" ITREALMS: February 2017

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Orange invites entries for Social Venture Prize

Call has opened for entries into the 7th edition of the Orange Social Venture Prize in Africa and the Middle East (OSVPAM), reports ITRealms.

As in previous years, the OSVPAM will be accepting applications until June 6, 2017 and will be awarded to innovative projects which make use of information and communication technologies to improve living conditions for the peoples of Africa and the Middle East in fields such as health, finance, education and agriculture.

New for this 7th edition, the competition will start with a national phase during which each of Orange’s 17 participating subsidiaries will examine projects submitted in its country and will designate three winners. The next phase will be an international one in which the winners of each country – 51 in all – will compete before an international panel of judges for the OSVPAM Grand Prize, with three winners receiving their awards during the AfricaCom Awards Ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa, on 8 November 2017.

In addition to national prizes, the three international winners will receive 25,000 euros, 15,000 euros and 10,000 euros respectively, along with support from professionals in start-up creation and funding.

OSVPAM is open to any student, employee or entrepreneur over the age of 21 whose initiative is less than 3 years old and who lives in Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Niger, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Tunisia, Jordan, Liberia or Burkina Faso.

Bruno Mettling, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Orange group and CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa, commented “With a record 750 candidates in 2016, the success of the OSVPAM prize with entrepreneurs in Africa and the Middle East speaks for itself. This year, 17 countries in which we operate will recognize 3 winners, the better to promote the local start-up ecosystem, in addition to the winners at the international level. This is our way of reaffirming our ambition of becoming a major partner, in particular by showcasing innovation that serves people.”

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ECOWAS, stakeholders chat on Whistle blower strategy

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and stakeholders in the region are charting way forward on the essence of a Whistleblower Protection Strategy, reports ITRealms

This is coming as a fallout of a two-day meeting on advocacy and sensitization held in Cotonou, Benin Republic on the 22nd and 23rd of February 2017, facilitated by the ECOWAS Commission, to sensitize Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Media practitioners and operational staff of National Anti-corruption Institutions in Benin Republic on the ECOWAS Whistleblower Protection Strategy.

The meeting also stressed the need for a robust advocacy on the enactment of a stand-alone law on whistleblower protection in Benin Republic.

ITRealms also reports that the meeting ended with increased collective consciousness on the necessity of up-holding the values of integrity and transparency in the management of public resources in the region.

Participants at the meeting agreed that stakeholders should be encouraged to use Whistleblowing as part of their strategy to promote transparency in the management of public resources and holding government accountable in Benin Republic.

They also underscored the need for the enactment and effective implementation of a dedicated national legislation to engender comprehensive protection of whistle-blowers in the country while urging the country’s National Assembly to expedite actions on promulgating a stand-alone legislation for the protection of whistle-blowers.

Other relevant offices such as the Prosecutor-General and agencies such as security forces were urged to put special protection measures in place to advance the cause of whistle blowing. 

The participants urged the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Benin, in collaboration with Social Watch to facilitate joint training programmes on security forces, CSOs and Media practitioners’ relations on the promotion of whistleblowing culture and protection of whistleblowers in Benin Republic.

The Benin Republic chapter of the ECOWAS Civil Society Organizations Platform on Transparency and Accountability in Governance (ECSOPTAG) was launched by the fact of the meeting.

Participants rose after commending the ECOWAS Commission for its commitment to advancing the promotion of good governance and whistleblowing as viable strategy for the fight against corruption in Benin Republic.

The meeting was attended by Mr. Andre Sagbo, General Secretary, Ministry of Justice of Benin, leaders of CSOs, anti-corruption networks, and United Nations agencies including the ECOWAS Commission Director, Political Affairs Dr. Remi Ajibewa, and other key stakeholders involved in the promotion of integrity governance in the Republic of Benin.

Ayo Midele/GEE

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Medikal is of Africa, by Africans for Africa - Okugbo

Perfectsoft Systems Ltd has declared that Medikal, an open source hospital information management software solution is of Africa, and by Africans for Africa, reports ITRealms.

Edwin Okugbo of Perfectsoft System said that Medikal covers virtually every area of hospital information management, process control and administration.

“It is a software that is simple enough to run a small health care center but powerful, feature rich and scalable enough to run a Major Hospital complex or multi-site group of health centers. It is suitable for both private and government facilities,” he said.

Medikal, he also comes with several extended services and enterprise modules.

“Medikal is committed to the pursuit of the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals for Africa,” he said.

Nenye Dom/GEE
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NIRA may sanction DomainKing.NG for abandoning clients

The managers of the .ng country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) names, the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) may wield the big stick on DomainKing.NG, one of its accredited registrars, reports ITRealms.

This indication emerged due to the inability of DomainKing.NG to render service to its clients, which led to avalanche of complaints channeled to NIRA.

As said by NIRA Chief Operating Officer, Mrs Edith Udeagu in a press statement made available to ITRealms, failure to respond to the .ng Registry is a breach of the Registrar Agreement DomainKing.ng signed with NiRA.

“DomainKing.ng’s failure to respond to its registrants is in breach of the obligation a Registrar owes its registrants,” she said.

NIRA has been undated with complaints via emails and phone calls by clients of DomainKing.NG border on payments made via the website without service being rendered by DomainKing.NG.

According to her, since 8th February 2017, an Indian based .ng ccTLD Accredited Registrar, DomainKing.ng, has not responded to escalated support queries and emails from its clients forwarded to it by the .ng Registry.”

The Registry, Udeagu pointed out had attempted severally since then and is still trying to contact this registrar via email, telephone, their online support system, social media platforms and postal services, all to no avail.

“24th January 2017 was the last time this Registrar responded to the Registry via email,” Udeagu declared, stressing that further sanctions may be applied against DomainKing.ng by 2nd May 2017 should the company not respond to queries and complaints raised by the registrants.

Chuks Egbune/GEE
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Monday, February 27, 2017

ALAC selects Mexican Lawyer, Leon Ambia to ICANN board

A Mexican Intellectual Property (IP) attorney, Mr. León Felipe Sánchez Ambía, has been selected by the At-Large Community (ALAC) as the successor of Rinalia Abdul Rahm to serve in the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) beginning November 2017, reports ITRealms.

Chairman of the Board Member Selection Process Committee (BMSPC), Tijani Ben Jemaa, disclosed this, saying that with this development is the final election result of ICANN Board Director (Seat #15) selected by the At-Large Community.  

He also said that this came after rigorous six months of efforts, which saw the At-Large Community successfully concluded its ICANN Board Director selection process.

He also said Leon Ambia will begin his three-year term as an ICANN Board Director at the end of ICANN60 (3 November 2017).

ITRealms equally reports that the selection process began in September 2016, with the formation of two committees tasked with managing the timeline, calling for and evaluating the candidates, and organizing the final election.

According to Jemaa, among the six individuals who submitted Expressions of Interest for the position, Alan Greenberg and León Felipe Sánchez Ambía were chosen as the finalists. Before the election took place, the At-Large Community enjoyed ample opportunities to ask questions to the finalists verbally and in writing in order to make an informed choice. At-Large Structures also participated in the final election by directing the votes of Regional At-Large Organization Chairs.

Responding, León Felipe Sánchez Ambía appreciated all the At-Large community, the RALOs, the ALAC, the BMSPC, the BCEC and the At-Large Support Staff for the work, openness and support throughout the process.

“It is a privilege and a honor to be able to serve our community. I am very grateful to have this opportunity,” he said.

ITRealms recalls that León Felipe Sánchez Ambía is an intellectual property attorney graduated from the the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). He also has completed postgraduate studies on intellectual property at the UNAM and on Internet Law at Harvard Law School.

Since 2006 he has been partner at Fulton & Fulton, a law firm specialized in intellectual property and IT law based in Mexico City, and is head of the Intellectual Property division.
In 2008 he was admitted as professor on Intellectual Property at the UNAM Law School.

He is co-lead for the Mexican chapter of Creative Commons and advisor to different Government bodies that include the Digital Strategy Coordination Office of the Mexican Presidency, the Special Commission on Digital Agenda and IT of the Mexican House of Representatives and the Science and Technology Commission of the Mexican Senate.

He drafted the Internet Users Rights Protection Act for Mexico and has been very active on issues like Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA), Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA), Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and other local initiatives of the same kind, always advocating to defend users’ and creators’ rights in order to achieve a balance between regulation and freedom.

He currently serves as the ALAC Vice-Chair in ICANN and Co-Chair of the CCWG on Accountability where he has been deeply involved with the IANA transition. 

Nonye Dom/GEE
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MTN Group expresses faith in Nigeria, eyes mobile financial services

The Group Chairman and Chief Executive of MTN, Mr. Phuthuma Freedom Nhleko has expressed faith in the Nigeria’s economy, eyes mobile financial services, reports ITRealms.

Nhleko gave this verdict recently during when he led a high level delegation to the headquarters of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in Abuja recently.
This is coming despite the grim challenges arising from the N330b fine imposed on MTN by NCC last year.

Nhleko, who was received by the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta and top management of the Commission said the Group has faith in Nigeria and will be willing to invest more in the sector in the years to come. “We had challenges in the past, during the period of the fine, and we are grateful for the role, the Commission played towards an amicable resolution”.

Nhleko whose visit to the NCC management is a valedictory one as he steps down as Group Chairman in March, 2017 said MTN Group has injected over $16billion into the Nigerian operations and “we have a very long way to go and so ask for spectrum which is the oxygen and life blood to navigate this long and tedious investment journey, without spectrum, the sector will suffocate”.

Nhleko specifically solicited for more spectrum allocation and a release of the one that belonged to Visafone, whose equity shares MTN acquired in 2015, canvassing for a more level playing field “despite being dominant player”.

He said MTN has made its mark in voice and data services and that more services like mobile financial services are underway.

Responding, Prof. Danbatta welcomed the delegation and assured them that the Commission will always play by the rules and support every operator within the ambits of the law.

“I like to state that our word is our covenant.  When we take decisions, we are concerned about the stability of the industry and there is no way we can guarantee it without considering the dominant status of MTN and its obligations and if the dominant status is becoming stringent, we are open to engagement, we will be guided by what is happening in the market, to ensure the growth and development of the sector”.

He said “the sector has contributed very well to the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and has shown remarkable resilience in this recession”

Danbatta said the NCC made a case for relaxing fiscal policies towards the sector to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) “and the CBN Governor is favourably disposed to our request and further engagement especially towards major players who desire to import equipment to aid deployment of broadband infrastructure services and others”.

The Commission, he explained, will always carry out interventions to cushion the operators request to provide necessary services.

On spectrum assignment, Danbatta, said MTN got six slots in the 2.6 GHz auction and full utilization of that spectrum is envisaged.

“We are open to further discussion on the areas of spectrum assignment,” he said, advising MTN to put across request for spectrum of interest and NCC will check its availability.

The Commission “is here to protect the interests of the operators as well as consumers, consistent with our mandate, the trust reposed on us by the government and people of Nigeria; protecting their interests and ensuring a level playing field and respect for our laws”.

The EVC said the Commission only resorts to sanctions as a regulatory action of last resort after allowing time for checking compliance.

The EVC received the delegation in company of Executive Commissioner (Technical Services), Mr. Ubale Maska, his counterpart for Stakeholders Management, Mr. Sunday Dare, Directors: Mr. Tony Ojobo (Public Affairs), Ms. Funlola Akiode (Licensing & Authorisation), Ms Josephine Amuwa (Policy, Competition & Economic Analysis), Mr. Austin Nwaulune (Spectrum Administration), Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye (Legal & Regulatory Services), Mr. Ayuba Shuaibu (Universal Service Provision Fund - USPF) and Mr. Usman Malah (Chief of Staff to EVC).

The MTN delegation included Mr. Pascal Dozie Chairman, MTN (Nigeria), Col. Sani Bello (Vice Chairman), Board members: Chief Victor Odili, Chief Gbenga Oyebode, Mr. Ferdi Moolman (CEO) among others.

Nonye Dom/GEE 
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Nigeria aligns with AU, eases immigration processes

In living up to its promise last year and obvious alignment with the African Union (AU) directive last year, the Federal Government has reviewed the visa processes for foreigners who wish to visit Nigeria for business and tourism purposes, with a view to removing bureaucratic bottlenecks and encouraging business travellers and tourists, so as to boost the economy, reports ITRealms.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the measures were part of the action plan for the ease of doing business as well as efforts to boost tourism, within the overall context of the Administration's economic diversification agenda.

''The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has reviewed the requirements for Nigerian visas to make them more customer friendly, and details of this review are available on the NIS official website. Types of visas currently reviewed include Visa on Arrival (VoA) processes, Business Visas, Tourist Visas and Transit Visas,'' the Minister said.

Alhaji Mohammed explained that Business Visas are available for foreign travellers who wish to travel to Nigeria for meetings, conferences, seminars, contract negotiation, marketing, sales, purchase and distribution of Nigerian goods, trade fairs, job interviews, training of Nigerians, emergency/relief work, crew members, staff of NGOs, researchers and musical concerts.

He said Tourist Visas are also available to foreign travelers who wish to visit Nigeria for the purpose of tourism or to visit family and friends while Nigeria Visa on Arrival is a class of short visit visa issued at the port of entry, and it is available to frequently-travelled high-net-worth investors and intending visitors who may not be able to obtain visa at the Nigerian Missions/Embassies in their countries of residence due to the absence of a Nigerian mission in those countries or exigencies of urgent business travels.

SA to Hon Minister of Information and Culture, Segun Adeyemi,quoted the Minister as saying that other actions that have been taken by the NIS for the ease of doing business and facilitation of travelling for Nigerians and foreigners alike include the harmonization of multiplicity of Airport Arrival and Departure Form/Cards into a single form for all agencies of government to save foreign visitors from the current frustrating practice of filling 3 different forms or more and the decentralization of Immigration services to the State Commands.

''Re-issuance of passports for change of names due to marital reasons or lost cases have been decentralized to all State Commands and Foreign Missions to save passport holders from additional costs and inconvenience of travelling to the Service Headquarters in Abuja, while additional 28 offices have been opened for issuance of Residence Permits in Nigeria, bringing the issuance of Combined Expatriate Residence Permit And Aliens Cards (CERPAC) closer to the doorstep of employers of expatriates at all 36 states and FCT,'' he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said the measures by NIS fit perfectly into the 60-day national action plan for ease of doing business in Nigeria that was approved recently by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), as well as the Administration's efforts to boost international tourism.

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MWC2017: Nokia leads in 5G, IoT and cloud for new markets

As the 2017 Mobile World Congress (MWC) kicks off in Barcelona, Nokia has advanced plans to launch solutions covering Fifth Generation (5G), the Internet of Things (IoT), software and cloud underscored the breadth and strength of a product portfolio bolstered by the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent in 2016, reports ITRealms.

Nokia President and Chief Executive Officer, Rajeev Suri made this disclosure saying that Nokia came to Mobile World Congress this year with a bigger and fully end-to-end portfolio to sell, and with groundbreaking innovations to share.

"All of this is underpinned by an organization squarely focused on the execution of our strategy to lead in high-performance networks with communication service providers, expand to new verticals, build a strong standalone software business and create new business and licensing opportunities in the consumer ecosystem," he said.

New products like 5G FIRST, announced today at the company's press and analyst event in Barcelona, show Nokia's innovation strength to deliver differentiated products that connect not only millions of users but interconnect billions of things to create what Nokia calls the 'global nervous system,' Suri said.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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AFRICMIL explains essence of whistle blower support initiative

The African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) has explained why it launched a civil society whistle blower project named Corruption Anonymous, reports ITRealms.

According to the Coordinator, African Centre for Media & Information Literacy, Chido Onumah, ‘Corruption Anonymous’ aims at create public confidence and acceptance of the new Whistle Blower Initiative of the Nigerian government.

The project, he also said, seeks to use citizens to win the war against corruption and enhance accountability in public office by providing a mechanism for anonymous reporting that is acceptable, credible and effective. 

“Considering the endemic nature of corruption in Nigeria and the cost and challenge of prosecuting corruption, it is important to support any initiative that has the potential to prevent and, therefore, reduce corruption,” Onumah said, stressing that winning the war on corruption requires urgent holistic attention and a creative response that is both civil society oriented and sustainable.

He noted that because of Nigeria’s weak institutions and how systemic corruption is in virtually all areas of public and corporate Nigeria, it will take more than government intervention to sustain the war on corruption.

“Given the opportunity, citizens can do something about corruption,” he said.

The overall goal of Corruption Anonymous, he said, is to strengthen the capacity of citizens and civil society to contribute to the success of the anti-corruption war by keying into the new whistle blower initiative, increasing patronage and support for the initiative as well as creating confidence in the system that the information citizens volunteer is not only used but that whistle blowers are protected.

Further, he said, Corruption Anonymous will bring together three interrelated stakeholders in the fight against corruption, namely: anticorruption agencies, the media and civil society to produce a synergy that would make the whistle blower policy sustainable. 

“The recent successes of the war against corruption in the country, including recovery of large sums of money linked to the efforts of whistle blowers show that people are willing to report corruption if the conditions are right,” he said.

The AFRICMIL coordinator, pointed out the need for a whistle blower legislation so that they are not left at the mercy of offenders, just as the project will support advocacy for the passage of the Whistle Blower (Protection) bill.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE 
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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Telephone Prayers by Mischief Makers for Mischief Makers

Presidential spokesman, Femi Adeshina, could not hide his joy as he announced with unrivalled glee the phone call of Mr President to him all the way from London. Certainly, this is not the first time President Buhari and Femi Adeshina would be discussing over the phone since the two tenants of Aso Rock moved to the seat of power in 2015. 

However, this particular phone conversation elicited an excitement, the type usually associated with primary school pupils who have found the last of a set of bottle crowns needed to claim some insignificant prizes in a soft drink promo.

The presidential spokesperson went ahead to give vivid details of the conversation including how the president had asked after his family and thanked him (Femi) for “holding out against mischief makers”.

For a man who had been mischievous about the true state of health of Mr President, one would have thought that his excitement about the phone conversation which he needlessly shared with Nigerians would be that Mr President asked after Nigeria and Nigerians and how they are coping in his absence beyond just asking after Adeshina’s family. In the absence of this, publicizing of the conversation is an exercise in mischief. That was at best a private conversation that should have been left private except that Femi is happy to show to Nigerians how lowly his boss holds his countrymen by referring to them as mischief makers.

However, Femi’s excitement is understandable considering the fact that Nigerians have seen the drama playing out in Aso Rock over the president’s health as the chief of mischief. He probably thinks those who have been asking after the president’s health status are mischievous but did not know how to say it until Mr President came to his rescue.

If Femi wanted to be fair to himself, his boss and Nigerians, he would have reminded the president that the citizens are not the ones who are mischief makers for asking after him, but that the mischief makers are those who are churning out confusing stories about the president’s London vacation.

For while some government officials have told Nigerians that the president is “hale and healthy”, others have told us that we should “pray for him”.  Some others have told us that “there is no cause for alarm” while at the same time some  have told us that the reason the president would not be returning as earlier scheduled was because he needed to run some more tests concerning his health, with others saying he merely needs to “rest”.

These contradictions are typical of our presidency whose record of Buhari’s recent telephone conversation with Mr Trump is reported to be at distant variance with what was released by the White House. That is an issue for another day.

The cacophonous of excuses for the president’s unexpected elongated stay in London would naturally get citizens worried, hence, the agitation to know his correct health status. This is why the mischief makers are those government officials who have kept spinning stories around the president’s health for their own selfish reasons.

The simple thing Nigerians have asked all these days that the president has been in London is for him to speak to them. They just want to hear his voice and probably get excited just like the presidential spokesman did.

But like a man holding irreconcilable malice against his own citizens, he would rather speak with Osinbajo, Saraki, Dogara, Tinubu, Ganduje, Femi and even Donald Trump of the US to the exclusion of his employers the citizens. For a president who had once described Nigerians as criminals and corrupt people from foreign lands, calling them mischief makers, also from a foreign land, is actually nothing new. It is only a proof that his London experience has had little or no learning impact on him.

The fact of the matter is that Adeshina’s juvenile reaction at hearing the president’s voice is a confirmation that, just like many Nigerians, he himself was not sure of the president’s health status; that he was so full of apprehension until that call came across.

It is therefore most unfortunate that the same people the presidency has been asking to pray for the president are the same people the president called mischief makers, a ridiculous term Femi Adeshina ill-advisedly celebrated on his Facebook page. Even if they pray for Buhari as they are being urged to do on a daily basis, how will God answer the prayers of mischief makers especially when the one they are praying for is the one who has said to God’s hearing that those praying for him are mischief makers?

In conclusion, Mr President can continue to rest in London for as long as he wants. We do not mind paying his entitlements continuously even while he rests. We are very happy to do that. What Femi Adeshina forgot to tell him is that Nigeria is actually getting better without him. That is another mischief from Femi

It is the height of another mischief for anyone to think that Buhari’s call to Femi and the gang would improve the abysmal performance of the naira, put food on citizens’ tables, stop the oppression of citizens by government and the continued deliberate defiance of court orders, and other undemocratic and unconstitutional actions of this administration. 

The lack of answers, expertise and capacity to improve the rapidly dwindling fortunes of Nigeria under Buhari is the reason the president would not speak to Nigerians but would only speak with his Mischief-Makers-in-Chief who would tell him only what his ears are itching to hear.

With what has been happening in the country, the whole world certainly knows who our mischief makers are. They are definitely not the citizens; they are those who live and work in Aso Villa!

*Courtesy: Jude Ndukwe, he can be reached via: jrndukwe@yahoo.co.uk or @Stjudendukwe

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NMEC canvasses NCC intervention to promote mass literacy

The National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non formal Education (NMEC) has canvassed the intervention of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to spread mass literacy and non-formal adult education in the country, reports ITRealms.

Executive Secretary of the NMEC, Prof Abba Abubakar Haladu dropped this hint during a courtesy visit to the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta recently. They were received by Engr. Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner (Technical Services) at NCC on behalf of the EVC.

For Prof Haladu, “literacy education is the bedrock of development because it assists in the improvement of the lives of the people through the provision of relevant skills, competences and knowledge which enable beneficiaries to take appropriate decision about their lives and families”.
He said that if quality education is provided to the citizenry, the impact will be obvious and society would benefit, it will fuel modernity, knowledge based economy and development.

He listed dangers of illiteracy to include but not limited to ill-health, population explosion, rural-urban drift, gang influence, ignorance, poverty and the culture of silence over sensitive matters among others.

He acknowledged however, that progress has been made in literacy education in the country but there is more to be done.

Prof. Haladu gave figures of mass literacy with a disturbing accuracy. “there are estimated over 60million adult and youth illiterates and 11.5million out of school children and this is a major challenge to the country”.

In this connection, Prof. Haladu enlisted the collaboration of NCC to correct the imbalance. Some of the areas the NCC could assist include:

·         Strengthening of NMEC Headquarters (HQ) with the necessary ICT facilities such as unlimited internet access, Desktop Computers, Inverter, Solar panels and batteries for uninterrupted power supply for the ICT facilities.

·         Equip 13 community learning centres constructed by NMEC with Solar panels, inverter, unlimited internet access, Desktop Computers, including tables and chairs.  The community learning centres are located in the following states: Edo, Rivers, Plateau, Katsina, Kano, Bauchi, Taraba, Imo, Anambra, Oyo, Ekiti, Kwara and FCT.

·         Equip Kano Training and Documentation Centre and the Minna Resource Centre with Desktop Computers, unlimited internet access, Solar Panels, inverters, batteries and tables/chairs.  This gesture will facilitate the effective take off of the ICT units in the centres.

·         Provision of internet and ICT facilities for the smooth take off of NFE Education Management Information units in the 36 states and FCT Agencies for Adult and Non-Formal Education.

·         Capacity building of relevant staff on ICTs at the NMEC headquarters, zonal offices, states agencies and at the community learning centres established by the Commission.

·         Support the airing of jingles and Literacy campaigns through Radio Programme in select radio and television stations as means of sensitization, mobilization and advocacy in favour of mass literacy and non-formal education.

·         Any other area of support not listed above that would assist NMEC in the task of eradicating illiteracy and the enhancement of lifelong learning amongst Nigerians.

In his response, Mr. Maska who stood in for Prof. Danbatta said “it is heart-warming to note that your organisation and NCC share a common education growth objective”.

The NCC, he explained, is involved in promoting a knowledge-based economy through its intervention in both Secondary and Tertiary Institutions across the country.

Maska listed NCC’s intervention to include the Advanced Digital Awareness for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI) and Digital Awareness Program (DAP) among others.

He said himself and the EVC come from the academic background and so will be prone to the suggestions of the NMEC boss, “even though it is a big basket of demands, we will pass the information to the EVC and get back to you”, Maska added.

NCC’s Directors present at the reception for the NMEC delegation included: Mr. Tony Ojobo (Public Affairs), Mrs. Iyabo Sholanke (Research & Development), Mr. Ayuba Shuaibu (Universal Service Provision Fund) and Mr. Kehinde Oladipo (Administration).

ministration and General Services, Dr. Musa Gusau, Director of Literacy & Development, Dr. (Mrs.) Victoria King, Director Monitoring and Evaluation, and Dr. Matthew Onu (Director of Planning, Research and Statistics) among others.

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE

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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Season-2: UNN, UNIBEN, UNIZIK cart away prizes @Etisalat-DigitalSENSE students’ essay contest on IG4D

The organisers of Etisalat-DigitalSENSE students essay contest on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D), the DigitalSENSE Africa (DSA) Media Group, has named Odonoekuma Onyebuchi Ekuma as the star prize winner for the 2016 edition, which is on Season 2, reports ITRealms.

The Executive Director, Operations at DigitalSENSE Africa (DSA) Media Group, Nkemdilim Nweke, disclosed this in Lagos, and said that the 2016 theme was on ‘Internet Governance: Creating Opportunities for All Nigerians’ which saw Odonoekuma Onyebuchi Ekuma, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Enugu State, emerging top.

Also, she revealed that Henry Monday Oguns, a five-hundred level Petrochemical Engineering student of the University of Benin, Edo State, and Egwe Tochukwu Christopher, a fourth year Law student of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka-Anambra State, taking the second and third positions, respectively.

Mrs. Nweke equally said that the finalists will in the coming week receive their prizes which include a Laptop, Tablet and smart phone with data for the trio.

She stressed that the essay competition is aimed at encouraging creativity and discourse on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) by Nigerian youths, especially the students.

Mrs. Nweke explained that participating students were mostly between the ages of 18 and 30, pointing out that the competition sponsored by Etisalat Nigeria is organised by DigitalSENSE Africa Media, the publishers of international award winning DigitalSENSE Business News, ITRealms and NaijaAgroNet; is part of the annual Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum on IG4D and Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable.

Reacting, the star prize winner, Odonoekuma Onyebuchi Ekuma, on getting the news declared “I am very excited. Winning the contest has made this year very awesome for me.”

Odonoekuma also advised Nigerian youth, saying that the Internet holds the key to virtually every progress in life, stressing that the Internet provides the connectivity that yields efficiencies to employment creation, healthcare delivery, economic development and indeed all sectors of life.

An elated first runner up, Henry Monday Ogun beckoned on youths in Nigeria to embrace opportunity as this being offered by Etisalat-DigitalSENSE Africa to diversify their limitless positivity through properly harnessing same, declaring, “The way forward is active participation.”

And for the second runner up, Egwe Tochukwu Christopher, the internet is a blessing to this generation, hence more than ever “we are connected to persons and opportunities to further our dreams and ambitions in life, and to create positive impact in the society.”

Nigerian Youths, Egwe said, should seize this rare opportunity to connect with those positive opportunities, persons, and communities to name a few, which will help in projecting their life’s aspirations.

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Pix: Star prize winner 2016 Etisalat-DigitalSENSE Students Essay, Odonoekuma Onyebuchi Ekuma.

MIIVOC insists on 100,000 man-march against Imo State Media bill

... Demands recall of Ugonna Ozurigbo
A civil society organisation, Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption-(MIIVOC), has insisted on its planned 100,000 man-march in Owerri, Imo State capital against the proposed bill to gag the media in the state by the State Assembly, describing it as anti-masses, reports ITRealms.

This is coming as they demanded the recall of the Nwangele state constituents member who is the chief sponsor of the bill and Deputy Speaker of the state Assembly, Ugonna Ozurigbo, according to MIIVOC Executive Director, Dr. Walter Duru.

Duru described the state Assembly’s move as irresponsible and aimed at consolidating fraud and misrule in the state, even as he urged people of the state to resist it, insisting that the march will go on unless the bill is formally withdrawn.

“The bill seeks to regulate the publication and distribution of newspapers and to register newspapers and news agents in Imo State. It is titled: a law to repeal and re-enact the newspaper law of eastern region of Nigeria, law number 24 of 1955 and newspaper law Edict no 3 of 1984 and other matters connected thereto.”

“The bill contradicts the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as the Freedom of Information Act, 2011. It simply shows that some members of the state legislature are self-serving in their endeavours and exposes the bad intentions of the sponsors. What exactly are our leaders hiding and why do they want to gag the press at all cost. I have read through the bill and every page shows the obvious bad intention of the sponsors of the bill.”

“This development is an excellent entry point for scrutiny and public outcry over the ineptitude and wanton corruption of the present administration in the state.”

Continuing, Duru disclosed that mobilization is ongoing to shut down the state in the coming days in protest against the unpopular bill, even as he urged the leadership of the State House of Assembly to withdraw the bill in the interest of the state.

“We are mobilizing citizens against this draconian bill. The state will not believe what will happen in the coming days; members of the state Assembly will realise that they are representatives of the people and not mere self-serving individuals and stooges of the executive arm. I hold strongly and nobody can convince me to the contrary, that whoever that does not want to be discussed should stay away from public offices.”

“Imo people are hungry and there is no semblance of good governance in the state. How does this bill put food on the table of Imo people? How does it entrench transparency and accountability in governance? The focus now should be on legislation that will improve the socio-economic well-being of the people, enhance security and check corruption in the state, and not this evil ploy. The bill should be discarded in its totality. It belongs to the dust bin and should be thrown away without delay.”

Duru, who is also the Chairman, Board of Governors, Freedom of Information Coalition, Nigeria, vowed that everything necessary shall be done to stop the bill, even as he urged the Nwangele state constituents of the chief sponsor of the bill and Deputy Speaker of the state Assembly, Hon. Ugonna Ozurigbo, to commence the process of his recall, in the interest of the state, describing his action as disgraceful.

On reports of Hon. Ozurigbo’s alleged promise to withdraw the bill, Duru argued: “until a formal move is made at the floor of the State Assembly and the bill withdrawn, the action(s) will continue. Politicians cannot be trusted in this part of the world. We believed them in the past and they failed us. Nothing other than an immediate withdrawal of the Bill is acceptable.”

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE 
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Friday, February 24, 2017

Pre-WTDC-17: Americas identify priorities on telecom development

Participants at the Regional Preparatory Meeting (RPM) for the Americas ended Friday in Asunción, Paraguay, with the meeting assessing the ongoing implementation of the Dubai Action Plan adopted at ITU's last World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-14) and identified priority areas for information and communication technology (ICT) development strategies in the Americas, reports ITRealms.

Minister of Finance of the Republic of Paraguay, Mr Santiago Peña, stressed the importance of technology to connect everyone in the country, declaring "Information and communication technologies are key elements of the National Development Plan 2013 to achieve inclusive growth."

For the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Mr. Houlin Zhao said that 2017 is a very important year for the ITU's Telecommunication Development Sector.

"The World Telecommunication Development Conference, to be held later this year, will forge a global plan for telecommunication and ICT development over the next four years. I am pleased to see that significant efforts have been made to engage Members in the preparation of key documents of the Conference," he said.

Also speaking, Ing. Teresita Palacios, President of the National Telecommunication Commission (CONATEL), said that participants at the just concluded regional preparatory meeting were renowned experts, pointing out that the real protagonists of this meeting are the people - the people of the Americas.

“We are all working towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through information and communication technologies," CONATEL boss said.

Five draft regional initiatives for the Americas region for the years 2018-2021 were identified at the RPM for discussion and consideration at the upcoming WTDC-17:

Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Communications; Spectrum Management and Transition to Digital Broadcasting; Deployment of Broadband Infrastructure, especially in Rural and Neglected Areas, and Strengthening of Broadband Access to Services and Applications; Accessibility and Affordability for an Inclusive and Sustainable Americas Region; Development of the Digital Economy, Smart Cities and Communities (SCC) & Internet of Things (IoT), promoting innovation.

Equally speaking, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau, Brahima Sanou, said, every day ITU reaffirms the tremendous potential of ICTs to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs.

"As we embrace a new ecosystem, our actions must go beyond the ICT sector. The ITU's Development Sector will continue to be an active player and facilitator of innovations for sustainable development," he said.

ITRealms recalls that the RPM for the Americas was preceded by the Regional Development Forum (RDF).

Nonye Dom/GEE 
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