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Thursday, July 21, 2005

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.

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