" ITREALMS: August 2005


NPA saves $326.895m from agreement with INTELS - ITREALMS

Sponsored@ITREALMS ... making leadership SENSE with digital news! The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has explained how INTELS Nigeria Limit...

Monday, August 29, 2005

Entrepreneurship, key to rural ICT projects

ENTREPEURSHIP has been identified as the key to successful rural projects especially in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

Speaking to Business Champion exclusively, the Senior Project Manager of the United States-based Sun Microsystems Incorporated, Ms Sobana Iyengar, said this formula would help a lot, mostly where it concerns those in the rural areas.

Responding to the ways of improving the embrace and penetration level of women in ICT, she asserted that if a rural woman discovers that ICT would boost the sell of her produce or an artisan, "definitely it is a buy".

She advised organizations that outreach for these women to always equip themselves, especially the civil society organizations (CSOs) with an attitude that these women are intelligent in their caliber.

"Do not go by offering them dole, but by understanding of the culture, constraints and restraints they face individually and as a community," she said.

Creativity, Ms Iyengar pointed out is in abundant in the rural communities, saying that without ingenuity and survival techniques, "many of these people would not have survived in harsh condition".

She cited an instance that by enlightening such people on the value of education, "Every mother would definitely want their daughters to have a better standard of living".

Noting, that even ever before ICT revolution came, "we have seen rural women willing to undergo hardship to educate their daughters to become doctors, teachers and nurses".

Pointing out that since ICT involves more equipment cost, each country, mostly in developing nations, should come up with solutions like a tax break for ICT equipment donations to rural sector development.

She believes that all the possible resources to fund rural efforts available are worth tapping, saying that a good compelling reason from the womenfolk would also advance this cause to boost rural communities with ICT.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

MTN’s enterprise seminar gets new dates

THE first-ever Enterprise Solutions seminar being organized by the leading Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operator, MTN Nigeria, has been shifted to October this year.

Daily Champion recalls that the seminar was earlier slated to hold this week Wednesday, August 31 and Thursday, September 1 in Lagos and Port Harcourt, whilst, a renowned management expert and author, Mr. Tom Peters would be the lead speaker on a variety of business and management topics.

Announcing the latest development, MTN Nigeria, said, the new dates for its inaugural Enterprise Solutions seminar would be now on October 13 at the Expo Hall of the Eko Hotel in Lagos, and on October 14 at the Shell Club in Port Harcourt.

According to Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at MTN Nigeria, Mr. Afam Edozie, the postponement was occasioned by the demise of the mother of Mr. Peter, Mrs. Evelyn Snow Peters, at the age of 95.

Daily Champion gathered that Mrs. Evelyn Peters passed away in Annapolis, Maryland in the United States last week, Wednesday, August 24, whereas Mr. Tom Peters was her only child.

Ivy Gustafson, an Associate at the Washington Speakers Bureau, in a mail to MTN said: "It is with sadness that I have to inform you that Tom Peters will not be able to attend and speak at the MTN Business Forum on August 31, 2005. His loving mother passed away…."

Gustafson also confirmed that Mr. Peters who has been slated to speak in Moscow on October 11 will therefore arrive in Lagos "on the evening of October 12 and would be available to speak on October 13 and 14".

MTN Nigeria therefore, sympathized with Mr. Peters for the demise of his mother.

"We sympathize with Tom Peters on this sad incident and regret any inconvenience the postponement may cause our invited guests and participants", Edozie said.

He pointed out that the decision to postpone the event was a difficult one, considering that organisation has gone far on arrangements for the seminars.

"Only recently, we held an interactive session with journalists in respect of the seminar. We are now working towards the new dates". Edozie said.

MTN, through Enterprise Solution Seminar seeks to enable Nigerian business leaders to comprehend the challenges business leaders all over the world are faced with, especially in the context of the challenge in the developing world, and how organizations in economies like ours have taken huge steps in changing the way we think and operate.

In essence, the seminar would enable business leaders to comprehend the role of business in community development in underdeveloped countries like Nigeria and how organizations can turn developmental challenges in their local environment to positive opportunities for their organizations.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Women and ICT

Features of the week:

To omit Information and Communications Technology in a 10-point resolution of a global gathering of women is one omission too many, reports REMMY NWEKE.

THUS the 49th session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) ended its two-week meeting in the United States (US), recently without inclusion of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) among its 10-point resolution adopted as action plan for women.

Though the high-level profile conference was to appraise 10 years of focused measures for gender equality and advancement of women after the inaugural meeting in Beijing in 1995, also known as Beijing+10, it ended by raising some hopes as well as disappointments.

All these sentiments were based on the declarations adopted which centred on women, the girl-child and HIV/AIDS; on reducing demand for trafficking women and girls from all forms of exploitation; on a special rapporteur on laws that discriminated against women; and on mainstreaming a gender perspective into national policies and programmes, as well as integrating a gender perspective in post-disaster relief efforts, with particular reference to the tsunami disaster.

Other resolutions passed by the CSW included the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women; strengthening of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW); economic advancement for women; situation of women and girls in Afghanistan and on indigenous women.

The programme manager Feminist Movements and Organisations at the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, Ms Lydia Alpiar, described the outcome presided over by Korean, Ms. Kyung-wha Kang, as something worth celebrating, which obviously was before realizing that ICT was missing in the Beijing+10 declaration.

But the exclusion of ICT specific action plan in the first 10-point adopted was an indication that ICT was of less priority to the women folk, given the high level of representations globally.

ITRealms Online gathered that this CSW session which held from February 28 to March 11, 2005, was graced by about 80 ministers, mostly women; with over 1800 government delegates from 168 member states of the UN. This was in addition to representatives from UN agencies, multilateral institutions and over 2,600 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). While some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) took part both as observers and as part of government delegation.

In other words, it means that ICT does not rank among its top-10 agenda, at this Information Society (IS) era, which revolution is based on evolving ICT tools deployment and usage. Hence, this tends to further widen the gap between the womenfolk and the rest of the world, which is suspected to be high, and does not help in bridging the digital divide.

One wonders , therefore, how best to achieve the adopted resolutions optimally without ICT, especially when it all centres on emancipation and empowerment based on information which is very critical at this time.

So, the only way to really advance genuine causes in this era must be hinged on ICT deployment to exchange information in matter of seconds, And for the gender-sensitive global assembly of women to omit this was an oversight too many.

Irked by this development, coordinator, Gender and ICT Policy Monitor at the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), Ms. Katerina Fialova, in an online based Gender Issues in warm-up to the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), slated to hold in Tunis, in November this year, and otherwise known as Gewsis-implementation, she decried the miss and said, it is critical to engage local grassroots women’s group within diverse ICTs arenas.
Daring to proffer a defense, she attributed the omission to over-loading of the gender movement with other burning issues, though she agreed that ICT may not have been “identified as a priority by them (women) as clearly documented by silence around Section J of the Beijing Platform for action”.

The coordinator stressed that women needed to be part of the processes that define the use of ICT.

She noted that long-term implication would be difficult to decipher generally, even as there are limited analysis of how such issues as women poverty, political empowerment are affected by ICT policy and technological concepts.

Consequently, the best remains to involve more women within ICT for the need to impact technical terms and link ICT policy issues to a very serious issues for women.

ICT advisor to the African Development Consultant, Ms Nnenna Nwakanma, described women as producers of content, consumers, developers and capacity builders in the field.

Though she thinks women are gradually embracing ICT to an appreciable height in Nigeria, just as each woman has a unique life made up of work, family, education, money, health to mention a few.

For Nwakanma, it is ICT that needs to go rural to reach the communities through infrastructure deployment in order to reach women and children.

Whilst other issues including basic education, electricity, affordability, content and the linkage between ICT and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), could now follow. She opined that funding for rural infrastructure development could come from government, the organized private sector (OPS), foreign donors and recovered loot.

Ms Nwanneka Akabuike of the Nigerian-based Knowledge House Africa, pointed out that ICT has been all men’s affair in the labour circle, policy making and access opportunities. She campaigned for setting up of a separate fund to be channeled toward ICT concerns and managed by women.

And considering that some people work for long hours and even at weekends within ICT sector, she noted, “Such policies do not have the interest of women at heart”. Warning that women involvement in ICT may decline if nothing is done urgently, just as she maintained, “If women are not involved in policy making on solidarity funds (such as Digital Solidarity Fund) initiative, they may find it difficult to access the fund and the conditions attached also may be unfavourable”.

Senior Project Manager, Sun Microsystems Incorporated, United States, Ms. Sobana Iyengar, told ITRealms Online that between developed and developing nations, the trend has steadily been changing positively. She believes this would eventually hit the climax when virtually everyone realizes that ICT is a tool capable of stimulating businesses at all levels and learn to use them.

“Entrepreneurship is the key to success for rural programmes,” she said, declaring, “If ICT could help a woman farmer or artisan to sell the produce, definitely it is a buy”.

For Director-General, National Center for Women Development (NCWD) Abuja, Mrs. Esther Mangzha, in an address to a women workshop recently, the role of ICT in education of the girl-child is imperative and has become a defining contemporary force and transformation not only in women but education in all spheres of human endeavour.

In addition to calling on the government to introduce special scholarships for the girls, to study computer sciences, Mrs. Mangzha said, mothers should be encouraged to be, at least, computer literate, even as women and girls should network to keep themselves abreast of events globally and locally.

As said by the immediate past Minister of Women Affairs, Obong Rita Akpan at the workshop on women during the African Preparatory Meeting in Abuja last July, ICT revolution is unlike any other revolutions before now, in that, it is very gender sensitive, even as it is a fact some women today lead many influential ICT firms.

And if well utilized, the revolution is capable of lifting African women as it were into higher level of prosperity with abundant access to knowledge, which indeed is power.

Also dwelling on the need to have women involvement in ICT, especially on proposals for policy making, Senior Operations Officer at the World Bank Group, Global ICT, Ms Samia Melhem, opted for two core categories, namely on MDGs and supporting role of ICT in accelerating the required transformation.

Women, she said, could use ICT to accelerate the realization of MDGs, pointing out that women as producers of the content and knowledge will transform into a national indicator and statistics - related to specific MDGs.

“The first role is that of consumer and would be easier to implement with programmes relating to education, content creation and then funding,” she said.

Stressing on the need to come out with implementation and financing discussions towards achieving some women proposals on ICT to attract good political support, positive result and transformation for the gender.

Therefore, the omission of ICT in the agenda and probably in the resolution of women gathering of such caliber of elite is suicidal, even as it amounts to living in this century without women; given that virtually everything now revolves around ICT.

Thus, it calls for the declaration of state of emergency for women in ICT, if all manner of marginalisation against gender is to be effectively addressed.

Ekuwem wins Albert Einstein’s centenary award

PRESIDENT of the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) and chief executive, Teledom Group, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, has been conferred with the prestigious Albert Einstein’s Centenary award of excellence as a distinguished scientist and science-and-technology policy maker in a ceremony held at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife, at the weekend.

The award was organized by the Nigerian Institute of Physics Council and was awarded to Ekuwem for his solid support for the sound development of the methods, concepts and forces of Physics in the country.

This, the organizers also said was in recognition of his excellent career, which has impressive track record of activities and accomplishments.

Champion Infotel gathered that Dr. Ekuwem emerged winner at the conclusion of screening of nominees by judges of the Special Committee of National Institute of Physics Council, which described him as a great achiever through a national research.

“You are a leader in providing networking solutions and full internet connectivity to institutions, state and federal government agencies, and companies in Nigeria,” a press statement from the organizer read.

The council also pointed out his contributions in making benefit of the Information Technology is widely available to millions of fellow countrymen.

Emphasising that Dr. Ekuwem is a pride of the Nigerian Institute of Physics, who has won several accolades, hence he is worthy of the recognition, the council said, declaring “Thus earning him the Albert Einstein’s Centenary award of excellence”.

Einstein’s Relativity Theory of 1905 remains a landmark and has impacted on the study of Science in general and on Physics in particular.

In addition, Dr. Ekuwem, has won the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) in 2003 amidst other awards.

Activities marking the event saw the assemblage of scions of knowledge including the Director-General of the Abuja Science and Technology Park, Dr. Coker, who represented the Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Turner Isoun, Vice Chancellor of OAU, Prof. R.O.A. Makanjuola, Head, Physics Department, Prof. J.B. Olomo, member, International Organisation Committee, World Year of Physics at the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Dr. Minnela Alarcon, and the National President of the Nigerian Institute of Physics Council, Prof. S.F.A. Akande among others.While the guest lecturer, Prof. Wale Omole, former Vice Chancellor of OAU dwelt on Agriculture ePhysics.

St. Moritz dangles Nokia, LG stylish products

IN keeping with its stylish form, the St. Moritz promo, win-in-style, is dangling of Nokia and Log’s stylish telecommunication and home entertainment projects as prizes for this year’s edition.

The promotion, according to the organizers, British American Tobacco (BATNL) is consumer oriented, thus it aims to further reward loyalty to the St. Moritz brand.

BATNL explained the choice of Nokia and LG products as prizes, saying it is to further strengthen St. Mortiz ownership of the style platform, “because it is a general consensus among consumers that Nokia and LG have various ranges of products that are stylish, sophisticated and are manufactured to the highest international standard,” a press statement from the organizers read.

At the 10 regional draws, spread across the six geo-political zones of the country, 30 stylish Nokia 6260 mobile phones, 10 LG’s 29” Plasma screen television sets and 20 LG’s Digital Video Display (DVD) with five-speaker systems would be up for grab.

In the national grand draw expected to take place in Port Harcourt three LG’s 29” Plasma screen TV sets and home theatre systems would also be won respectively.

The organizers further said that Nokia mobile phone is ahead beyond the ruggedness and various functions that is the general trademark of brands.

Therefore, Nokia 6260 was chosen as the regional prizes by the St. Moritz ‘Win-in-Style’ promo as one of the most stylish Nokia handset in the market.

With its flip that rotates 3600 and other attributes such as the still and video cameras to record memorable events, Media Player (MP-3) which could record equally long hour music for the listening pleasures of the user, making the handset a delight.

UNESCO, Alcatel sign deal on space-for-science

UNITED Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and telecommunications equipment supplier, Alcatel space, has signed a deal to enhance the scientific cooperation in the South-East Europe.

According to a press statement made available to Champion Infotel, the deal was to facilitate UNESCO participation in the ‘space-for-science’ project funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and implemented by Alcatel space.

The project is a continuation of the ESA “MediaSpace” project in which UNESCO also participates as a user group.

Space-for-Science project utilizes a research framework in satellite technologies to provide scientific institutes of South-East Europe with satellite communication and information services as a mean of cooperation with scientific communities in the European Union and worldwide.

The project has been designed to provide connectivity and services in the areas of South-East Europe that are not being reached by fibre optic networks.

This was part of the UNESCO initiative to strengthen scientific cooperation in South-East Europe which was launched by the UN agency in Venice in year 2001.

UNESCO explained that the project would focus on the creation, animation and coordination of scientific groups that undertake joint scientific and education activities in fields selected for their potential benefit to participating countries.

It would enhance the services to be provided by using a platform developed within the project by adding a content management component to allow enhanced data storage and search, replication functions and provide new releases of the portal, e-learning, collaborative work functions with simple user operating interface (SSO).

Also the project would strive to augment the network capabilities of the system by adding two way Digital Video Broadcasting, Return Channel via Satellite (DVB-RCS) transmission means and management featuring users, services including Virtual Private Network (VPN), space capacity.

To develop a strategic plan, UNESCO said it would market the study, business plan and funding strategy while attracting industrial partners to the project in order to prepare the commercial use of the platform.

As well, UNESCO is to ensure communication on the project for and by the ministers concerned and through related international conferences prepare the expansion of the project over Europe initially and beyond in a second phase.

During the pilot period of the project expected to last till the end of this year, 20 scientific institutions from South-East Europe will be equipped with satellite communication infrastructure and two-way services that is accessible to the Internet and the European research and academic network GEANT, access to specialized information databases and journals, content distribution and publishing, distance-learning, computing, video-conference, virtual laboratory.

The role of the institutions participating in the project, UNESCO said would be to use and evaluate the infrastructure and services in their daily activities in cooperation with worldwide scientific communities.

Give us tax relief – NCS

UMBRELLA body of Information Technology (IT) professionals in the country, the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), has urged the government to assist the organized private sector (OPS) by offering of tax relief.

This is coming as NCS also advised the National Assembly to expedite action on the nation’s IT bill.

NCS in a communiqué after its recent Annual General Meeting (AGM), said this relief has become imperative to enhance software engineering practice for result-oriented academic-industry collaboration.

President, NCS, Dr. Chris Nwannenna, was quoted in the communiqué as saying that government should also deploy models and optimize techniques capable of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the private and public utilities, such as electricity, water supply, petroleum and gas supply, educational planning and management in addition to criminal justice.

The body also canvassed for a better funding of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

This, NCS said, would enhance the chances of NITDA achieving its primary objectives, which include the provision of digital access to relevant organizations, comprising the academic and government parastatals.

NCS, in a 15-point communiqué also observed that current curricular of IT programmes in the nation’s tertiary institutions were generally obsolete.

“This deficiency is further reinforced by the absence of qualified and experienced IT lecturers and state-of-the-art laboratories,” NCS said.

The federal government was therefore, urged to increase the vote to the tertiary institutions for tools to improve the production of skilled manpower in IT for both local and international consumption.

Ekhator excited by eclemo.com growth

VICE President, eClemo Nigeria Limited, Mr. Clement Ekhator, has expressed his happiness over the progress made so far by its business-to-business portal.

The portal, www.eclemo.com is an online market place for buyers, sellers and electronic intermediary service providers.

Champion Infotel recalls that recently the management of eClemo announced that the portal has recorded over 50,000 visitors daily.

This, Mr. Ekhator said was an existing development, coming few months after the portal made its debut.

“We’re happy at the progress we have made so far and the responses have been tremendous,” he asserted.

eClemo boss also said that it gladdens the heart that many Nigerian internet savvy are now aware that a place exist where they could advertise their products and services free-of-charge.

Stressing that the portal is not only about buying and selling, but allows for contacts, advert placement and job search for those in the labour market to get out of the labour queues, even as the portal enable job search in and outside the nation’s shores.

“Currently one could only get to the physical marketplace to first of all look for the product that you want to buy and then hope to find the kind of colour and quality that you are looking for,” he said.

Emphasising that the site provides the perfect meeting point to carry out business transactions.

“We’re solving this problem by creating the opportunity to see and buy products via a click on the Internet, Mr. Ekhator said.

LG unwraps Techno World in Lagos

LG Electronics, has officially unveiled its second digital center in the country, named Techno World at the highbrow area of Victoria Island in Lagos State.

The center, is coming a year after the initial digital center was opened in May at the Ikeja area of the state.

President, LG Electronics for West Africa, Mr. Tae Hun Ryu, said, Techno World offers Nigerians a unique opportunity of learning Information Technology (IT) to be manned by experts from the company at no cost.

Although the course is opened to people of all ages, he noted that the focus is on the youth, who are the leaders of tomorrow.

Some of the course content offers at Techno World consist of Windows XP, Word, Excel, Power Point, Internet, Photoshop and Multimedia.

Restating LG’s commitment to the nation, Mr. Ryu said that the new facility is designed with a class room that accommodates 25 persons at once, and is expected that over 75 people could be trained everyday of the week.

He explained that unlike the digital center at Ikeja, Techno World is LG Electronics _expression of commitment to the IT growth in the country.

Mr. Ryu described the Techno World as a point of IT transfer to the nation, stressing that everything in the place is IT-driven and focusing on telecommunication and technology.

“The training programme is IT skill acquisition and development for young Nigerians,” he asserted.

The fully air conditioned facility already has 25 laptops, LM 40 and 50, which are attached to each desk of prospective students.

LG Electronics also noted that its investment so far has been very deliberate in the last coupe 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.

Fresh hands join Linkserve to boost repositioning

Remmy Nweke
IN continuation of its repositioning exercise, Linkserve Limited, the nation’s premier Internet Service Provider (ISP), has strengthen its management team by employing six new seasoned sales and marketing professionals.

Disclosing this to Champion Infotel, the Corporate Affairs Manager at Linkserve, Mrs. Ufoma ‘Daro, said the company recently employed a crop of seasoned sales and marketing managers as well as a financial adviser to move its business to the next level.

She said that the new managers include Mr. Vincent Akhimien as Channel Manager, Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT), Mr. Fatai Alugo as head, VSAT Consumer Sales, West, Mr. Ayo Folagbade, Manager, Corporate VSAT sales, Mr. Leo Ikeson, Manager, VSAT Consumer Sales, Mr. Adeyinka Junaid, Channel Manager, Dial-Up, and Mr. Kenneth Onwudinjo, Financial Adviser.

According to Mrs. ‘Daro their employment was a strategic move to enable Linkserve provide better services for its esteemed customers nationwide.

She said that prior to his appointment, Mr. Akhimein, was the Sales Manager, Engineering products at UTC Nigeria Plc, where he had also worked as Sales Manager at General Telecom Plc and Unilever Nigeria.

Mr. Akhimein holds an MBA from LASU will bringing his wealth of experience in sales and marketing to better serve Linkserve’s VSAT customers.

She noted that Mr. Alugo, who holds a B.Sc in biological sciences and a masters degree in International relations was former regional sales manager at Tripple Gee and Company before joining Linkserve as head, VSAT consumer sales, West.

In addition, Mr. Alugo had worked as the marketing manager, NEET Nigeria Limited and Mabreta Electronics.

Similarly, the new manager corporate VSAT sales, Mr. Ayo Folagbade, holds a B.Sc degree in engineering and a masters in business administration, with a wealth of experience in sales.

Before now, Mr. Folagbade had worked as the manager of customer services at Xnet Security Technologies Limited, and as a general manager at Labyet Polaris.

Also, the manager, VSAT Consumer sales, Mr. Leo Ikeson, holds a B.Sc in political science with a wealth of experience in sales and marketing.

Previously Mr. Ikeson had worked as the sales and marketing manager at Koochi Communications Limited, and had worked at IntraCom International Services as the head of sales, marketing and business development.

Mrs. ‘Daro also disclosed that to take the company’s dial up services to greater heights, is the new Dial up Channel Manager, Mr. Yinka Junaid, an experienced marketer, who was the Managing Consultant at Mark Calthers Consulting before joining Linkserve.

Mr. Junaid also worked as a Senior Consultant with Vic Lawrence and Associates, in addition to having worked in Linkserve as the Head, Dial up business, Coordinator of Channel Partners and Branch Manager at the company’s branch office.

Equally engaged is an experienced financial analyst, Mr. Kenneth Onwudinjo, who would be working as financial adviser for Linkserve.

Before now, Mr. Onwudinjo had worked as the senior manager, strategic planning and business development at Coscharis Group Limited and as principal accountant, NIDB Trustees Limited whereas he holds a B.Sc in Accounting with several professional qualifications.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

ICT must go rural to boost usage – Expert

INFORMATION and Communications Technology (ICT), must go into the rural areas so as to close the gap between city and rural dwellers especially women, according to ICT advisor to the African Development Consultant, Ms. Nnenna Nwakanma.

In an exclusive interview with Champion Infotel, she said that rural women need not do any thing extra ordinary to access ICT, but pointed out that whenever the relevant infrastructure are made available to them, they have no choice than to embrace it holistically.

Therefore, “It’s ICT that needs to become rural to be accessed by residents in such areas,” she said.

Ms Nwakanma also pointed out that other issues required to be addressed include basic education, electricity, affordability, content and the linkage between ICT and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) initiative.

For her, the fund to facilitate this dream of providing ICT access for the local people could come from the government budget implemented to the letter, the organsied private sector (OPS), foreign donors, recuperate loot among others.

She argued that every one of these have a role to play in ensuring that women generally benefit from ICT revolution currently going on in the country, especially for the rural communities.

“Government, regulators, the OPS and foreign donors in capacity building must join hands,” to facilitate adequate networking, support to the civil society organisations (CSOs), in this venture of reaching out to the communities across the divide.

Additionally, Ms Nwakanma said it would give boost to research and development, even strengthen the role of the civil society.

ANIEBONAM: ICT bridge builder

HE is an authority in Information Technology (IT). And with his knowledge in the field, he is at the fore-front of ensuring that Nigeria becomes a leading IT nation.

For him, the task of making Nigeria a global force is one that must be done.
No doubt, Prof. Emmanuel Chukwunonso Aniebonam is one of the few gifts of Nigeria to the IT world.

Currently, he has been mobilizing Nigerians in the diaspora via the Nigerian Information Technology Professionals in the Americas (NITPA), of which, he is the president, with a view to bridging the digital divide between Nigeria and the rest of the world.

It was through NITPA that he intervened in 2004, following the crisis surrounding the controversial hosting of the nation’s country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), dot ng, by deploying internet technology, to bring to a round table, the warring parties.

He spearheaded the first Global IT Roundtable held in Lagos in 2003 and a second leg which was held in the last quarter of the year in the United States of America in collaboration with the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), hence, industry watchers were not surprised when he was honoured with the NCS’ ‘Brain Gain Ambassador’ award in 2003, in recognition of his contributions to IT in the country.

On January 13, 2005, he brokered a deal between University of Nigeria (UNN) and AfriHub for the establishment of ICT parks at its two campuses in Enugu and Nsukka.

The parks were established by AfriHub Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of AfriHub LLC, a US-based company jointly owned by SkyTerra Communications, Zinox Technologies Ltd and Rainbownet Ltd.

This heralded the commencement of the proposed 40 ICT parks to be established in Nigeria by AfriHub before the end of 2006.

Prof. Aniebonam, had informed that the UNN launch would be followed by another launch of ICT Parks in the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO); Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka, to complete the South East rollout of AfriHub ICT parks.

Manny, as he is called by friends, also disclosed that the ICT Park train will soon move to the South West where four additional centres have been slated for launch before the end of this year.

Later, the train would head to the North East, and North Central regions where over eighth centres would be opened.

Each park has state-of-the-art cyber centre with more than 200 Personal Computers (PCs), high speed internet access, a multi-line call centre for high quality domestic and international telephony, and campus-wide wireless extension for future growth.

Every park would also have computer and multimedia equipped classrooms for a US instructor-led technical training.

Manny is currently serving as the Executive Vice President, AfriHub Limited Liability Company (LLC) based in Fairfax, Virginia, USA, after glowing years at the George Washington University’s (GWU) Faculty of Computer Information Systems’ Management Science Department, as an assistant professor since August 2001.

He had held the same post at Howard University School of Business, Computing Information Systems and Analysis, Washington DC, between August 1997 and July 2001.
Manny completed his Ph.D in 1997 at The George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Prior to joining the academia, he had sixteen years working experience in Fortune 100 companies as Information Systems Developer, Database Administrator, IT Consultant and Project Manager, with expert knowledge of information systems development, deployment and support.

His involvement with the IT industry made him a dynamic contributor in quest for using scholastic research findings for the development of database applications in Management Information Systems (MIS).

Prof. Aniebonam’s research interests include performance issues in distributed databases over Wide Area Networks (WAN), application of Information Systems methods to higher education, and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) policy intervention towards global digital divide.

A long-time member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE’s), Computer Society, as well as a recipient of Softworks’ Inc ‘Service Award for Professional Excellence’; Mobil Oil Corporation’s Award for Technical Excellence, and a 2001 Department of Defence (DoD) Eagle Award for development of application software used by the U.S Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL), Prof. Aniebonam’s works in other areas of interest are published in diverse Information Technology journals.

His contributions to academia cut across different areas through engagement on digital divide issues in collaboration with major global NGO’s, such as the United Nations (UN), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Teachers Without Boarders; Conference Committee services. He is also a contributor and paper reviewer for Information Society (IS) publications.

His pre-doctoral engagement in IT industry include working as project consultant for a major Year 2000 conversion responsible for identifying, correcting, and testing of over 1500 programmes in a Federal Government agency to ensure that the MIS/DSS are Y2K compliant, among others.

Having specialized in Accounting/Information Systems in his first degree from the State University of New York, in 1981, he got a Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Computer Science from the same university.

He crowned it with a Doctor of Science in Computing Information Systems at The George Washington University, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Washington DC, in 1997.

His research interests encompasses curriculum development, programme content review and analysis, distance learning tools development, application and measurements, digital divide intervention strategies in diverse environment and groups, global software management practices, database management in distributed client/server environments.

His published materials include "Global software project management: Lessons from the past"; "Exploring the relationship between global practices and local interests: Case of IT-based reorganization within the Nigerian banking industry", "Effective use of distance learning towards bridging the digital divide"; "Towards information technology support for special users in developing countries: Bridging the digital gap for the disabled", among others.

So far, he has developed six teaching courses namely: Systems Analysis and Design – Senior level course on systems design & implementation, Software project management – senior Level course on Software Project planning, control and resource management, database management – senior level course on logical and physical database design, comparative operating systems – graduate level class on OS Design, functions and performance, Management Information Systems – (MIS) concepts, application and development, and Introduction to Computer Concepts and Applications – basic course on computer concepts.

As a teacher, he has carved a niche for himself by successfully introducing new and industry IT tools in the classroom, including application of modern software tools (ORACLE, SQL/SERVER, HTML, SQL and XML), at Howard University – 1999 to 2000. He also applied software industry standard tools at the GW SBPM MIST classes by utilizing Microsoft software acquired through grant, for teaching excellence (Office 2000, Vision 2000, Visual Basic, InterDev, J++, C++, etc).

He belongs to the following professional associations: United Nations Digital Divide Network (UNDDN), 2001 till date; Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), since 1990; Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), 1983 till date and Association of Information Systems since 1999.

Prof. Aniebonam served as board member, Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users Group, 1994 – 1999, Mobil Oil Corporation, "Lube Systems TQM Award", 1994, and was cited in Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges, 1981.

Other professional and academic awards bagged by the 48-year-old IT guru, include the Howard University School of Business Teacher of the Year, (for three consecutive years, from 1999 to 2001); Howard University School of Business’ 2000 Computer Information Systems Most Valuable Professor; Who’s Who Among American Teachers (2000); Excellence in Academic Service Award, Regents College, (June 2000); Howard University School of Business’ Computer Information Systems Most Valuable Instructor for 1999; and Technical Competency Award at Softworks Inc. (1996).

*This piece written by REMMY NWEKE, Senior Reporter, was published as ICON on page 2, Daily Champion, Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Afam Edozie, Mr. MTN quits

Remmy Nweke
The uncertainty surrounding the state of the pioneer Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), MTN Nigeria, Mr. Afam Edozie, has been rested as he confirmed to ITrealms of his resignation which takes effect end of August.

Read more: http://www.itrealms.blogspot.com/

This followed the alleged resignation or sack of the man, otherwise known as Mr. MTN Nigeria at the weekend.

MTN Nigeria is a subsidiary of the MTN Group which has recorded unprecedented market growth in the last four years to the tune of over six million subscribers.

Although the External Communications Manager at MTN Nigeria, Mr. Andrew Okeleke when contacted was silent on the ‘rumour’ but preferred to differ his response to the inquiry till tomorrow, Monday, when he must have gotten enough information on the issue and official directive to react.

However, the report has it that Mr. Edozie filed a three-month notice of resignation to his employer, MTN, and was not on any form of duress to do so.

But in reaction to inquiry by ITrealms, Mr. Edozie said he actually submitted his letter of notice of resignation since last June, which means that he would be leaving precisely by the end of this month, August to devote full time to his brain-child known as FiCres Capital, a venture capital firm.

He also plans to launch FiCres by the beginning of next year.

In his words, “Y’ello. I handed in my notice in June and will be leaving end of August. I have been working on my own firm, a venture capital firm called FiCres Capital and plan to launch our first company in the new year,” he told ITrealms.

He did not however, attribute his resignation to any form of allegations of MTN running an ‘Apartheid’ policies against its Nigeria staff.

Mr. Edozie is reportedly one of the remaining faces of top Nigerians in the management of MTN Nigeria and with this development, MTN is keenly in search of a replacement for him.

The outgoing chief marketing and strategy officer, has experiences spanning over 15 years in marketing and strategic management cutting across Virgin, Procter & Gamble and Motorola in Europe.

Educated at the King's College Lagos, and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Lagos (UNILAG), both in Lagos-Nigeria.

ITrealms recalls that on Monday, April 25, 2005, MTN Nigeria announced the sack of its two top management staff, namely the Chief Network Group, Mr. Dan Elesho and the Capital Programmes Group, Mr. Christopher Sergeant.

Although the two were said to be always in conflict with each other in performing of their duties, which did not go down well with the management, hence the relief of their duties.

The company has in recent times witnessed protests by some Nigerians over what was termed indiscriminate sack of Nigerians in the MTN country office and replacing same with South Africans.

An act activist said would not be allowed in another country including South Africa.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The bridge across digital divide

ITrealms features of the week:

Finding an alternative fund route to improve the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure in the country could help in bridging the digital divide. REMMY NWEKE in this report examines the way out.

FRUSTRATED at trying to reach out to her business partner, Ms Nneamaka Odiegwu in the city of Port Harcourt, for an urgent assignment on mobile phone, Ms Aminat Tunde, received a voice prompt that the number was out of the network coverage area.

The mobile phone has since become a form of identity for city dwellers but still a luxury for rural dwellers.

Ms Tunde had thought it was a network problem and decided to send her partner an electronic mail (e-mail), but two-days later Ms Odiegwu was no where to be seen or heard.

On the third day, Ms Tunde made up her mind to report to the nearest police station by mid-day that her partner was missing.

Fortunately by 11.30am, she got a call on her handset and on reaching the phone, she saw Ms Odiegwu’s Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) number, just for Ms Odiegwu to give apologies for the French leave she took without intimating her before travelling on an emergency to her village, Umuosite, a rural community in Anambra State over night.

According to Ms Odiegwu, there was neither GSM nor an internet access any where near the community, which is about 25 kilometres from the capital city of Anambra State, Awka. Therefore, she could not access any of those facilities whilst at the village.

This goes to reaffirm the report by the Nigerian Population Commission that estimated 75 per cent of the nation’s population reside in the rural areas. It goes further to stress the need to extend telecommunications infrastructure to these areas if the drive to really bridge the digital divide is anything to go by.

Defined as the gap between the rich and poor, the ‘haves and have nots’, digital divide has become a thorn in the flesh between the even ICT development in the cities and rural communities as well as their dwellers.

This problem has continued to hurt developing countries like Nigeria where if you dare travel from the city to a rural area, one is automatically cut off from the evolving global village built on Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

Lamenting this disparity, telecom expert and President, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, advocated for the leveraging of the Small and Medium Enterprises Equity Investment Scheme (SMEEIs) by stakeholders, which is 10 per cent after tax fund pool of Nigeria companies, saying a better percentage should be made available for ICT companies and investors at large to support infrastructural growth.

According to the telecommunications regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), as at March 31, 2005, the nation has 32 licensed Local Exchange Operators and 37-fixed telephony in the Private Network Link (PNL).

Equally within the PNL category, NCC has 58 licensees deploying Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) for domestic market and another 47 VSAT firms to serve as hubs and the international market; four National Long Distance operators, two national telecom carriers, three metropolitan fibre cable network providers, coupled with 22 fixed wireless access (FWA) operators.

Worrisome though, is that all of these licensees have offices located in most cities such as Abuja and 36-state capitals and a few in urban centers like Onitsha. This leaves about 34 states to scramble for any telecom service that comes their way.

Apart from the GSM companies trying to lay telecommunications infrastructural pipes nationwide, brought about by sector deregulation over four years ago, and now led by the second national operator (SNO), Globacom Limited, the nation in the words of some operators, has virtually no infrastructure in existence.

This was traced to high-handedness of the management of the first national operator, Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) by the government over the years, which still left the organization apparently at a stand-still, despite several changes done in recent times and its unveiling of the Internet Protocol (IP) wholesale, of which the dividend is yet to be seen especially in infrastructure provision and rural areas precisely.

While some ICT experts were asking for 50 per cent of the granted debt relief gains to be used for backbone development, it would also be wise enough for the nation to use the same percentage from any loot recovered, such as the Abachas and Tafa-gate among others, when eventually rested, as well as some percentages from the crude oil excess money, which has been the major export of Nigeria.

In addition, National Assembly needs to expedite action by passing the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) bill, currently before it, which includes among others the setting aside of two per cent, after tax from companies whose profits are in excess of N100 million turnover in the country.

The two per cent is to be channelled into National IT Development Fund (NITDF), just like the Education Trust Fund (ETF) is to the education sector which provides relevant development facilities including infrastructure.

NITDA was set up in March 2001 to implement the National IT policy of the federal government and up till now the bill is yet to receive green lights in spite of the efforts of the pioneer Director-General, late Prof. Gabriel Ajayi.

This is more apt now that Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF) is being touted as a solution for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), which is expected to get contributions from a penny per international communication tool sold in United States, $1 each per purchase of a personal computer, software and piece of network equipment among voluntary contributions from the private sector.

And by endorsing NITDA’s bill an alternative funding for the industry, the scanty fund currently experienced would become an old story while improving and making funds available to facilitate the backbone infrastructure for ICT penetration locally, in our nation that has over 150 million people and is still growing.

Based on experience, most development funds are mismanaged despite the obvious implications in today’s economies, which are knowledge-based. This further demonstrates the need to enthrone ICT into governance, beyond political deliverables at campaigns and public functions.

Moreso, as this year in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) declaration represents the first milestone of the eight goals with a focus on goal 3, targeted at Gender Equality by the end of 2005.

On the other hand, most hit by the yearning gap of digital divide are women and children in rural areas, and regardless of the wisdom beneath the adage; ‘Train a woman, you train a nation’ this group still suffers various forms of marginalisation including lack of information.

For instance, the maternal mortality rate of Nigeria, according to the Senior Special Assistant to Mr. President on MDGs, Mrs. Amina J. Ibrahim, at the National Economic Summit Group (NESG) policy dialogue on Nigeria and MDGs last July in Lagos, ranks among the top, especially with the literacy rate just over 50 per cent, leaving over 50 million people, most of whom she said, are illiterate women.

Despite the presence of the Assistance for the Development of Telecommunication Industry in Africa, (INDAFTEL) in collaboration with the African Telecommunication Union (ATU), International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the federal government under the Ministry of Communications, the nation’s entrepreneurs are yet to tap into this initiative after over one year of its proclamation.

From Nigeria to Zaire, from Cote d’Ivoire through Kenya down to Malawi, the story of looting of public funds and corruption is the same and most democracies at this time support recovery of such funds, therefore, nations like Nigeria could definitely find her way out of the woods of digital divide by proper utilization of some of these monies, at least, for public good and future of the country.

Chambas to address NACOSS workshop

Executive Secretary, Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS), Dr. Ibn Mohammed Chambas, would give the key note address at the first North Central Zonal workshop being organized by the National Association of Computer Science Students (NACOSS) in Ilorin, Kwara State.

National President, NACOSS, Mr. Olusegun Olutayo, disclosed this to Champion Infotel, said the title of the two-day workshop is Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for National Economic Empowerment Development (ICT4NEED).

Dr. Chambas, he said, would dwell on the ‘Building Intellectual Capacity for Sustainable Development in the new order economy: Challenges and prospects’.

Whereas the venue for the two-day event has been slated to hold at the University of Ilorin permanent site between Wednesday 24 through Thursday 25, August, this year.

He also said that already NACOSS is enjoying the support of the industry stakeholders led by the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and includes the Nigeria Online Limited (NIGOL), Microsoft Nigeria, Nigerian Ports
Authority as well as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

NACOSS, the President said equally has the support of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), InfoGraphics and ECOWAS.

Participants, he said, would be drawn from NACOSS membership nationwide, even as he promised the event to be rewarding.

This workshop, he explained is the second to be organized by NACOSS nation, having recently hosted the South-East zone at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), just as he assured the workshop would touch-ground at all the six geo-political zones of the country.

Diversinet explains deal with VeriSign

Chief Executive of Diversinet, Nagy Moustafa, has adduced reasons for the firm’s recent licensing of MobiSecure to VeriSign, even as the introduction of the product is for corporate benefit of the company and its customers.

The company has also raked in some $330,000 in second quarter of this year.

Stating this at the unveiling of the firm’s second quarter results for 2005, the CEO said, “Since we refocused the
company in January of 2005, there has been an enthusiastic industry response to the opportunity to use our MobiSecure products and services to protect corporate profits, brand equity, and consumer confidence in on-line services”.

MobiSecure, he said is proving to be an effective and low-cost strong authentication solution upon which businesses could develop innovative solutions to address the threat of identity theft.

He also said the firm has extensively expanded its network of distribution through engaging partners led by VeriSign on OEM deal.

OEM is the abbreviation for the Original Equipment Manufacturer, which is a term for a company that has a special relationship with the original producer by way of purchasing in bulk and customizing same for a particular application.

Diversinet, a leading provider of mobile device security and authentication solutions for the mobile data and on-line ecosystems, said it has commenced focus on the evolving protection and trust needs of mobile users.

These financial results, the company said reflected the shift in focus and time, which has now required to rebuilding of its sales and marketing efforts, as well as the customer base.

Revenues for the quarter, he said was $330,000, compared to $611,000 in the second quarter of 2004.

The net loss for the quarter, he explained, was $1,458,000, or $0.08 per share, compared to the 2004, second quarter loss of $1,347,000 or $0.11 per share.

Included in the Q2 net losses are stock-based compensation, depreciation and amortization expenses of $522,000 ($349,000 in Q2 2004).

Cash used in continuing operations for the second quarter was $661,000, a decrease from the $884,000 used in the second quarter of 2004 and $789,000 in the first quarter of 2005.

In the second quarter of 2005, Diversinet entered into an OEM licensing agreement with VeriSign, Inc. to deliver its OATH-compliant suite of mobile tokens and mobile authentication services for distribution by VeriSign with the VeriSign Unified Authentication solution.

By licensing Diversinet’s MobiSecure soft token product suite for the VeriSign entails the company to provide enterprises, banks, online service providers and retailers with a cost-effective means to provide strong authentication protection to their customers, business partners and employees.

President of Diversinet, Kashif Hassan, said “Diversinet is delivering the business infrastructure and product solutions that customers need to address the challenges of identity theft, phishing and on-line fraud.”

He also said that the licensing agreement with VeriSign provides distribution channels and validation services that complement the growing line of MobiSecure soft token products and associated provisioning and management services.

“We believe that we are still on schedule to deliver pilot activity in the second half of 2005,” he said in a press statement from the company.

Digital Congress gets October date

FOLLOWING the success recorded with the annual Financial Internet Technology Exhibition and Conference (FINTEX-05), the organizers, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) is to host a one-day Digital Congress for the youth in Lagos.

The event, according to the NIG President, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, is being scheduled for October, basically for youth of the nation to further enlighten them on the need to bridge the digital divide.

He also informed that the congress would be co-hosted in collaboration with other non-governmental organizations in the country, along with the support of good spirited individuals and corporate organizations.

The congress, which is mainly focusing on youth, he said, would be a free entry one-day show, and has been slated for October this year, even as more details would soon be made available.

Champion Infotel gathered that the congress may be hold on October 1, to commemorate the nation’s 45th independent day.

Meanwhile, the first-ever FINTEX-05, has been described as a successful event.

Dr. Ekuwem, who also is the Executive Vice Chairman of Teledom Group, while evaluating the event, said the two-day event recorded great success by way of the participation and caliber of personalities that graced the expo.

In relation to this, FINTEX-05 attracted two Ministers, Prof. Turner Isoun of Science and Technology and Chief Cornelius Adebayo of Communications, despite their being represented by high profile directors from the ministries as well as the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Prof. Cleopas Officer Angaye.

He said, this was no mean achievement for any event, which made its debut last week.

Also, he said the kind of experts in terms of professional bodies within the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) community is definitely not a small either.

Further, he said that an event that attracted President of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Dr. Chris Nwannenna, who was ably represented by his first vice president, Chief Olaide Ayodele, maintaining it could not be said to be unsuccessful.

Additionally, he noted the event was presided over by the Director, Pan African University/Lagos Business School, Prof. Pat Utomi and assisted by the Akwa-Ibom State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Dr. Linus Asuquo, was a remarkable one.

FINTEX-05, which has the theme ‘Mainstreaming IT in Banking and Finance’ also had the chief executive of Oceanic Bank Plc, delivering the lead paper on the “ICT Platform for Effective Bank Mergers” among others.

VIA Tech, Juniper to introduce PT800 chipset

LEADING innovative developer of silicon chip technologies and Personal Computer platform solutions, VIA Technologies Incorporated has concluded plans to introduce its new generation VIA PT800 chipset, optimized for the Intel Pentium 4 processor platform.

Partnering with Information Technology company, Juniper Solutions Limited, the VIA PT800 is paired with VIA’s most advanced south bridge architecture, the VT8237, which is targeted specifically at professionals and PC enthusiasts requiring the very latest performance features and a full arsenal of connectivity and input output options in a mainstream configuration.

Also it supports 800MHz FSB and Intel Hyper-Threading Technology, the VIA PT800 chipset implements VIA’s advanced FastStream DDR400 Memory Controller and AGP8X graphics port in a synchronized north bridge configuration that maximizes bus bandwidth efficiency.

A press statement made available to Champion Infotel quoted the Associated Vice President of Marketing at VIA, Mr. Richard Brown, saying the product which has multichannel audio suite provides superlative integrated and on-board 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound options.

The offer feeds into a host of high-bandwidth connectivity options including support for up to eight high-speed Universal Serial Bus (USB 2.0) ports and 10/100Mbps Fast Ethernet.

He said, “Our customers are demanding more system performance coupled with the latest connectivity and input/output technologies at the mainstream performance sweet spot of the Pentium 4 market”.

Stressing that the VIA PT800 chipset delivers on all counts by providing the interconnect to all the latest technologies not excluding the new Pentium 4 processors with 800MHz.

Champion Infotel also gathered that the move by Juniper was meant to make the country feel the power of VIA which is a cost-effective computing, according to the JSL managing director, Mr. Gboyega Ojuri.

To show the seriousness of the interest, that VIA is showing to Nigeria, he said, plans have been advanced for an expert representative of the global brand to pay an official visit to the country by end of August.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

ISOC honours Murai with Postel award

The annual Internet Society (ISOC) award in honour of Jonathan B. Postel Service this year went 2005 to the pioneer of Internet development in the Asia Pacific region, Professor Jun Murai.

The award recognises Professor Murai’s vision and pioneering work that helped countless others to spread the Internet across the Asia Pacific region.

The 2005 Postel Award was presented during the 63rd meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in Paris, France by Daniel Karrenberg, chairman of this year’s Postel award committee, and Lynn St. Amour, President and CEO of the Internet Society.

According to Karrenberg, "Jun Murai has always encouraged, inspired and helped others, particularly his students and his colleagues in other parts of the Asia Pacific region."

Stressing "He has also played a key role in creating structures for Internet coordination in the region (particularly APNIC), and he is widely recognized for his recent pioneering work in IPv6 implementation."

Currently the Vice-President, Keio University in Japan, Prof. Murai, is a Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Information.

In 1984, he developed the Japan University UNIX Network (JUNET), and in 1988 established the WIDE Project; a Japanese Internet research consortium of which, he continues to serve as the General Chairperson.

He is President of the Japan Network Information Center (JPNIC), a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society and Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN’s) Board of Directors.

The Jonathan B. Postel Service Award was established by the Internet Society to honour those who have made outstanding contributions in service to the data communications community.

The award is focused on sustained and substantial technical contributions, service to the community, and leadership.

With respect to leadership, the nominating committee places particular emphasis on candidates who have supported and enabled others in addition to their own specific actions.

The award is named after Dr. Jonathan B. Postel, who embodied all of these qualities during his extraordinary stewardship over the course of a thirty-year career in networking.

He served as the editor of the RFC series of notes from its inception in 1969, until 1998 as well as in the ARPANET "numbers Czar" and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) over the same period of time.

He was a founding member of the Internet Architecture Board and the first individual member of the Internet Society, where he also served as a trustee.

Previous recipients of the Postel Award include Jon himself (posthumously and accepted by his mother), Scott Bradner, Daniel Karrenberg, Stephen Wolff, Peter Kirstein and Phill Gross.

The award consists of an engraved crystal globe and $20,000.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Globacom eyes 3G, unveils Glo Xpress

INNOVATIVE Second National Operator (SNO), Globacom, has said that only the best is good for the Nigeria's market, even as it has indicated plans to delve into Third Generation (3G) deployment.

This is coming in the wake of Globacom official unveiling of Glo Xpress, its Optic Fibre Backbone (OFB) into the nation's market.

Financial Controller at SNO, Mr. Timi Ogunsawo, made this disclosure in Lagos, saying that as an innovative network, Globacom would continue to introduce new and latest technology into the telecommunications market place in the country.

He noted that at inception, Globacom came on board with Second Generation Enhanced (2.5G) network, but is advancing quickly within a short time of operation to 3G.

"We came out with 2.5G and let me put on red alert here that we're thinking of 3G," he said, insisting that only the best is good for Nigeria.

"Our business model is to have the best for Nigeria," he declared.

Mr. Ogunsawo also said the best from the SNO is yet to come, assuring, "We would surely get there".

Meanwhile, Glo Xpress has made its official debut following the completion of laying about 2,500 kilometer optic fibre cable network to cover some parts of the South West and North Central and core north part of the country.

Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Glo Xpress, Mr. Vikramjeet Chandha, said Glo Xpress is wiring up the country for the digital future, even as this 2,500km covers Lagos-Ijebuode-Ore-Benin and Abuja-Kaduna, Zaria-Kano routes.

On completion of the first phase, which is estimated to be 10,000 km by the end of this year, the COO said, the network would have extended its latest offering to major cities including Benin-Warri-Port Harcourt, Aba-Umuahia-Owerri, Owerri-Onitsha-Enugu, Enugu-Oturkpo-Makurdi, Lafia-Abuja and Ibadan-Ilorin-Minna and Abuja routes.

This level of network, he said, is the first in the country and would provide land bandwidth for corporate organizations, thus an infrastructure of an information super highway that transmits voice and data at the speed of light.

With the launch, he invited telecom service companies, internet service providers, manufacturers, oil companies, banks and financial institutions among other corporation organizations in the country to avail themselves of the offering.

Now, he said, they "have a better alternative for their bulk voice and data transmission requirements."

As such, Mr. Chandha said it would improve communication in the country while eliminating the problems associated with satellite and microwave transmission channels.

Noting that most operations in the industry today are based on satellite for bandwidth requirements, which is dependent on weather and therefore not completely reliable.

"A thunderstorm can render the microwave and satellite ineffective," he declared.

Pointing out that with the coming of Glo Xpress offerings through its OFB, reliable data and voice connectivity are assured.Other services available on the Glo Xpress, he said include the transmission of point-to-point voice, high-speed data, fax and video.

MTN tasks NCC on multiple taxes

LARGEST Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) in the country, MTN Nigeria has tasked the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to drive industry lobby against multiple taxes.

Presently telecom operators are suffering on various taxations from different apparatus of the government, from the local, state and federal as well as government agencies such as the proposed National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) two per cent tax and that of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority fees for mast tower installations.

MTN Nigeria while sharing its operating experience in the environment, at a one-day seminar organized by Joint Action Committee for Information and Communications Technology Awareness and Development (JACITAD), in Lagos, said NCC should lead the lobby at all levels.

The telco in a presentation by its Regulatory Affairs Manager, Ms Oyeronike Oyetunde, entitled 'Operating in a Competitive Telecoms Environment: The MTN Experience' said the role of NCC in ensuring competitive environment in the sector is very crucial.

She mentioned specifically the NITDA two per cent tax on all companies with turnover above N100 million contained in the agency's bill presently before the national assembly and NCAA planned introduction of a new tax regime on the communication masts and tower construction and installations which amounts to about 1000 per cent to 5000 per cent increase in rates.
Ms Oyetunde noted that impact of multiple taxation, exposes the sector to double and regressive taxation, hence hampers growth and robs the industry of much needed capital to meet transmission infrastructure requirements and universal access demands.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

New Chief Executive for NEPAD

A leading international agricultural economist, Prof. Firmino G. Mucavele of Mozambique has been appointed new Chief Executive of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) secretariat with effect from August 2005.

Prof. Mucavele takes over from Prof. Wiseman Nkuhlu who will continue to serve as a member of the NEPAD Steering Committee.

A distinguished university lecturer, Professor Mucavele was invited in 2000 by the United Nations (UN) to integrate a team of experts to map out a development programme for a rapid transfer of technologies to the developing countries.

This served as basis for the third conference on science and technology for the development of Least Developed Countries organised by the United Nations.

February 2001, saw him integrating the Steering Committee of African Economists to develop the Millennium Africa Recovery Program (MAP).

This programme was approved by the Heads of African States in Lusaka, Zambia in July 2001 and became the New African Initiative, whereas on 23 October, 2001, in Abuja Nigeria, it was designated the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

Professor Mucavele in 1995, was one of the three consultants involved in the evaluation of the food, agriculture and natural resources sector coordinating units of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

A reputed agricultural economist, he was involved in the evaluation of agriculture and trade programmes, rural development financing and training in food security and nutrition programs.

He had served as consultant for the USAID, OXFAM Belgica, World Bank and PricewaterhouseCoopers in missions of food security analysis, environmental economic analysis, agricultural markets liberalisation in Mozambique and rural development.

Professor Mucavele, who has authored a large number of publications in his field, holds a PhD in food and resource economics from the University of Florida.

A member of the International Association of Agricultural Economists and a number of other professional associations, he also served as a Special Advisor to the President of Mozambique.Professor Mucavele, who has served as a member of the NEPAD Steering Committee, would be assisted by two Deputy Chief Executives, Dr
Hesphina Rukato, who has been the NEPAD Environment and Tourism Advisor since 2002, and Ambassador Stephen Olukorede Willoughby.

Friday, August 12, 2005

MTN Group acquires Telecel Zambia

Poised to exercise its might on the continent, MTN Group, has finalised the acquisition process of Telecel Zambia, just as it has appointed Mr. Mike Blackburn as the chief executive of the telco.

The conclusion came following the approval from the regulatory authorities in Zambia.
Group Chief executive, MTN Group, Mr. Phuthuma Nhleko announced this development, expressing the venture holds positive growth within the MTN family.

“We are pleased that our acquisition of Telecel Zambia has been concluded as we believe the operation holds very positive growth prospects for the MTN Group," he said.

Stressing that MTN looks forward to commencing operations in Zambia and is confident that the expertise and approach to doing business on the continent will contribute effectively to the growth of the mobile industry in Zambia.

He also declared the appointment of Mr. Blackburn, as Chief Executive Officer for the Zambian operation. He was formerly chief financial officer at MTN Uganda.

ITrealms recollects that few weeks ago MTN Group had announced the acquisition of the 51 per cent stake in Lottery Telecom, trading under the name Telecel Cote d’Ivoire, in the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire.

While the former chief executive officer of MTN Cameroon, Mr. Ron Allard, is the chief executive officer of Telecel Cote d’Ivoire.

Group Executive: Corporate Affairs, MTN Group, Dr Yvonne Muthien, in a press statement made available to ITrealms, said, additionally, the group has appointed Ms SB Mtshali as its company secretary with effective from 1 August 2005.

It is anticipated that all these culminate to the recent acquisition of a 51 per cent share in Telecel Cote d’Ivoire, and the acquisition of Telecel Zambia increases the MTN Group’s operations to eight on the continent.

MTN Group has presence South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Rwanda and Swaziland.

With the latest acquisitions MTN Group’s now has a total subscriber base above 18 million.

Vmobile commences phone-fix service with 1yr warranty

Leading Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) network, Vmobile Nigeria, has commenced a one-year handset warranty and after sales service to cell phones purchased at any of its numerous authorised trade partners and Vstores nationwide.

This, Vmobile said was introduced as part of its determination to continuously delight its customers and add value to services available on the network.

Fixing of phones bought from the company is also to attract service charge of N500. In addition, the operator said the introduction was aimed at helping Vmobile customers derive the best benefit from their phones and remain in touch.

Head of Events, Sponsorship and Public Relations at Vmobile Nigeria, Mr. Obinna Ariwodo, said the warranty service covers manufacturer’s defect usually refer to as out of box failure and faults that occur within 12 months of the purchase of the phone.

He said that under the warranty plan, handsets that develop fault within seven days of purchase will be replaced free of charge, whereas handsets that developed fault within 12 months of purchase will be repaired, all subject to manufacturer/Vmobile’s Standard Warranty Terms and Conditions as outlined in the Cell phone Guide enclosed in the phone pack.

"Any faulty handset would only be replaced at the original point of purchase and should be accompanied by the warranty card and invoice obtained, detailing the make, model, IMEI number and date of purchase of the handset," he said.

Subscribers and potential subscribers alike, he advised, should look out for the warranty stickers at the point of purchase each time they want to procure new phone.

He explained, however, that warranty will not apply if there are signs of customisation, misuse, physical damage, liquid damage or abuse on the handset.

Mr. Ariwodo also said that while purchasing handsets from any of Vmobile’s authorized outlets, customers are to ensure that the handset has a one-year warranty sticker on the handset package and that all accessories, manual, and user guide supplied by the manufacturer are intact.

"The subscriber should also ensure that the handset is tested in the presence of customer care agent, to ensure that it is in perfect condition, and that the Warranty card attached to the Cell phone guide is completed and a copy kept properly," he said.

Subscribers should be informed that warranty repairs will attract administrative charge of N500 only and that the warranty service is limited to handsets purchased from Vstores and authorized trade partners’ outlets that are used on the Vmobile network.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

NCC boss tasks stakeholders on corporate governance

EXECUTIVE Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, has outlined the importance of corporate governance in the telecom sector, tasking stakeholders to join forces to ensure that the battle to entrench this in the industry becomes meaningful.

Dr. Ndukwe was addressing audience at a one-day seminar with the theme ‘Telecommunications; Challenges of Corporate Governance’ held in Lagos Thursday.

The seminar was organized by a non-governmental organization made up of ICT stakeholders, known as the Joint Action Committee on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Awareness and Development (JACITAD).

He said that in order to sustain the current gains of the telecommunications industry in the last four years, and even propel more benefits for all stakeholders.

“Operating companies in the communications industry should have good corporate governance and approach to business must be the goal,” he said.

This, he noted has become imperative so as to engender trust among and between companies operating in the market.

“It also makes the job of the regulatory agencies easier and enhances the confidence of the consumer,” the NCC boss said.

According to him, half measure delivers half returns and half trust delivers half prospects, therefore, he charging industry operatives, saying, “Only full dedication to international best practices in corporate governance will guarantee sustainable development of the telecommunications industry”.

The EVC who presided over the occasion attended by the likes of the President of the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) and EVC, Teledom Group, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, chieftain of the African Internet Service Providers Association (AfriSPA) and Managing Director, PiNet Nigeria, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, as well as the immediate past president of the Information Technology Industry Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu of The Executive Cyberschuul, among others, noted that the nation, has attracted global attention because of the tremendous growth that has occurred within the ICT industry in the last few years.

These, he said, include fully liberalized sector, an annual growth of over 100 per cent in subscriber base, innovative approach to regulation and policy as well as using global rather than Africa for benchmarking.

“This has resulted in the generation of close to 16 million lines, stable competition due multiple operators and choice of network.

Earlier in his welcome address, President of JACITAD, Mr. Biyi Fashoyin, has noted that in spite of the monumental gains of the sector, which is all-pervasive, poor corporate governance has caused most operators to become distressed and operationally comatose.

“Various issues like boardroom squabbles, unfavourable government policies, interconnect debts, bad power infrastructures and a lot of problems have been adduced as reasons for poor corporate governance in the polity,” he said.

Debt relief: Stakeholders demand 50% for ICT

The recent debt relief granted the nation is a welcome development, but experts are advocating for a certain percentage saved to be set aside for backbone development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), reports REMMY NWEKE.

UNITIL Thursday, June 30, this year, Nigeria was still owing the Paris Club of creditors about $30 billion despite the servicing of the debt over the years stretching in excess of a decade.

It came as good news to every Nigerian that the Paris Club has shifted its stand after persistent pressure from the current government and precisely the Finance Minister, Dr. (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, among other stakeholders.

Announcing the development in Abuja, the finance minister noted that after its recent meeting on Wednesday, June 29, 2005, the creditors agreed to give Nigeria debt relief, and this action is appreciated.

According to the official website of the Presidential Research and Communications Unit (PRCU) ‘www.nigeriafirst.org’, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, was quoted as saying the gesture was wonderful.

“It gives us a chance to start on a clean slate without the heavy baggage of debt undermining our development” she acknowledged, noting however that it was an outcome of a long, hard battle Mr. President initiated in April 1999 after his election. This, she said, was intensified with the President’s appointment of an economic team led by the Minister of Finance to oversee the economic reform process. The implementation of the economic reform programme provided the strong anchor for the renewed efforts of the government to persuade the creditors to listen to the nation’s case for debt relief, hence representing a historic achievement.

However, the terms of agreement with the Paris Club, the minister disclosed include that the nation would clear arrears of about $6 billion on its $30 billion Paris Club debt, following which there would be a stock reduction on Naples terms and a buy-back of the remainder in order to provide an exit from the Paris Club.

Nigeria is reportedly owing the rest of the world estimated total of $35bn, out of which $30 is owed the 19-nation member Paris Club, despite not receiving any loan since 1992.

She explained that the entire new package is such that the nation expects debt relief of about 60 per cent on the current Paris Club debt, and is expected to pay off the balance of about 40 per cent through a buy-back operation.

In addition, this attempt represents a write-off of close to $18 billion for Nigeria, which compares favourably with the $40 billion write-off for 18 low-income heavily indebted countries out of which 14 are Africans.

“We appreciate the efforts of all internal and external actors who joined hands with us to make this a reality. We particularly want to appreciate the efforts of the National Assembly and various national and international NGOs, student groups, multilateral institutions and of course the media,” she asserted.

The highlights of the agreement, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said, comprises that Paris Club recognizes Nigeria’s implementation of its home-grown reform programme under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) intensified surveillance as a legitimate instrument that fulfills the requirements for debt relief.

She said the achievement would now be summarized in a new instrument modeled on Nigeria, known as Policy Support Instrument (PSI) and based on the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), which is a home grown programme, even as they have been invited to conduct detailed negotiations and finalize a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Paris Club next month, September.

Throwing more light on the relief, the minister said the reclassification of the nation into an International Development Association (IDA) only status; which allowed Nigeria to be eligible for consideration for Naples terms, that is, the more generous debt relief package reserved only for lower income countries that show good performance on reforms.

Also, the eligibility was based on the need to invest in education, health, agriculture, water and power, of which all are related to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and working in alliance with the likes of the World Bank and IMF, Nigeria reportedly argued its case successfully for the use of debt service funds to enable it invest in these important areas, which are critical to the well being of the nation.

The minister further said that as a result, beginning from next year’s budget, an additional $1 billion will be invested in aforementioned areas, revealing that a system to track MDG-related expenditure and link it to results on the ground has been developed and the President has inaugurated a commission chaired by him to monitor it quarterly.

On the other hand, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) experts reacted to this development, canvassing for reinvesting of about 50 per cent of the total $18 billion, about N2,446,289,978,027.33, to be saved thereof, should be strictly devoted to the infrastructural development of the nation in power and information technology.

Leading the campaign, the immediate past president of the Information Technology (Industry) Association of Nigeria (ITAN) and chairman, Connect Technologies Limited, Mr. Chris Uwaje, advised President Olusegun Obasanjo to reinvest 50 per cent of the secured debt relief gains into power/energy infrastructure and Information Technology (IT).

He described these sectors as core engines that would drive and sustain the economic development and wealth creation agenda. Stressing this has become imperative given the new vision of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) led by its newly appointed Director-General, Prof. Cleopas Officer Angaye.

Mr. Uwaje who also is the chairman, events and trade services committee at the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), said, the new vision tends toward establishing formidable Information Technology foundation in the polity.

“This also presupposes that NITDA needs a robust operational structure for the attainment of the estimated net-in target,” he asserted. Noting that the vision needed resources to fortify and sustain the implementation processes, just as he observed IT represents and remained the last hope of the continent to regain her lost glory in the evolution of human civilization.

Therefore, Nigeria being central to this solution, must embrace IT holistically via implementations. Warning, though, that missions and visions of the African Union (AU), New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), NEEDS and its state’s counterparts, SEEDS may not succeed without IT knowledge base empowered by political will and legislative mechanism.

Chief executive of Kontemporary Komputers Ltd, Abuja, and current National Vice President ITAN, Mr. Jimson Olufuye, while acknowledging the relief as a good thing for the nation’s socio-economic development, said that definitely a good percentage of about 50 per cent of the savings should be devoted in IT infrastructure and the computerisation of Nigerian primary and secondary schools.

United Kingdom based consultant in telecommunications technologies, Prof. Augustine Odinma, affirmed that the debt relief, was a good achievement by the government, but is worried on how this savings would be spent beyond allocation.

“My concern is how the savings are spent. Yes, ICT is one area that would be very essential not only in bridging the digital divide, but that of bridging the poverty line, which the NEPAD initiative is supposed to eradicate.

The visiting professor of several universities both in the UK and United States as well as Nigeria, said “IT is closer to the people, irrespective of where the people are, it would lead to effective access into the information superhighway, which is inevitable for effective research for our university lecturers and students.”

He also benchmarked research as the mother of all developments and Nigerian students are the future of the nation, therefore, “the only thing that could enhance the empowerment of our young people in an unprecedented way is ICT and so a major chunk of the savings should go into ICT infrastructural development”.

He maintained that in order to achieve any meaningful ICT initiative that will touch many, backbone problem must be addressed, even as he enjoined the government to make backbone its priority on how to spend the gains of the relief.

According to him, since IT would transform the lives of many in an unprecedented way, it would be money well spent if about half the amount goes into ICT, which he concurred with Mr. Uwaje would then be money indirectly used to support the government NEEDS and NEPAD initiatives as well as the MDGs.

For the President, Nigerian IT Professionals in the Americas (NITPA) and Vice President, AfriHub Inc of United States, Prof. Manny Aniebonam, the relief is a welcome development for all Nigerians for the fact that it should not have been accumulated in the first place and blamed it on excessive spending and abuse in the past, as well as on draconian policies and dependency on foreign human resources.

He lauded government for achieving this far and realizing that capacity building is the key to future development, he also warned that spending millions of dollars a month on sourcing foreign specialized skills will lead to more debt in the future.

“The nation would gain more if such investment is made, with such percentage and annual savings directed at mandatory IT training for all university and polytechnic students in the nation’s tertiary institutions,” he declared, pointing out that without fundamental education in IT, the nation may continue in a spiral of debt and seeking of more forgiveness in the future.

Prof. Aniebonam also said that when this vote is eventually approved, “it should be utilised in building the national telecommunications backbone, training of both students, teachers, rural women and development of the power supply system.

Although ICT was not specifically listed in the core sectors to benefit from the relief largesse, it is important that as we develop the power sector, ICT backbone as suggested by experts should be made the basis for the utilization of the fund, so as to be able to empower rural dwellers especially women and children.

This is because any mistake in leaving out this area would further take the nation backward rather than forward, whereas all the enlisted sectors are quite relevant too.

Analysts are keenly watching to see how the government would take this option in spite of its vowed commitment to the ICT industry, even though there are fears that the political class would still mismanage the fund if care is not taken.

Our QoS is of global standard – VGC

MANAGEMENT of VGC, leading wire line telecommunications operator in the country has declared that its quality of service (QoS) is of global standard.

Speaking through its General Manager, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, Champion Infotel was told that the telco offering is comparable any where in the world.

“I am proud to say that our quality of service is comparable to the best in the world,” he declared.

This, he said, was based on VGC’s deployment of a Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSAT) in all the places the company has its operations nationwide, while supporting this with laying of relevant fibre optic cables.

On VGC plans for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, the general manager said, the network is growing in FCT with over 2,000 subscribers currently.

He disclosed that VGC plans to extend to the satellite towns around the FCT.

“We’re talking with relevant authorities,” Mr. Adebayo assured.
He also said that as of today, VGC is operating at Apapa, a Lagos suburb known for its import/export activities.

Noting that VGC is investing in infrastructure and youth development, because the telco believes that by engaging the youth means building on the future of the company and industry at large.

In addition, he said this, would pay-off during the time for maintenance of the infrastructure on ground today.

His firm, Mr. Adebayo said has over 18 youth graduates engaged in the company at various levels, from data, internet to other department.

Champion Infotel recalls VGC has advanced plans to extend its services to Bayelsa and Calabar in the South-South region of the country.

Uwaje predicts $10b growth in IT industry

IMMEDIATE past president of the Information Technology (Industry) Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Mr. Chris Uwaje, has predicted that the new vision of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), under Prof. Cleopas Angaye, is capable of growing the IT industry into a $10 billion global enterprise in the next eight years.

Mr. Uwaje, who also is the chairman, Connect Technologies Limited, made this prediction while reacting to the recent pronouncement of the newly appointed Director General (DG) of NITDA, Prof. Angaye, entitled “My Vision of NITDA” in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He projected that for this vision to be achieved, NITDA needs about $6 billion over the next eight years “to grow the IT industry into a $10 billion global enterprise”.

Mr. Uwaje explained that in order to actualize the new NITDA’s IT vision, anticipated to rake in about $4 billion annually, the agency needs estimated $6b over a period of eight years to lay the appropriate “formidable IT foundation”.

He described Prof. Angaye’s presentation as a summary on how IT could be conceptualized, designed, deployed and applied as a fundamental, innovative and creative instrument in all aspects of human endeavour.

Lauding the presentation, he noted that this was the first time a public officer has defined his vision on assumption of office, which he said, was professionally presented.

This, he said, is an indication of personal vision and professional understanding of the national IT policy for development.

He defined Prof. Angaye’s vision as knowledge (software) development centric, based on his believe to hinge it on an interdependent tripod of “Inter-Corporate capacity building, catalyst for national development and a continental, international and global IT player”.

Nigeria today, Mr. Uwaje said represents a huge, rich and enviable but pathetically unorganized system, which currently suffers from imperfect information system.

Lamenting that in Nigeria, each cluster of information operate almost independently without recourse to any interfacing electronic standards, linkages and feedback system.

Pointing out that this negates the fundamental principle of informatics, which is based on structured and interactive dependency of data and information.

He maintained that the aforementioned must co-exist, networked, integrated and seamlessly interact at various micro levels.
“As an inevitable data-transformation process, for generating meaningful knowledge, governed by carefully defined and organized national database standard”, he said.

According to him, this is the first time “a visible, quantifiable, transparent and multi-dimensional NITDA operational structure is packaged through strategic inclusive consultation with major stakeholders.

“Indeed, this is the first time NITDA is presenting a well-articulated and time-propelled executable programme, driven by international best practice standards,” he declared.

He, therefore, expressed optimism, that if the vision, is supported by all relevant stakeholders, the nation would be better for it.

Glo connects more communities in Niger Delta

GLOBAL System for Mobile communications (GSM) arm of the Second National Operator (SNO), Glo Mobile, has extended its offering to the people of Niger Delta, connecting several communities.

This the company said is one of its means of bringing telephony to more Nigerians.

Glo Mobile also said that residents of Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State, could now communicate with themselves and with the outside world on the network, even as it has connected Ahoda and Omoku in the same state.

Ikot Ibeno in Akwa Ibom State is also now on the Glo Mobile network while travellers on the Aba-Port Harcourt road which links Aba, in Abia State, in the South East and Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State in the South-South geo-political region can also communicate on the Glo network on the highway.

The SNO further said, it is now live in over 10,000 communities and in over 375 towns and cities across the nation.

With this coverage attained under two years of roll out, Glo Mobile has achieved the fastest GSM spread on the continent.

Director of Marketing and Strategy at Globacom, Mr. Subhra Das, said the company is building an unmatched network capacity of 10 million lines by the end of 2005, even as currently, the network has a six million lines capacity.

The extension of coverage to more and more of the Niger Delta and Southern cities and the forceful spread in the North, he said, attested to the commitment of Globacom to offer affordable, efficient and advanced telecommunication to the people nationwide.

Champion Infotel, recalls that recently Ado Ekiti, Ikere-Ekiti , Iworoko and Afao, were accommodated on the Glo network. Whereas, Ore-Ondo road had since joined the network along with the adjoining communities of Igunshin, Oka, Odo, Jonu and Awoyaya. So also Abeokuta-Offa road, which crosses three states of Ogun and Oyo in the South West and Kwara State, in the North Central had earlier joined the network.

Also in recent times, additional communities in Imo and Abia state have joined the Glo family including Naze, Ulakwo, Ngor Okpala, Uvuru-Mbaise, Obioma-Ngwa, Ugba junction, Owerri-nta and Ekeakpara.