on that issue and misconception thereof by subscribers on means of managing it.

NCC further lauded MTN for being consistent at the parliament sessions, even as it should look into call drops while the credit warning time should be reduced drastically so as not to interrupt calls for a long time.

Earlier, Dr. Ndukwe has said NCC has embarked on a national survey particularly on GSM networks, which is expected to be published soon.

The June edition of the parliament which held in Onitsha-Anambra State, he reported, was well attended.

This, he said, was part of the resolve by NCC to ensure that the parliament has a national spread, hence, it is rotated.

ICT, key to e-payment solution

Participants at the recent two-day forum on Smartcard and e-payment in Lagos, observed ICT infrastructure as key to propelling electronic payment (e-payment) in the country, reports REMMY NWEKE.

RISING from a two-day fifth edition of Smartcard exhibition and Electronic Payment (e-payment) forum 2005, recently in Lagos, participants made one point that must not be forgotten in a hurry.

The point being the consensus that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is the key to the nation’s long-standing quest for global relevance, especially in this e-payment era through deployment of smartcards.

Electronic payment involves the deployment of ICT tools in the transaction system, but this dream seems to be obstructed by a lot of inadequacies including lack of infrastructure, awareness and usage, respectively.

Welcoming participants to the events, with the theme “Discover the World of payment,” chairman of Intermarc Consulting Limited, organisers of the event, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, said that this year’s programme was built around the consumer. She also said that a lot of changes have taken place in the banking industry as a result of automation.

“The advent of e-Banking and increase in capitalization entails that banking business is now becoming less manual and more electronic,” she said, decrying the situation where about 70 per cent of transactions today in the country are cash-based.

According to her, the essence of the forum was to change this trend through the use of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and smart wallets. She was of hope that by using the card technology, a strategy to bring forth the informal sector into the mainstream economy, a mission the government has been finding difficult to achieve.

Stressing that the use of cards would enhance business operations in the West African sub-region when common currency issues have been sorted out

In his opening speech, Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Turner Isoun, represented by the Director, Research and Development (R&D) at the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Emeka Ezekwesili, pointed out that ICT revolution presently has gone beyond the industrial revolution in impact and speed as it affects the digital global economy, hence, the theme is apt at this time.

He however, noted that security questions in online payment systems are instrument to the realization of this revolution, therefore, it is necessary to facilitate the law on cyber security that seeks to create a favourable legal and other environments for a successful e-payment systems.

The minister also stated that the e-payment system through cards is transparent, a trend that leads to a cash-less society with an added advantage of deterring armed robbers. He encouraged Nigerians to follow the global trend, by imbibing the culture of electronic payment.

The Director, Banking Operations, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. (Mrs) Sarah Alade, who was represented by Mr. Chris Odiaka, in a keynote address, said the forum is timely as it seeks to enhance financial intermediation through migrating the economy from cash-based to card payment system.

She enjoined the fora to recognize the critical mass as the hallmark of the success of the system and encourage the citizens to move fast towards imbibing the system in their hearts. Just as she noted the some challenges in the area of implementation of the card system to include low income base of Nigerians, infrastructure shortages, which she hopes a Public-Private Partnership could address.

Additionally, the CBN Director, noted what the apex bank has been doing in terms of helping to develop firm infrastructure so as to reduce systematic risk in the industry through the N25bn capitalization directive.

Emphasizing that the new challenges which the use of card may introduce into the monetary policy in the measurement of money supply needed to be identified and addressed.

Managing Director, Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System Plc, Mr. Paul Lawal, also in his keynote, raised an alarm that over N500 billion in circulation in the country are outside the banking system. This, he said, equals to more than 20 per cent of the total monetary liabilities of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that are in currency outside the system.

“Electronic payment is the order of the day in all industrialized economies. Nigeria, and indeed all emerging economies, must deploy all appropriate resources to develop their respective payment systems,” he asserted.

Mr. Lawal also examined the state of the nation’s payment system, and said that the N500b represents about 90 per cent of the money supplied into the system as at the first quarter of this year.

Champion Infotel recalls that the country’s COB hovered between N300 billion and N400 billion.

He pointed out that this figure amounts to 20 per cent of the total monetary liabilities of CBN, against 4 per cent in the United Kingdom and 9 per cent in the United States. Stressing that the nation’s payment system is generally characterized by high cash payments volume and high resistance to new initiatives, resulting “in adequate data for planning”. This in effect causes the missing of economic development opportunities, even as low depth of financial intermediation also pervades the banking industry and the nation as a whole.

He said that this amounted to critical reduction in the efficiency of monetary policy, coupled with rife in corruption, which have contributed to the decay of the nation’s payment system. Thus the cost of banking business is high, “so much investment in cash handling machines, insurance, cash storage among others,” standing as obstacle to the growth of the system too.

According to him, duplication of payment structures and lack of infrastructure were not helpful at all and add to high under-utilization of installed capacity. But then, there are potentials of an efficient payment system in the country, that is, until customers embrace electronic payment solution fully.

This, he said, would bring about drastic reduction in the amount of currency outside the banking system as more funds would be available for banks to support credit demands.

He further said that the nation has potentials to earn foreign exchange due to export of new payment process, personnel and technology. Mr. Lawal also lauded the recent payment solution initiatives in the country, including the implementation of the Nigeria Automated Clearing System (NACS), which he said, reduces the clearing days for local cheques, just as the introduction of Electronic Funds Transfer by NIBSS has been very helpful.

Pointing out that the establishment of electronic payment schemes such as Valucard, Smartpay, eTranzact, Interswitch, Mastercard, GloMobile among others into the system, as well as the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) network have been on the increase and is very encouraging for the system growth.

Addressing the occasion on ‘Payment and the Macro-economy’ the Managing Director, Intercontinental Bank Plc, Mr. Erastus Akingbola, represented by Mr. Adeyinka Adebiyi, noted that the Nigerian economy is mono product-based while consumption is import dependent, and payments made mainly by cash.

ePayment system, he said, affords simplicity and capable of using the same card for a number of transaction, consequently cost-effective, even as it would lead to employment. However, to encourage customer buy-in the current absence of reliable price information that mars market transparency should be put to a stop, whereas, interconnectivity problems expected to affect capacity utilization of installed card payment systems, and security issues must be addressed.

“Lack of credit cards in Nigeria is due to absence of credit bureau
and poor identification system for customers,” he said, outlining tools for economic growth using cards to include effective consumer awareness campaign, government creation of enabling policies to encourage use of cards, introducing discount/incentives to win competition, making use of GSM for e-payment to enhance reach and the legal system be overhauling.

Other speakers included the Managing Director of Nextzon Ltd, Mr. Mac Atasie, Mr. Deon LaGrange of ACI Worldwide, Mr. Noble E. Ekajeh of ATM Consortium Limited, and Dr. Olu Agunloye, chief executive, National eGovernment Strategies Limited (NeGSt).

Conversely, a communiqué issued at the fifth edition of the events warned that the nation’s quest would be in vain if proper recognition is not accorded ICT in the scheme of things, more so as the most populous and most endowed black nation in the world.

The communiqué endorsed by Managing Director of Intermarc Consulting, Mr. Yinka Adeyemi, also stated that electronic payment (e-payment) system is a missing link in the effort to achieve an ICT-driven economy and a vibrant e-commerce nationwide and in the West African sub-region.

He pointed out that e-payment system, being transparent and open to audit trail, could be an important antidote to corruption and robbery since it is also a vehicle for a cashless economy.

“The efficiency and sophistication of any payment system has a direct correlation to the level of economic advancement in the country, and banks have a central role to play in the evolution of any payment system, including e-payment, by providing a viable foundation upon which the system is built,” the communiqué read in part.

Expressing dismay over most transactions and payments in the country were still cash-based, regardless of the efforts to usher in e-government and credit culture, the conference noted that the citizenry could be encouraged to adopt this new systems, such as in using smart cards through incentive packages and policies.

He stressed that security issues abound in e-payment systems, and decried the absence of appropriate laws in the nation’s e-commerce environment and the non-enforcement of even the existing, relevant anti-breach provisions in the statutes.

Mr. Adeyemi further stated that the myriad of challenges such as poor infrastructure and e-culture, interconnectivity problems, absence of a unified and uniform citizen’s identification process and absence of enabling policies, all of which inhibit the entrenchment of e-payment culture.

Participants however, commended the federal government for the recent efforts on proposing legislation, which is expected to aid electronic transactions and criminalise unwholesome online and electronic activities.

This realization is gladdening in that the background of the forum is from the financial and banking sector, it goes to add that the other part of the economy, would make the sector to reposition as inclined to the core ICT issues such as in proffering financial facilities that would be amiable to the likes of software developers and hardware section of the community.

NextDaySite boss lauds MoI portal

CHIEF executive, NextDaySite.com, Mr. Oliver Okafor, has lauded the recent launch of portal by the Ministry of Information (MoI) in Abuja.

A portal is online home site for Web browser and provides links to information and other Web sites, according to MSN Encarta.

Mr. Okafor who made his views known in Lagos, said the launch was in line with modern business modules, especially at the government circle.

He noted that it would afford Nigerian businesses the chance to align itself with the rest of the world through provision of adequate information on the country among others.

Mr. Okafor also lamented that less than five per cent of the nation’s businesses have functional websites.

“Nigerians must step up their game or risk extinction. The internet is a powerful engine that continues to bridge the physical and economic gap between us and the developed nations,” he said.

Internet, he pointed out, has empowered people in ordinary parts of the world to realize extraordinary financial wealth by taking their products and services to the world market.

Stressing that now is the time for the populace to think globally.
“Technology has made it possible for every individual to be an entrepreneur. I believe the time has come when an English teacher in Abuja can easily market her technical writing services, showcase her writing samples, and inform prospective clients on her labour rates on her website that will be viewed by the thousands of companies worldwide that control their overhead by outsourcing specialized tasks,” Mr. Okafor asserted.

To this end, he disclosed that NextDaySite is planning to introduce its full range of web enabled products and online solutions including eCommerce solutions, content management systems, database applications and Business to Business (B2B) communications architecture services.

Negotiations, he said, have already advanced for the firm’s proposed partnership with Fluent US to commence a new range of Learning Management Systems to encourage e-Learning for individuals and organizations alike.

Other core services of NextDaySite, he said, cut across the Internet, creative design, application development, e-learning and new media technologies.

TechnoWorld opens in Lagos

Multi-million dollar Korean technology company, LG Electronics (LGE) Nigeria Limited, has formally opened its ultra-modern TechnoWorld in Lagos, where it plans to share its Information Technology (IT) experience with consumers based on its dream to contribute to the technological growth of the country.

President, LG Electronics West Africa Operations, Mr. Tae Hun Ryu, while declaring the facility open said it is yet another landmark achievement for his company and the nation.

He reiterated LG Electronics’ commitment to the country, saying that the new facility is designed with a class- room that seats 25 people at a time.

The TechnoWorld, he said, is the second LG Electronics showroom to be opened in the country after the commissioning of the first Digital Center in May last year.

He explained that unlike the Digital Center, the TechnoWorld is the company’s expression of commitment to Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

Ryu described the TechnoWorld as a point of Information Technology transfer to the country, stressing that everything in the place is IT-driven with a focus on telecommunication and technology.

The training programme according to him, is IT skills acquisition and development for young Nigerians, even as the centre is fully air conditioned with 25 laptops attached to each desk of prospective students.

He pointed out that LG Electronics investment in the country has been very deliberate in the last couple of years from sports where it helped talent discovery through sponsorship of grassroots competition to international games such as the 2003 and 2004 LG four-nation cup.

LG Electronics has consistently displayed its leadership position in the country with the establishment of various consumer care programme such that the free product repair and warranty programmes.

The firm’s long-term goal for the IT market, he said, is to make every Nigerian information technology compliant by making LG’s products available while at this same time training the consumers.

Ndukwe lauds Globacom for honouring African ministers

Second National Operator, Globacom has received commendations from the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Earnest Ndukwe, for hosting African Information and Communications Technology (ICT) ministers to a bash, recently in Abuja.

He described the display of honour as deep commitment to the cause of telecommunications development not only in the country but on the continent.

Champion Infotel recalls that African ICT ministers were in the nation’s capital for a one-week pan-African Regional Preparatory meeting of the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) held in the Federal Capital Territory recently.

The meeting was a prelude to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) conference coming up in Qatar in February 2006.
Globacom sponsored a Gala Dinner for delegates on the last day of the event, at the Sheraton Hotel and towers.

Present at the dinner were communications ministers and government representatives from over twenty African countries.

Speaking on that, Dr. Ndukwe expressed thank to Globacom for its act which brought forth warm praises for the company from the audience.

Globacom, it would also be recalled, has in over one year of operations, given overt support to public events and social projects aimed at promoting leisure, making life better for Nigerians and improving the image of the nation.

Siemens shines in Beijing with Surpass

Siemens Communications has announced its new catch with the winning of the contract to install and deliver its Next Generation (NextG) networks solution, Surpass to the Beijing Telecom.

The solution will provide Beijing Telecom, with what the company is a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) in Beijing market.

With versatile access methods, such as Ethernet, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) and Wide Local Area Network (WLAN), Beijing Telecom, could now offer its customers a number of value-added services such as voice/data convergence and multimedia applications.

President of Fixed Networks at Siemens Communications, Mr. Christian Unterberger, said the networking equipment from Siemens allows Beijing Telecom to offer differentiated value-added services, such as Internet Protocol (IP) cafe, video, freephone and prepaid services, paving way for it to gain more momentum in the highly contested Chinese telecommunications market.

He said due to the carrier-grade stability and powerful processing capability of the Surpass NGN solution, Beijing Telecom could fully address data and service stream pass-through session border control between public and private networks and enterprise intranets of its key customer, the China education network (CERNET).

The contract involves the Surpass hiE 9200 core softswitch as a media gateway controller, the Surpass hiG media gateways and terminals.

“At Siemens, we are committed to contributing to the success of our customers – and that of their customers – by offering best-in breed solutions tailored to their specific needs. That is the central factor that differentiates us from the competition,” Mr. Unterberger,

Champion Infotel recalls Siemens has been working with Beijing Telecom in the NGN arena for over two years.

On the strength of continuous marketing activities, including the trial projects in Chongqiang and Hangzhou, the Siemens Surpass NGN solution is now widely recognized and has been adopted by several carriers in the Chinese telecommunications market.

The contract is seen as a milestone for Siemens Surpass in the Chinese NGN market.

Side-by-side cooling technology

A new cooling technology system was recently unveiled in the country, REMMY NWEKE examines the genesis.

MADAM Maureen Ose, is a resident in one of the nation’s cities. She had just finished cooking food for the family, after a heated argument with the husband on how best to preserve their food; cooked or fresh, especially the boiled ones, for some hours and days without it getting bad.

This was basically because the cost of cooking everyday is continuously going up. So it was agreed that a good refrigerator was needed in the house. Suddenly, she remembers seeing an advertisement on what was described as a three door side-by-side cooling system recently.

A refrigerator often referred to as fridge or freezer, ordinarily is an electrical appliance that uses cooling method to prolong the freshness of food, according to Wikipedia encyclopedia online. It went on to state that there are majorly two kinds of refrigerators; namely domestic and industrial.

A domestic refrigerator is reportedly present in about 99.5 per cent of the households in America, it works by way of using phase change heat pumps to operate a refrigeration cycle, while the industrial refrigerator or freezer is used in an industrial setting such as a restaurant or supermarket with the same characteristics.

Nowadays, refrigerators consist of either a cooling compartment only, also known as larder refrigerator or a freezing compartment only, otherwise known as purely a freezer or both.

This came as a result of dual compartment introduced commercially by the General Electronic in 1939, which also metamorphosed into some refrigerators being divided up to four zones for the storage of different types of food; namely at the temperature of -180 Centigrade Celsius (C) or 00 degree Fahrenheit (F) for freezers, 00C or 320F for meats, 40C or 400F for refrigerators and 100C or 500F for vegetables and for the storage of different types of food among others.

Fahrenheit is a scale of temperature in which, for instance, water freezes at 320 centigrades and boils at 2120 centigrades, whereas Celsius is abbreviated as C and is a temperature scale in which water freezes at 00 and boils at 1000 centigrades respectively.

History shows that as at 19th century, ice-houses were being used for thousands of years to provide a source of ice in summer, which is literarily known as ‘dry’ season in this part of the world. This was on the later days of the century when the first common domestic refrigeration was in the form of ice boxes, thus as the ice melted it was being replaced with ice bought from commercial manufacturers.

Although in 1856, usage of the principle vapour compression, led by Australian James Harrison, produced the world’s first practical refrigerator, which was commissioned by a brewery to build a machine that cools beer. A year later, the first refrigerated railway car made a debut through the Chicago Meatpacking Industry, to prevent spoilage during shipping. Also, the first railway car to carry fruit was built by Parker Earle of Illinois and was used to ship strawberries.

According to Gizmohighway Technology Guide, Mr. Fred W. Wolf Jnr in Chicago, named Domestic Electric Refrigerator (DOMELRE), reportedly manufactured the first domestic refrigerator in 1913.

However, the first known refrigerator to be used widely use was the General Electric ‘Monitor Top’ introduced in 1927, with the compressor assembly, which produces what experts called substantial heat, placed above the cabinet and surrounded with a decorative ring.

For www.keepitcool.com, the natural ice were harvested, distributed and used both commercially and at homes in mid 1800s. Pioneers, however, in refrigeration experts included Scottish Dr. Williams Cullen, Londoner Mr. Michael Faraday and Dr. John Goorie of Apalachicola in Florida.

Today’s compression refrigeration system evolves on a concept adapted from Faraday’s experiments, which involves compressing gas into a liquid that absorbs heat, thus returning to gas and is known as a simple description of what transpires in a home refrigerator, freezer, air conditioner or dehumidifier.

Noteworthy, is that the evolution of cooling technology has at the beginning of the 21st century shown a drift from the West to the Asian Tigers, to an extent that nothing electronics is discussed without the Koreans.

Then, came the era of side-by-side refrigerators, which has grown to the three-door series by a leading Korean pioneer manufacturer in home appliance convergence, LG Electronics Digital Appliance Company (DAC); providing a total package of digital products for homes.

Described as the new face of refrigeration technology by industry analysts, the LG’s three-door side-by-side has been said to be consumer friendly product by the President, LG Electronics for West Africa Operations, Mr. Tae Hun Ryu, at the unveiling ceremony of the chain in Lagos.

He said the launch brings to the fore the firm’s unique refrigerator technology into the nation’s market to ensure customer’s satisfaction. Stressing that the distinctive three-door gives it a special look and feel as well as more room for the consumers to use.

On the compressor, Mr. Ryu said it was specifically built for the Nigerian environment: where power supply is not regular and when it’s available, it comes with higher voltage than is required.

“The three-door side-by-side refrigerator has two doors at the top that opens side ways for easy use in terms of stocking it with various food items according to the desire of the consumer, while the third door is below the top doors allowing the consumer a unique space to increase the content of the fridge,” Mr. Ryu explained.

Emphasizing it is a statement of the leadership position of the company’s brand in the country, he also revealed that LG has succeeded in the country because of its understanding of the need of the consumer and providing it. He informed that the research findings indicated that consumers are very conscious of having good product such as this to enable them have time for other things as the size of a refrigerator allows them to store more food, thus reducing time spent on visiting the market

The fridge features extra wide storage space in form of adjustable bins and drawers and five digital sensors for accurate temperature controls to ensure food preservation and freshness, with a tilting freezer door for easy access to inner drawers.

Vice President for Refrigerators and Washing Machine at LG Electronics, Mr. T.Y. Park, was confident that consumers would take advantage of the exclusivity of the 3-door refrigerator. He maintained that apart from its functions and doors, 3-door has a unique marketing edge as it comes in different colours, including titanium, white finish and stainless.

Before unveiling the product at the LG Digital Center Ikeja-Lagos, Mr. Park pointed out that the firm has once again adapted technology to suit the needs of the local market by bringing innovative designs to African kitchens. “A world leader in electronics manufacturing, LG is at the forefront of technology with our range of home appliances, developed to satisfy diverse customer demands,” he said.

Additionally, Mr. Park said that apart from LG being the cooling technology business leader, that with the introduction of this series, the firm is challenging the ‘side-by-side’ niche previously dominated by the United States (US) and European brands.

He said “It offers extra wide shelves and wider storage space with the bottom compartment extremely easy to slide out and for storage of bigger items”. Thus, the firm’s cutting edge bio silver and bio shield technology as well as multi-air flow system to ensure food freshness.

“We have taken a bold step in bringing the future of living standards in the Middle East and Africa today,” he asserted. Stressing that by end of 2005, over 100 million homes are expected to be using networked digital appliances and LG believes a large proportion of those will be in the Middle East and Africa.

Emphasizing that the new fridge combines digital technology and artificial intelligence with LG’s renowned build quality that is styled with the modern home at heart.

The Korean firm, he said, would continue to invest in research and development (R and D) with emphasis on customer research, in order to enable LG to design and produce such advanced digital appliance technology.

He said, smart devices in homes, including home-networked appliances, will open up new markets for manufacturers, service companies, telcos and other organizations to offer expanded services to customers.

“At LG, we have set several new standards for refrigeration, and we hope the new models will allow customers in the region to invest in what it is arguably the most essential home appliance with greater confidence and peace of mind. As with all our products, these refrigerators offer great functionality value for money, and exciting features, and will further expand our already successfully refrigerator range” he informed.

For the Managing Director of Somotex Nigeria Limited, LG’s major distributor on refrigeration products, Mr. Anil R. Mohinani, the support service platform for the new products is handy as the partnership has concluded plans to open its local manufacturing plant in the country.

In addition, Nigerian technicians have been trained for a take off and more are still going to benefit from this to ensure knowledge transfer, which would enable the partnership to optimize the support service platform locally.

Champion Infotel also gathered that the world’s first of its 3-door side-by-side was patented in the United States and 41 other countries. This system offers double cooling speed with cool air coming out from the door in addition to the rear and by maintaining the best humidity level, produce stays fresh for approximately six days, which is double that of competition.

This advanced technology with multi-sensors, LG noted, controls the temperature variation within +/-1C of the set temperature, and responds to keeping foods fresh longer, even as the sound is regarded as the quietest, hence operating at a whisper-quiet 41 decibels; equivalent to the noise level of a living room.
As the 21st century envelopes, new technology-based products that would make life, like that of Madam Ose, more trouble-free are expected from all facets of manufacturers.

HP explains N28m splash on MEAP, telecenter

LEADING Information Technology (IT) company, Hewlett Packard Nigeria, has explained why it splashed over $200,000 (about N28 million) on the Micro Enterprises Accelleration Programme (MEAP) and telecentre in the country.

The company said the aim is to empower both micro entrepreneurs and students in the society to be more useful in a modern way.

This development is coming as HP has signed a deal for the actualisation of this project in addition to the building of an advanced computing and telecenter at the University of Ibadan.

For MEAP, HP said it has partnered with Pan African University’s department of Enterprise Development Services to create a MEAP Center, located at the Lagos Business School’s Victoria Island campus.

This would enable enterprises in under-served communities’ access technology, training and business coaching, in order to accelerate and sustain business growth and economic opportunity, according to the Managing Director of HP Nigeria, Mr. Maduka Emelife.

Towards this programme, the company said it has donated equipments and services worth over $120,000.

Champion Infotel recalls that HP Nigeria had in the past made several donations annually in equipments and services to NGOs, educational institutions, and government agencies, but decided to take a more robust approach that is expected to make a more significant and sustainable impact in the community.

Mr. Emelife said at the signing ceremony recently in Lagos that by partnering with local training and business development service providers, like the Pan-African University which are already working with micro-enterprises, “HP would be more directly helpful to micro entrepreneurs who would learn how to apply the power of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to grow and sustain their businesses through its MEAP”.

Today’s micro enterprises, he said, are tomorrow’s corporations provided they are nurtured and developed.

“We believe that the combination of HP’s sponsorship and Pan African university’s execution would make a significant impact on the growth cycle of these micro enterprises”, Emelife said, describing micro enterprises as businesses with up to 10 employees that typically require minimal start-up costs.

Vice Chancellor of the Pan African University, Prof. Albert Alos, expressed gratitude to HP for recognizing the work the university is doing with micro enterprises, and for choosing to partner with it.

He restated the university’s commitment in working closely with HP to execute on this program.

Also speaking, Ms. Chioma Iwuchukwu, Channel Manager, HP said “over the last several years, as part of e-inclusion, HP has engaged with partners and communities around the globe to learn how information and communications technology tools and training can transform the lives of people in both rural and urban communities.

She enumerated some key benefits of the project for the micro enterprises who participate in the programme, to include access to state of the art HP technology at HP MEAP Centre, managed and staffed by local training and business development service providers, and hands-on training on how to use ICT to be more productive and grow their businesses faster.

For the second programme, which will be branded HP+IEEE Telecenter, HP is partnering with the department of Electrical Electronics Engineering at the University of Ibadan to build an advanced computing and telecenter, for the purpose of promoting computer education at the University of Ibadan, and nearby communities.

The center, which is costing HP over $80,000 in equipments and services, is a state of the art facility and is a 60-seat computer centre providing engineering students at the institution with modern computers and better access to the Internet.

SCN opens office in Lagos

BRITISH Information and Communications Technology (ICT) education service provider, Systems Communications and Networks (SCN) Limited, has opened a liaison office in Lagos-Nigeria.

SCN, Champion Infotel recalls was part of the eight British firms that participated at the recently held West African Telecommunication Exhibition (W. Afri.Tel 2005) in Lagos.

The firm said that it was encouraged to open the liaison office due to the large demand for its training courses by Nigerians.

“Nigeria presents one of the fastest developing telecommunication markets in the world and the demand for training in the sector is growing at a frantic pace,” a press statement from SCN said.

SCN is an independent professional services company providing technology training, consultancy, manpower services, network and cable installation, with core skills in telecoms and local and wide area networking, fixed and cellular communication.

The company is an established IT and Telecommunications training company which offers both training to industry as well as places to delegates from around the world via United
Kingdom Telecommunication Academy (UKTA).

The Liaison Office in Lagos was established as an administrative office to assist Nigerian delegates wishing to attend training courses in the UK as well as looking to develop SCN’s business relationship with corporate bodies seeking training for their ICT personnel.

Some of the courses offered by SCN include the Mobile Telecommunications Network Engineering (MTNE), Data Communication (DC), IT Network Technician (ITNT), and Installation of Communications Equipment (ICE).

The MTNE, DC and ITNT courses are all accredited as ‘H’ units towards a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or a Higher National Diploma (HND) qualification in Telecommunications Management via Blackburn College’s Accreditation of Prior Learning programme. The number of modules awarded is dependant on how the courses are combined, for example the MTNE and DC courses each carry 1 unit each however combined they carry 3 or 4 dependent on the candidates background, the ITNT carries 3 units. A typical UK student attending 6 weeks of training could pick up 6 or 7 units towards the 10 unit HNC.
SCN is aiming to achieve similar recognition from Nigerian universities and polytechnics in endorsing our courses with National Diplomas as done by the Blackburn College in the UK.

The company will also strive to achieve accreditation and high level of prominence as the training provider of choice from associations such as NCC, ATCON, Ministry of Communications.

NIIT launches 2005 scholarship campaign

NIIT Nigeria has launched this year’s scholarship for interested students who enroll into the school’s computer programmes.

Chief executive of International Data Management (IDM) Services Limited, NIIT franchise development partner in the country, Dr. Chris Bolu, said the scholarship which is in its sixth year is to reward meritorious students in the school.

This year, Dr. Bolu said NIIT Nigeria would invest in excess of N100 million as the scholarship fund, while training would be offered on Oracle, Microsoft, Sun and CompTIA technologies across the 15 NIIT locations nationwide.

Dr. Bolu stressed that based on students’ performances in a competitive written test, followed by a personal interview, NIIT will award successful students with scholarships.

This scholarship offers a waiver up to N175,000.00 on the free depending on the performance in the test and interview.

“Our launch of the NIIT scholarship scheme in Nigeria six year go was a unique opportunity for the nation’s youth to acquire the tools for working at the cutting edge of technology,” he declared.

Head, International Education Business at NIIT, Mr. Varun Khanna, said the idea behind the scholarships is to attract meritorious students in the IT industry, “as well as helping them financially to gain access to world-class IT education”.

Pointing out that the training would be delivered in a format that makes the programme easily accessible to all levels of trainees, from novice to expert.

“Thus, no IT background is necessary for prospective trainees,” he explained.
The scholarships, he said, would assist a large number of the nation’s youth to take up IT and will significantly increase the number of certified professionals in the country.

According to Head, NIIT Africa, Mr. Manish Jain, the motivation behind the scholarship by the management of the institute, was due to the wide acceptance of Oracle, Sun and Microsoft technologies, saying there is a tremendous demand for education on their products today.

“NIIT with its reach and capability to provide learning solutions is extremely well positioned to deliver quality education on their products across Africa, especially in the new technologies area,” he said.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

LGE, STB partner on 'Easy Life Scheme'

LG Electronics (LGE) Nigeria Limited and the Standard Trust Bank Plc have formed an alliance on the ‘Easy Life’ promotion, which made a debut over the weekend in Lagos.

The promotion scheduled to last over a period of one year has been put in place by the multi national electronics and information technology company to allow desiring consumers to purchase different LG products with easy by spreading payment over a period of time.

Managing Director of Fouani Nigeria Limited, LG Electronics major distributor in Apapa-Lagos, Mr. Mohammed Fouani, said the alliance was formed in display of the firm’s consumer friendly disposition through the promotion, which allows the consumer to begin to enjoy the products without completing the payment.

“The consumer is expected to walk into any LG Electronics authorized sales outlet and choose any LG product of preference, there after pick an Easy Life scheme application form,” he explained.

Mr. Fouani stressed that the Easy Life form should be presented to any Standard Trust Bank branch for assessment and approval.

According to him, STB on receipt of the application has three working days after the application to revert to the consumer with the position of the application, whether positive or otherwise.

However, the prospective customer, on approval of the application by the bank is expected to sign offer letter and make initial deposit to the bank, thereafter the LG product of choice will be made available.

“The scheme is a major consumer friendly initiative and the consumer could pay as low as N2,613.00 monthly for products depending on the type of product desired,” he said

Mr. Fouani noted that with this scheme, “LG wants the average consumer to appreciate its products hence the platform of credit scheme to enable them purchase the product”.

He further said that LG could not be receiving international awards and people in the country are not enjoying its product the way they should due to pricing.

LG Electronics recently announced 50 per cent unaided brand awareness in the country during the visit of the Middle East and Africa President Mr. K.H Kim.

The president expressed satisfaction with the nation’s growing economy and consumers, reiterating that the global brand’s commitment to the market is considered to be the fastest in growth.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

TechnoWorld opens in Lagos

Multi-million dollar Korean technology company, LG Electronics (LGE) Nigeria Limited, has formally opened its ultra modern TechnoWorld in Lagos, where it plans to share its Information Technology (IT) experience with consumers based on its dream to contribute to the technological growth of the country.

President, LG Electronics West Africa Operations, Mr. Tae Hun Ryu, while declaring the facility open said it is yet another land mark achievement for his company and the nation.

He reiterated LG Electronics commitment to the country, saying that the new facility is designed with a class room that seats 25 people at a time.

The TechnoWorld, he said, is the second LG Electronics show room to be opened in the country after the commissioning of the first Digital Center in May last year.

He explained that unlike the Digital Center, the TechnoWorld is the company’s expression of commitment to Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

Ryu described the TechnoWorld as a point of Information Technology transfer to the country, stressing that everything in the place is IT driven with a focus on telecommunication and technology.

The training programme according to him, is IT skill acquisition and development for young Nigerians, even as the centre is fully air conditioned with 25 laptops attached to each desk of prospective students.

He pointed out that LG Electronics investment in the country has been very deliberate in the last couple of years from sports where it helped talent discovery through sponsorship of grass root competition to international games such as the 2003 and 2004 LG four nation cup.

LG Electronics has consistently displayed its leadership position in the country with the establishment of various consumer care programme such that the free product repair and warranty programmes.

The firm’s long-term goal for the IT market, he said, is to make every Nigerian information technology compliance by making LG’s products available while at this same time training the consumers.

MultiChoice, M-Net reiterate commitment, introduces 2 series

MULTI-Choice Nigeria has declared its commitment to the development of the nation’s Digital Satellite Television (DSTv) industry through provision of quality broadcasting.

This is coming as M-Net has also expressed commitment to the nation’s growth, introducing two Nigerian series into its programming.

Whereas MultiChoice is a DSTv service provider, M-Net is a continental broadcasting entity.
Speaking at the unveiling of the two Nigerian drama series in Lagos, the General Manager, MultiChoice Nigeria, Mr. Collins Khumalo, lauded M-Net for the vision, step and for mostly localising its contents on the continent.

“MultiChoice is committed to the development of this industry,” he declared.

Stressing that was why his firm is associated with this noble course of M-Net with a focus on the country.

Director, Local Productions at M-Net, Mr. Carl Fisher, also speaking, said the firm has entrenched its commitment to African television production.

The two Nigerian series, he said, are the tele-serial of Doctor’s quarters and Edge of Paradise.

Mr. Fisher pointed out that South African movie industry is envious of its Nigerian counter part due to the avalanche of home grown films being churned out in the country.

Public Relations and Publicity officer at MultiChoice Nigeria, Mr. Segun Fayose, noted that leading the way is ‘Doctors’ quarters, making DStv audience in over 40 countries to be able to tune in to the show, every Monday evening starting September 19.

The one-hour weekly drama series, he said, will follow the lives of young students who live in residence for trainee doctors.

“The show is set in Nigeria and will be shot on
location in Lagos. Pre-production is underway and filming is set to begin in August,” he said.

The result of a decision made by M-Net late last year to produce a 26-part Nigerian drama, Doctors’ quarters is the first Nigerian drama series commissioned by the channel, which was selected through a standard pitching process that was announced by M-Net in November last year.

Meanwhile, the Edge of Paradise has also begun pre-production, according to him, with its family-oriented series due also for broadcast on M-Net in the first quarter of 2006.

The show is produced by Royal Roots with Gregory Odutayo serving as director and Debbie Odutayo as producer while Femi Kayode is head writer.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Internet Governance to dominate agenda at PrepCom-3

Internet Governance (IG) issues will dominate the agenda of the forthcoming third Preparatory Committee Meeting (PrepCom-3) on the World Summit on the Information Society, scheduled to hold in Geneva in September.

Communication Officer, at the WSIS secretariat, Sanjay Acharya revealed this much and said that it is expected to be the main focus of attention for the PrepCom-3 to be held from 19 to 30 September 2005.

PrepCom-3 is also billed to complete the output document on financing, continued negotiations on the political part of the Tunis document as well as look at implementation and follow-up mechanisms on the road ahead.

According to Acharya, other issues slated for discussion at the meeting, include the chapter containing the political component of the Tunis document, as it stood at the conclusion of PrepCom-2, together with a compilation of all written comments and proposals made during PrepCom-2 and contributions received from all stakeholders since PrepCom-2.

Other proposals from the group of the Friends of the Chair for implementation and follow-up mechanisms for the WSIS Action Plan and post-Summit phase, together with a compilation of all written comments and proposals made during PrepCom-2 and contributions received from all stakeholders since PrepCom-2.

WSIS secretariat also said the report of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) together with a compilation of all written comments and proposals to be submitted by governments and other stakeholders following the release of the WGIG report up to the deadline of mid-August would equally receive attention.

While the revised chapter on financial mechanisms which contains some outstanding text that needs to be agreed upon, whereas the reports from regional conferences and WSIS-related thematic meetings held in the period between PrepCom-2 and PrepCom-3 will feed into the WSIS process at PrepCom-3.

These include the WSIS regional conferences held in Tehran, 31 May - 2 June 2005, in Rio de Janeiro, 8-10 June 2005 and several thematic meetings.

Organizers said, that in keeping with multi-stakeholder participation in the WSIS process, observers from international organizations, civil society and the private sector would also have the opportunity to speak and provide inputs at PrepCom-3.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

NCC holds Telecom Parliament Monday

LIVING up to its words, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) would Monday, July 25, take the 22nd session of the Telecom Consumer Parliament to Excellence Hotel and Conference Center, Ijaye – Isheri Road, Ogba in Lagos State.

Daily Champion, recalls that the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, had two months ago informed the parliamentarians that the next session in Lagos would go to Ikeja due to its predominant of the location, which have high, middle and low class subscribers of almost all telcos in the country.

Head, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Dave Imoko, informed that the session to be held in the state outside its Old Senate building at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), would commence at 2.00 p.m. prompt.

He noted that the monthly Telecom Consumer Parliament puts telecoms operators and the industry regulator on the spotlight of the consumers.

This edition, he said, would deal with the services of both fixed line and mobile operators.

Other issues such as those pertaining to Quality of Service (QoS), consumer rights protection, environmental impact assessment, interconnection, tariffs and universal service provision would also be discussed.

He said that audience would be drawn from major stakeholders in the industry, opinion leaders, public affairs and policy analysts, government officials and students.

Mr. Imoko therefore urged all telecoms services consumers as well as the public to attend this interactive programme, which he explained would be recorded for a network broadcast on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and other television stations.

The parliament, it would be recalled, began in 2003 and has been held monthly in Lagos until last quarter of 2004 when NCC in conjunction with the house, recognized the need to take it closer to the people by holding it among the six geopolitical zones in the country.

Ministers laud MTN Nigeria, tasks corporate bodies

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai and his Education counterpart, Mrs Chinwe Obaji, have commended MTN Nigeria for its corporate social responsibility initiatives and called on other corporate entities to emulate the telecommunications company.

The Ministers made these remarks during the launch of the second phase of the MTN Foundation/SchoolNet joint programme, SchoolsConnect, held in Abuja.

Mallam El-Rufai described the initiative as “a shinning example of effective corporate social responsibility and is a demonstration of MTN’s commitment to sustainable development in the education sector.”

He expressed gratitude to MTN Nigeria for selecting the FCT as one
of the benefiting areas in the second phase of the project and promised to support the sites with alternative power generation and the maintenance of the laboratories.

On her part, Mrs Obaji said that the launch was a celebration of partnership that would enable the country’s education system to serve the nation’s children well.

“I want to congratulate the MTN Foundation and their partners, SchoolNet, for bringing the benefits of Information Communication Technology to thousands of young people who would not have had this opportunity,” she said.

Also, speaking during the launch, the Secretary of the Education Trust Fund, Mallam Mustapha Jaji, commended MTN for transforming the MTN BookAid programme into a full-fledged foundation, which confirms the company’s commitment to real contribution to human development in Nigeria.

He promised to work towards the sustainability of the project, and called on the beneficiary state governments and school communities to reciprocate MTN’s gesture by making good use of the facilities and ensuring that the support and sustainability agreements are implemented.

Earlier, in his welcome address, the Chairman of the MTN Foundation, Ambassador Hamzat Ahmadu, said that the SchoolsConnect project is significant as it demonstrates the power and potential of public/private sectors partnerships in the development of the country, and a stellar example of corporate social responsibility that is hinged on sustainability.

He described ICT as one of the most effective tools of rapid distribution of knowledge and information to the nation’s youth.

The Foundation’s Executive Director, Mrs Amina Oyagbola reiterated the commitment of the telecommunications company in making heavy financial investments in order to improve the quality of learning in the nation’s schools and enhance the quality of teaching in ICT.

Mrs. Oyagbola, who is also MTNN Corporate Services Executive, said: “Working in the areas of education, health and economic empowerment, we are determined that our people and our technology will make a vital difference. We will do so not only by facilitating effective communications, but also by ensuring that communities and ordinary Nigerians will have access to better education, good health and be economically empowered,” she said.

The SchoolsConnect project is the MTN Foundation initiative towards the enhancement of ICT in schools by providing computer laboratories in four schools in each state that falls into a particular phase of the project. Each laboratory has 21-networked computers, VSAT Internet connectivity, a server and a printer. It also entails the training of teachers in ICT.

The initiative will be extended to other states, starting with Kwara, and Rivers States.

Saint Gery decries lack of Africa’s presence @ GNSO

SENIOR official of the Ge-neric Names Supporting Organisation (GNSO), a supporting organisation within the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Ms Glen van Oudenhove de Saint Gery, has decried lack of Africa’s presence at GNSO.

Speaking to the Highway Africa News Agency (HANA), at the ICANN meeting in Luxembourg, Ms Saint Gery was quoted as saying, “there are no Africans at all on the Generic Names Supporting Organisation (GNSO)”.

GNSO is a supporting organisation within ICANN tasked with developing policy for generic domain names. A generic top level domain name is an internet address that is not directly linked to a specific country, such as the .com and .org domain names, while .ng or .za are country code top level domain (ccTLD) names, as .ng is for Nigeria and .za for South Africa.

“Africans are missing an important opportunity to participate in the policy making process of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN),” said Saint Géry.

The GNSO responds to six constituencies, which represent all stakeholder groups on the internet, including registrars, generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) registries, business and commercial community, non-commercial users, international service and connectivity providers and intellectual property.

According to her, since the continent has no representatives on the GNSO council, it is very difficult for Africa to influence any policy decision affecting the way gTLDs are managed.

The report also said that the absence is ironic as African governments are campaigning to move control of the internet from ICANN to an international organisation so that they could exert greater influence over the current system.

There is widespread dissatisfaction among Africans with the considerable US domination of ICANN and all its functions, but when there is an open forum, such as the GNSO, Africans do not appear to be interested in the policy making process, the report said.
Van Oudenhove de Saint Géry believes that Africa is missing out by not participating in the activities of the GNSO, and at the same time, ICANN is also missing the opportunities to understand the requirements of African users.

Part of this perceived apathy, she said, could be attributed to the high cost of participating in the GNSO. Many meetings are held in North America or Europe, which are usually expensive destinations for most African businesses.

Van Oudenhove de Saint Géry pointed out however, that the GNSO council holds regular teleconferences, and uses the internet to contain costs.

Lamenting that while effective use of technology could certainly keep expenses down, it is also true that the costs of teleconferencing in Africa are far higher than in most other parts of the world.

In an effort to address the lack of communication between ICANN and the vast majority of African internet users and potential users, the GNSO is about to hire a liaison officer. HANA also reports that this post will be used to forge greater links with Africa and to find out what Africans want in terms of internet policies.

APC InfraStruXure increases availability, supports NCS

American Power Con-version (APC) District Manager for Nigeria and Ghana, Mr. Charles Iyo, has said that one of the firm’s product, InfraStruXure, offers increased availability of power to organizations, just as the firm supports the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS)

He made this known while speaking at this year’s international conference of NCS held in Port Harcourt, recently, with the theme “Information Technology Capacity Building: The Future of Nigeria’s Economic Growth” (ICABUILD) 2005.

He also said that InfraStruXure enables organizations to improve on their adaptability and reduces time for deployment.

Mr. Iyo, further said that the product offers lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), mostly within the Information Technology (IT) environment.

InfraStruXure, he said, is an on-demand architecture for Network-Critical Physical Infrastructure (NCPI). This, the expert said means in essence that the InfraStruXure design, which integrates power, cooling, rack, management and services, allows the selection of standardised, modular components to create a customised solution.

According to him, businesses across Africa are adopting APC’s InfraStruXure offering to flexibly add capacity as the company grows; allowing organisations to purchase only what is needed at present while still permitting future growth.

Stressing that InfraStruXure affords IT managers to choose from a number of standardised components to create a customised solution.

This approach, he said, provides the needed reliability, affordability and predictability of standardised solutions, which is completely customised to meet client’s specific needs.

APC’s comprehensive products and services offering are designed for both home and corporate environments to improve the availability, manageability and performance of sensitive electronic, network, communication and industrial equipment of all sizes.

Politics of Internet Governance


Internet Governance may have different meanings but the trust embedded in the technology of networks may be eroded by undue political desire, reports REMMY NWEKE.

FOLLOWING the June 30, 2005 announcement by the United States Department of Commerce (DOC) with intent to retain authority on Internet root servers, the global Internet community has been thrown into confusion once again.

Internet, defined as an interconnected system of networks that connects computers around the world via the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or Internet Protocol (IP) in line with the Internet Technology Dictionary.com.

The Internet root servers, on the hand, according to the www.domainsarefree.com, is a Domain Name System (DNS) servers that respond to requests for the root name space domain, and redirect requests for a particular Top-Level Domain (TLD) to the required name servers.

Hence, final dot is usually applied, although not all modern DNS software do actually require that the final dot be included nowadays when attempting to translate a domain name to an IP address. The final dot is known as the root domain and all other domains, such as .com, org, .net, .ng, .uk and so on, are contained within the root domain.

The root name servers have the duties for the domain’s where- about and which servers are responsible for the TLDs. Furthermore, each TLD such as .com or .org, has its own set of servers which in turn delegate to the name servers for individual domain request to be solved. In other words, it would answer queries for IP address of sub-domains such as www.ITRealms.blogspot.com.

Currently, there are 12 entities managing the 13 root name servers, specifically: A - VeriSign Global Registry Services; B - Information Sciences Institute; C - Cogent Communications; D - University of Maryland; E - NASA Ames Research Center; F - Internet Systems Consortium, Inc.; G - U.S. DOD Network Information Center; H - U.S. Army Research Lab; I - Autonomica/NORDUnet; J - VeriSign Global Registry Services; K - RIPE NCC; L - ICANN; and M - WIDE Project.

Out of these numbers, five servers namely the C, F, I, J and K, exist in multiple locations on different continents of the world. Thus, most of the physical, rather than nominal root servers are now outside the United States.

Champion Infotel recalls that the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) based in Aberdeen Proving Ground, has a long history of leadership role in the computing and networking field. Today, ARL has continued to operate a root name server as a service to the Internet community.

However, in what has left the Internet community divided, the remarks at the Wireless Communications Association (WCA) on June 30, 2005 by the Assistant Secretary to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Mr. Michael D. Gallagher, announcing U.S. principles on the Internet’s Domain Name and Addressing System, jolted the industry globally.

It read in part thus:

“The United States Government intends to preserve the security and stability of the Internet’s Domain Name and Addressing System (DNS). Given the Internet’s importance to the world’s economy, it is essential that the underlying DNS of the Internet remain stable and secure. As such, the United States is committed to taking no action that would have the potential to adversely impact the effective and efficient operation of the DNS and will therefore maintain its historic role in authorizing changes or modifications to the authoritative root zone file.

“Governments have legitimate interest in the management of their country code top level domains (ccTLD). The United States recognizes that governments have legitimate public policy and sovereignty concerns with respect to the management of their ccTLD. As such, the United States is committed to working with the international community to address these concerns, bearing in mind the fundamental need to ensure stability and security of the Internet’s DNS.

“Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the appropriate technical manager of the Internet DNS. The United States continues to support the ongoing work of ICANN as the technical manager of the DNS and related technical operations and recognizes the progress it has made to date. The United States will continue to provide oversight so that ICANN maintains its focus and meets its core technical mission. “Dialogue related to Internet governance should continue in relevant multiple fora. Given the breadth of topics potentially encompassed under the rubric of Internet governance there is no one venue to appropriately address the subject in its entirety.

“While the United States recognizes that the current Internet system is working, we encourage an ongoing dialogue with all stakeholders around the world in the various fora as a way to facilitate discussion and to advance our shared interest in the ongoing robustness and dynamism of the Internet. In these fora, the United States will continue to support market-based approaches and private sector leadership in Internet development broadly.”

It also follows that the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS-2003) held in Geneva, Switzerland in December, ended with a resolve that the United Nations’ Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan should set up a Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) and as at July 14, the group’s report which is due to be presented at the forthcoming second phase of WSIS this November, has been released to Mr. Annan.

Even as its expected to wet the ground for negotiations among the Internet community on modus operandi of governing the electronic network of networks.

The WGIG mandate started from the Geneva summit, during which heads of state and governments recognized the importance of the Internet, by way of acknowledging that the Internet is a central element of infrastructure of the emerging information society, whereas recognizing that there are different views on the suitability of current institutions and mechanisms for managing processes and developing policies for the global Internet.

The WSIS Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action adopted in Geneva, set the limitation for the WGIG according to its terms of reference, which include to “investigate and make proposals for action, as appropriate, on the governance of the Internet by 2005”.

This exercise was useful to identify guiding principles and factors that have facilitated the successful development of Internet, including the open, decentralised nature of its architecture and the underlying technological development of its core standards, as well as the management of names and numbers.

WGIG also recognized that while there is a common understanding of the Internet, there is not yet a shared view of Internet governance, hence, the mandate from the WSIS for the group to develop a working definition of Internet governance.

The WGIG first considered five criteria, namely that the working definition should be adequate, generalizable, descriptive, concise and process-oriented.

Secondly, the WGIG analysed a wide range of public-sector, private-sector and multi-stakeholder governance mechanisms that currently exist with respect to different Internet issues and functions.

Finally, the WGIG assessed a number of alternative definitions proposed by various parties in the course of the WSIS process and related international discussions.

As at December 12, 2004, The Internet Society (ISOC) said there were 258 TLDs and 773 different authoritative servers for those TLDs listed.

However, reacting to the recent US resolve to retain its control over the Internet despite the efforts of the UN to deregulate this or even find a more democratic set up for Internet Governance, chief executive of Internet Service Provider (ISP), Equinox Technologies, Mr. Mba Nwakanma, said he was not surprised by the declaration.

“I doubt it if the U. S. would give up on their position. But why would
anyone think they (U. S.) would invest so much in technology and easily toss its control over to other people?” he declared.

Stressing that like most other things in the world, be it international politics and diplomacy, peace and security, US would continue to seek leading roles in everything, including internet governance.

“If it is controlled more democratically by the UN, it would be great. But quite sincerely, I do not fault US for seeking to continue to control internet governance,” he insisted.

Executive Director of another ISP firm, Nigeria Online Limited and Treasurer, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Mr. Oleleye Alao, said that what matters most is the security of the internet and he doubts too if another nation could put in so much security measures as US have done so far, moreso in safe-guiding the Internet, even as he would love to see the Internet Governance issues resolved for the greater good of the Internet community.

“As you know the internet itself began from the US and US, probably for security reasons especially the aftermath of September 11 would want to retain its control of the internet. The main reason for the US control is because of its concern for security and stability of the internet,” he asserted.

Moreso, since US said it is committed and willing to continuously preserve the security and stability of the internet’s domain name and address system (DNS).

“Any decision that would have an adverse effect on the operation of
DNS will not be accepted such as relinquishing the authority to some other body,” he endorsed.

Also reacting, the Vice Chairman, African Internet Service Providers Association (AfrISPA) and chief executive of a leading ISP in the country, PiNet Limited, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, said the way the Internet is being governed now could not be said to be controlled absolutely by the US.

He cited an example of ICANN, which though is a US-based and registered Non Profit Organisation, but is made up of people from various parts of the world and policies are formulated based on bottom up approach, so as to ensure that various shades of opinion are reflected in final output of their policies.

Emphasizing that, a number of arguments have been raised on the need for a more properly constituted body like an agency of the UN, such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to take over this responsibility.

Noting however, that there are merits and demerits of this, but he is of the opinion that since the Internet was built to this great height without the direct input of these bodies, maybe it would be nice to allow US that developed it up to this stage to continue, at least, for now.

In the main time, it seems the US policy has continued to shape the globe as most worried were operators in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and how this worry or fear to an extent, would be allayed, will definitely influence on the thrust during the WSIS-05 and growth of Internet after wards, mostly when the current Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between US government and ICANN ends in September 2006.

Gender digital divide still high – ORBICOM

UNITED Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has disclosed that gender digital divide "is still large and exists both in developing and developed countries".

ORBICOM, the International Network of UNESCO Chairs in Communications made this disclosure in a press statement, just as it gears up for the release of a new report on measuring the "infostate" of 192 countries in the world come September this year.

UNESCO said that a brand new component of the report is the inclusion of a section which quantifies the gender digital divide by constructing a pilot statistical database on the Information and Communications Technology (ICTs) and gender.

According to Iskra Panevska of Communication Development Division, a number of serious difficulties were encountered in the course of the work, including lack of consistent gender statistics in a large number of countries, lack of common definitions and concepts and a mixture of both public and private sources.

"The findings of the report show that the gender divide is large and exists both in developing and developed countries – it is generally larger in developing countries," the statement said.

There is statistical evidence on gender gaps by location of use, showing that even in countries where access to ICTs is fairly equitable from home women are disadvantaged from workplaces and other locations.

The report provides also information on patterns of use with differences in frequency, intensity and type of use, making a clear recognition that in order to address gender disparities in the context of Information Society more than statistical data is needed.

The report to be released in September is the second in series produced in the framework of ORBICOM’s project "From the Digital Divide to Digital Opportunities: Measuring Infostates for Development".

UNESCO said that for the last ten years, the term ‘digital divide’ has become a familiar way of expressing the wide variations in access to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) across the world.

The ORBICOM project being supported by UNESCO, UNCTAD, ITU, CIDA and IDRC was initiated in the aftermath of the 2003 Geneva World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS-03), to build on the enthusiastic reception by the international community of the "Monitoring the Digital Divide…and Beyond" report.

Infostate, UNESCO explained is an aggregated index of information networks, education and skills, and uptake and intensity of the use of ICT.

Pointing out that the phase two of the project is an attempt to explore the worldwide interest in the role of ICTs for development and how it is disadvantaged by a scarcity of quantitative information to guide informed decision making.

"Is it narrowing or widening the digital divide over time? Which countries are making progress, how fast, when and what ICTs are driving the evolution?," these were some of the issues which phase two is taking up and exploring through comparative analysis, UNESCO said.

The report explains that the Digital Divide is a relative concept and it matters who is compared with whom, in what and when.

Some of the findings of the report indicated that on the whole the digital divide is closing but the digital divide between the group of countries with the lowest infostates, mostly African countries, and all other groups except for the very top one is widening.

UNESCO also cited an instance that many countries on the continent have devised information strategies, by taking for granted the relationship between ICT diffusion and economic development, in an attempt to close the gap.

"These have generally focused on infrastructural improvements: policies in education, for example, have concentrated on hardware provision with much less attention paid to the issues of how new technologies are used," the agency pointed out.

The report attempts to observe the relative movements of individual countries over the reference period in order to understand which countries are making progress, how fast and through what technologies. A few cases, such as Cote d’Ivoire and the Central African Republic, are of particular interest since they had similar Infostates in 1995.

And by 2003, Cote d’Ivoire was reported to have an Infostate more than three times that of the Central African Republic, according to the statement.

HP fetes partners with Madagascar

HEWLETT Packard (HP)Nigeria, at the weekend fete its partners made up of distributors and resellers to what was described as "Madagascar, Challenges to Technology" at the popular Silverbird Gallery Cinema in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Starting with a blank screen … Champion Infotel gathered that it was a task for crew of 240 for four years to create the two complete jungles, namely New York City and Madagascar.

The team created realistic jungle foliage, large crowds of animals and people, characterized with new cartoon style and extreme body flexibility.

The new types of animated interaction between characters and environment, HP said, comprises hair and fur, sand, wind and wave.

However, the foliage challenges saw the 66 per cent of film taking place in the jungles of Madagascar.

HP noted that animators needed lots of realistic jungle plants that move and interact with characters, hence the jungle effects team created seven baobab trees, 12 flower/fruit trees, 43 miscellaneous jungle plants

The New York City in the film saw different plants with unique vegetation motion system, automate plant animation, creating range of plant motions, characters that had to interact with plants, allowing the jungle to reveal series of 14,000 plants and 4 million leaves sway in wind.

Chief Technology Officer of the DreamWorks Animation SKG at HP, Mr. Ed Leonard said that what the film depicts was that HP technology brings animal magic with Madagascar.

"Together we are redefining the future of entertainment and we are having a lot of fun doing it," he declared.

He however, said that there were some crowd challenges, which include that there were more crowd scenes than any other "DreamWorks’ film".

Crowds, he explained were 20 per cent of the entire film while animators needed a simplified method of handling characters in crowds and crowd lemurs were all related to the generic lemur character rig, whereas 425 unique looking lemurs; with same single lemur in 425 different disguises.

The team also met the Fossa sequence, in addition to the biggest crowd of animals in a coloured film with 1,100 lemurs, representing children at the Central Park Zoo, 10,400 possible geometric combinations of body and face shapes, clothes, hats, hair and shoes

Further, he said that character challenges include the Madagascar unique animation style, which appeared very cartoony with extreme poses, squash and stretch, tail systems, balloon volumes, stunt body parts with 61 different characters.

Explaining that the DreamWork’s needed to enhance their racial animation and wig systems with Melman having 20 bones in his neck, Gloria, volume preserving techniques

And Alex coming along with massive hair and fur challenge, which brought about 354 guided hairs driven motions of 50,342 mane hairs with 500 curves and six control points each, even as Marty’s tail and mane both "act" with 1,200 controls.

Starcomms oils machine for Port Harcourt

Fixed Wireless Operator, Starcomms Limited has said that it is now ready for a successful roll out of its services in Port Harcourt.

Marketing Director of Starcomms, Mr. Omar Lababidi, made this known in a chat with newsmen in Lagos.

He said that already, the installation of necessary facilities to support its Intelligent Network, which refers to the architecture of the network that is a pre-paid platform and combines the strengths of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) systems in this city is in high progress.

Starcomms, Mr. Lababidi said, is also preparing to launch in two other major cities, namely in Ibadan and Abuja in the near future.

The Marketing Director, further gave that Starcomms’ vision to be a major Fixed Wireless telecom operator in the world, is still on course and described the Nigerian telecoms market as "very vibrant and buoyant, filled with potentials".

He noted that only a well-planned and structured company like Starcomms, that is fully committed to delivering value added services and unique products, can fully reap the fruits thereof.

Champion Infotel recalls that Starcomms, launched its data service in August last year, and currently has over 180,000 subscribers on its network covering Lagos, Kano and Maiduguri.

It was named the first PTO in Nigeria to hit the 100,000 subscriber line and was voted the PTO of the year 2003 at the City People Awards for Excellence and the "Best telephone Company of the Year 2004 (Fixed Wireless)" at last year’s edition of the Nigerian IT & Telecoms Awards (NITTA 2004).

Other awards won by the company are: The Best Wireless Telephone Marketer of the year 2005 at the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria Awards, Best Fixed Operator of the year 2004 at the Nigerian Telecoms Awards and the PTO of the year 2004 at the City People Awards for Excellence, 2005 edition.

3 ministers for FINTEX-05

Three ministers are to jointly open the two-day Financial Internet Technology conference and exhibition (FINTEX) 2005 in Lagos.

This is coming as the preparation for this year’s event scheduled to hold August 8 to 9 at the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Center Onikan-Lagos, has reached advance stage.

FINTEX is an annual conference and exhibition organized by the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) with this year’s theme as "Mainstreaming IT in Banking and Finance".

President, NIG, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, told Champion Infotel, that three federal ministers, namely Prof. Turner Isoun of Science and Technology, Chief Cornelius Adebayo of Communications and Mrs. Ngozi Okoji-Iwuala of Finance are scheduled jointly to open the event.

He also said that the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Charles Soludo, chairmen of science and technology, communications and finance committees at the National Assembly (NA), state commissioners of science and technology and finance, are expected to grace the two-day event.

Dr. Ekuwem, noted that NIG as an advocate of best practices in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) service delivery try to find how to raise the nation to an enviable height in the use of Internet and other ICT tools.

This, he said, would boost productivity in every sector of the Nigerian economy.

He pointed out that efficiency, starts by knowing what to do and doing it right at the right time.

"With FINTEX-05 as conceptualized, NIG seeks to provide an enduring legacy by assembling those who are professionals in different ICT sub-disciplines with evolving practical experience to do it right and share expertise with others," he asserted.
Stressing that it would tend towards enhancing productivity and sustainable economic development.

Dr. Ekuwem explained that select group of stakeholders would meet at FINTEX-05 to brainstorm and forge a common front as a way to give the nation a positive lift.

"It is expected that at the end of the day, both the government and the organized private sector (OPS) would have learnt how to deploy Internet and other ICT tools appropriately," he said.

Besides the brainstorming sessions, he said, there would be an exhibition of finance hi-tech solutions by manufacturers, vendors, software engineers, finance automation system integrators, cyber security providers, data center/warehousing service providers, Internet Service Providers, telecom operators, banks, insurance companies among others.

He assured that come August that captains of industries, bursars of universities, polytechnics, and directors of finance of specialized agencies and leaders of professional bodies, would be meeting at the event, thereby positioning the economy to have a competitive advantage in the global knowledge-based economy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

200 IT experts for scientific digital divide confab

ABOUT 200 Nigerian science and technology experts in diaspora, are expected to grace the first-ever conference on ‘Bridging the Digital and Scientific Divides: Forging Partnerships with the Nigerian Diaspora,’ in Abuja.

The four-day event being organized by the Nigerian National Volunteer Service (NNVS) in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, is scheduled to hold July 25 to 28 at the Nicon Hilton.

President, Nigerian Information Technology Professionals in the Americas (NIPTA), Prof. Manny Aniebonam, made this disclosure.

He said that over 200 science and technology professionals would be coming from the United States (US), Europe and Asia for the event.

Prof. Aniebonam noted that NITPA participation is in the group’s continuous quest "to building a nation we will all be proud of’.

He would also be presenting a paper, entitled "Improving Human Capacity Building in Nigeria Through Effective Distance Education".

Stressing that the paper would examine how emerging technologies could accelerate the Nigerian capacity building efforts.

According to the organizers, the issue of third world diasporans and the contributions could make some transformation to their original homelands and this has of recent generated considerable global interest.

"Nigeria is among the countries, that is, determined to forge a constructive relationship with its huge number of diasporan nationals scattered around the world" the organizers declared.

They also noted that it was for this reason that President Olusegun Obasanjo, in recognition of the huge and diverse resources of the Nigerian Diaspora in 2000, initiated the Presidential Dialogue with the Nigerians in the Diaspora.

Explaining further, the organizers said, the conference on Bridging the Digital and Scientific Divides: Forging Partnerships with the Nigerian Diaspora is the first major effort to lay the groundwork for concrete and sustained interaction between Nigeria and her diasporans, facilitate the establishment of networks and partnerships between the Nigerian Diaspora and their counterparts at home for the benefit of the country.

It further emphasised that it is an opportunity to put to effect the transfer of skills, experiences and resources from the diaspora.

Experts back US to retain Internet root servers

MEMBERS of the Internet Service Providers (ISP) community in the country have endorsed the United States’ recent declaration of intention to retain the root servers of the Internet, based on security reasons.

The root name servers have the responsibilities for the domain’s where about and which servers are responsible for the TLDs that could be requested on the invent of Internet user’s querry of any sort.

Presently, there are 13 of such servers located at various centers globally, most of which are in the United States.

Some of the ISPs who spoke to Business Champion at the weekend, said the US action or intention is not far fetched, because the nation has invested so much money and expertise to the development of Internet.

Other reasons adduced by these ISPs was that since the root servers, for instance, have been in the US without any technical hitch, that it would be better if the country is allowed to retain it for the main time, with the hope that the processes of governing the Internet would also mature as time tickles.

Business Champion recalls that penultimate week, the United States’ Assistant Secretary at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), in the Department of Commerce,

Mr. Michael Gallagher, announced what analysts tagged the “new US principles on the internet”.

Although the announcement came as a shock to most stakeholders, but information gathered at the weekend by our correspondent, indicated otherwise, especially from the ISPs in the country.

They noted that though in the past, the US has said it would allow the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) responsible for maintaining the root file.

They also noted that the US position may not likely go down well with the United Nations, through which many poorer states have been requesting more input into how the internet is managed.

Leading respondents to the implications or otherwise of the declaration by the US, was the Executive Director of Nigeria Online Limited, Mr. Olaleye Alao, who is the Treasurer of the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG).

He pointed out that the internet itself started in the US, hence it could amount to security reasons especially following the September 11 incident in which many people died.

“The main reason for the US control is because of its concern for security and stability of the internet,” he said, stressing that the kind of control or governance depend largely on technical, political and internet aspects.

He pointed out that internet has evolved from a research and academic facility into a global facility available to the public for over 10 years now.

“This is why many different points of view have emerged about the scope and mechanism of internet governance. It is more than internet names and address and includes internet resources, security, development and the use of the internet,” he explained.

Managing Director of PiNet Limited, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, stated that as far as US started the process of deploying Internet, it would be difficult to release the root servers to other bodies considering the amount of financial commitment that have gone into the project.

He would prefer US to continue being in position of the root servers until the appropriate time, mostly based on the security.

For the chief executive of Equinox Technologies, Mr. Mba Nwakanma, he never thinks that US would relinquish the root servers, since the government knows the implication.

United Nations had at the end of the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva, Switzerland, set up a Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) to look into ways of deregulating the current strong hold of the United States on Internet, so as to make its processes more democratic.

There’s no fire incident in V.I. exchange – NITEL

MANAGEMENT of the national carrier, the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) Lagos zone, has denied some media reports that its Victoria Island exchange was gutted by fire.

The management team led by the Deputy General Manager (DGM) Operations, Mr. Akin Olufade and the Territorial Manager for Lagos Island Territory, Mr. Gbenga Odumosu, Wednesday, dispelled the stories in a chat with newsmen in Lagos.

“There was not even a spark at Victoria Island Exchange,” Mr. Olufade declared.

He explained that what happened was that the power supply to the exchange’s switching equipment was shut off, “because of the failure of the Rectifier Unit which, of course, regulates power supply to the exchange switch”.

Mr. Olufade also said that it was due to this failure that the exchange was shut down at about 2.30am Tuesday and by 3.15am on Wednesday, it was restored.

“We have been able to put the whole system back on line,” he asserted.

Explaining further, he said that NITEL Victoria Island Exchange has seven rectifiers units out of which five went off at the same time, therefore creating the bottleneck in the exchange transmission, which also affected all redundancy units, but “there was not even a single spark” at the exchange.

According to him, all efforts to tackle the problem by the limited corps of maintenance personnel on night duty proved unavailing and the team was enlarged later on Tuesday.

Pointing out that NITEL Lagos zone deployed the quickest possible means of informing the customers and the general public through radio announcements, where explanation was given about the fault, and efforts being made to repair it and the company’s regrets over the inconvenience the fault may have caused NITEL customers.

He stressed that the team worked through the day and night and was able to complete the repair and restore full service on the exchange in the early hours of Wednesday.

Mr. Olufade further explained that only the some Private Telecom Operators (PTOs) connected to the Victoria Island exchange were affected, others connected to Ikeja or Apapa were not affected either as NITEL subscriber, operator.

“If you are connected to V.I. you cannot make calls locally and internationally,” he said.

Emphasizing that the Rectifier units were Siemens GR 10 and 12, come with the line cards among other conductors.

While the step down occurred when they were on the public
electricity network, otherwise refer to as ‘NEPA’ in the local parlance.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

NCS should engage IT pros in diaspora – Ogunneye

Managing Director of Data Sciences Nigeria Limited, Alhaji Ladi Moshood Ogunneye, is a founding member of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), and the immediate past president of the society. He speaks to Senior Reporter, REMMY NWEKE, on a number of issues in the Information Technology (IT) industry.

Please review the industry for us since you left office as the President of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), about two years ago.

Thank you. We want to say that the Information Technology (IT) community has been moving on very well. There have been good emphases on software, not even from us in the private sector but also from the government. So, we now begin to see the collaboration between the society and government. And there are also other parties that are just coming in now and they all have been doing very well. We all now seem to be heading in the same direction.

But since you left office, has NCS been living up to your expectation?

In fact, let me say one thing about NCS. NCS has formed a long tradition of good continuity and good support of the past presidents. So, whatever that has been before I came, means that when I was there, I got the support of the past presidents. This is because we usually build on what was on the ground and in the same way, the present executive is tapping from the past presidents, including myself. Hence what you see at NCS today was what was on before. NCS can only move forward because there is this continuity and collaboration.

Then, what of the environment, would you say it is getting better or worse?

No doubt, whatever is the environment then, whether better or worse would never be the same now. But for now, it is better, because we now have a ceertain level or semblance of peace and mutual understanding or cooporation between us and the quasi-government institutions, which are really having the same concern like some of us in the private sector. I would say that the tune of collaboration now, is more meaningful.

What is your perception of government policies for the industry as of today?

Of course, if we are to assess by what is their action, and now talking about their action you would see today that the president of our country has come out in support of the software industry to grow. We have seen some input in our hardware area in, that one, two, three of our colleagues in the hardware industry and producing computers specifically. They have thrown the challenge to the industry to come up with the same kind of enthusiasm in the software industry. You can now see that this tallies with the objective of NCS, who had close to 10 years, said that Nigerians should go in the area of software and start software exhibition. So government’s position now is in tandem with that kind of thinking and we are very happy about that.

Nigeria can only be the beneficiary of such two endeavours that are merging; I am talking about the private sector and the government; government putting software in line with what the society is doing.
Tell us about Data Sciences’ involvement, especially in the area of hardware?

You probably know that Data Sciences Nigeria Limited is the first indigenous computer company in the country. We are into hardware vendoring, software and have been in the forefront of IT crusade in the country. If you look at the Nigeria Computer Society for example, Data Sciences has played a major role in getting it to where it is today and in the growth of that society over the years.

With all sense of humility, we have two past presidents of that society emerging from Data Sciences, so we have been quite supportive of the society and strong player too from the IT community.

With regards to Data Sciences, you know, IT is evolving on a daily basis and the good all days, traditional branded computer dealership is beginning to wean and that is because most of those computers are yielding to the general purpose Personal Computer systems, we too are trying to work around the changing market and at the same time trying to sustain our market share in the industry.

Then, what is your company’s relationship with UNITEC?
Data Sciences is one of the consortium that set up UNITEC, so we are one of the shareholders in the consortium.

How far has this translated to the growth of UNITEC?

UNITEC is one of the companies that are producing computers locally. Data Sciences and some other companies; IMS, Informatics, Microproducts, Chams, just to mention a few members of the consortium. So we are the companies that set up UNITEC. Like I told you earlier, the general purpose computing is evolving and for it to meet relevant niche in the market place and that is what UNITEC is trying to do now. I think the other computer producing companies are doing the same too.

Recently, there was a replacement for the late Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in the appointment of Prof. Cleopas Officer Angaye. First I would like to get your reaction on the appointment and then your expectations and advice for him?

One thing is that I think the position was advertised. Two, in the last few months, there have been some efforts at better understanding and better collaboration between NITDA, NCS and the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN). We expect him to continue that, mostly as a member of NCS personally.

So, what we wish him is to continue with the kind of collaboration that we have had in the last few months.

Looking back, you would realize we have not gotten the IT Act yet, I would like to know your position on this now? Don’t you think it’s affecting the industry on the way forward?

Yes, the IT bill we understand is still going through some reading at the National Assembly and I am not sure it was the same bill that was initially sent to the House at the inception of this administration and in the format that it is now.

The fact is that on the first bill, there was no consensus on whether that was the proper thing to be pushed. And when you don’t have a consensus of what would be good for every body, the pushing would not be easy and successful and from all sections.

What is there now, I believe, is that it’s being pushed by everybody and we are told it would soon become a signed bill,that is an Act. So we are hoping it would soon happen and we shall all get there faster when all efforts are going in the same direction. I think we are beginning to witness that now.

Being the immediate past president of NCS, what would be your advice to the current executive of the society, as some of them were returned to their offices at the recent international conference of the society in Port Harcourt?

It is a fact that some where returned unopposed and some others elected unopposed and I think that was good especially for NCS which is the umbrella body of other interest groups. That is very good and it made the job of some of us who were adopted as electoral officers easier. (Laughs). I think that was good to have a consensus over a candidate.

With regards to advice for the current executive, you must not forget that the immediate past president of the society is also a member of the executive. That is number one and two, as the elder in the society, if I may say, most of our input would not be for show and they would be passed to the president and members. It would be in a more productive way and not playing to the gallery.

So, I would say the president is doing very well especially in the area of pushing software development and re-engaging with the Nigeria Information Technology Professionals in the Americas (NITPA) to create a window for all those products that we may produce locally, especially software, a window of exposing and selling them.

We are looking forward to more of such engagement with our colleagues in diaspora. For all the noise we have been making for Nigeria would not only be for Nigerians, but for the world and I believe that we have the capability and expertise to compete with the Indians and the world generally.

And for us to achieve that, we need all our colleagues in diaspora, not only in the United States (US). Although the US organ is very active, but we should now look at other areas like United Kingdom (UK) and Europe generally, so that whatever the capability we have would be opened to the rest of the world.

At Port Harcourt few weeks ago, Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Turner Isoun, challenged NCS on the capacity building in the area of biotechnology and how do you think the private sector would collaborate with the government to achieve this?

Now, most of the jobs that needed to be done, have to be done by the government in a way, it is not just glamour projects. But projects that are endearing and that would take time for them to yield fruits.

For instance, some 50 years ago, India started the process of building their country graduates in the sciences as much as possible. It is the fruit of such endeavour that now made it easy for India to now tap into IT in such a big way as they are doing.

So, Nigeria need to put emphasize on science education, IT education as much as possible. Even if it is only the five per cent of those who are trained that emerged to be players in IT, they will be just enough to carry the country along.

Then, we need to go into putting emphases on science education, IT education from primary school level to secondary and not even to talk about the universities. But as it is now, we don’t see that happening. Of course, at the level of the society, that is NCS, we are at the level of dealing with our members who are already graduates. So, somebody needs to do all that before becoming a graduate or creating more graduates in IT. That is the job of the government.

Of course, we do advise and do some accreditations to the universities, the polytechnics and all that. We helped with the syllabus for secondary schools and will do same for primary. Those areas we can help but for the actual job of making it happen, to make it possible for us to have IT education, science education in secondary schools, primary schools and universities, especially it has to be done by the government and in a very big way too.

It is that major job of educating that would make the job of having a few of them coming out to become skillful experts.
The brains are there for Nigerians, no doubt about that because they excel abroad. The country is even a big country, therefore, a big market for whatever we may produce. So the earlier we get into that, the earlier we begin to import less, and export more.

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