" ITREALMS: April 2018


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Monday, April 30, 2018

Ausso Leadership Academy opens for second cohort intake

The newly commissioned Ausso Leadership Academy (ALA) has commenced intake of participants for its second cohort, reports ITRealms.

Entrepreneur-in-Residence and chief executive officer of Ausso Leadership Academy (ALA), Mr. Austin Okere revealed this to ITRealms at the weekend, saying that the first cohort has been largely successful and productive.

He also beckoned on interested Nigerians to take advantage of this second cohort to participate in the opportunity being shared by seasoned Ausso Leadership Academy faculty members..

As said by him, what is required to take part in the second cohort, is an expression of interest (EoI) via electronic mail to info@ausso-academy.com, to receive an invitation to the class.

In addition, ALA, Okere said is accepting Guest Delegates for a trail class beginning today, Monday April 30 through May 4, 2018, urging Nigerians to leverage this opportunity to expand the creation of oasis of understanding businesses in the country.

“As we draw close to the end of the premier cohort and prepare to receive the second cohort from June 04, we are accepting Guest Delegates for a Trail Class from April 30 through May 04,” Okere said.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Pix:  Ausso Leadership Academy first cohort

ETSI, 3GPP to jointly exhibit @CCW 2018

The CCW, ITRealms gathered has been slated to take place on 15 – 17 May, Messe Berlin ExpoCenter City, in Berlin, Germany.

Whereas, ETSI is an independent, not-for-profit, standardization organization in the telecommunications industry in Europe, headquartered in Sophia-Antipolis, France, with worldwide projection. The 3GPP is a collaborative project aimed at developing globally acceptable specifications for third generation (3G) mobile systems, thus catering for a large majority of the telecommunications networks in the world. 

ITRealms reports that CCW will include up-to-the-minute policy, insight and intelligence alongside real-world case studies and best practice advice. This year will showcase the latest technological innovations from more than 200 organisations, making it the biggest CCW yet.

ETSI and 3GPP are actively shaping the Critical Communications World 2018 conference programme and attendees will be given the opportunity to hear presentations from both organizations. More information is available on the full programme of conference sessions.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Incessant attacks on unarmed Christians is ‘jihadist’ – Rev Afolabi

The incessant attacks on unarmed Christin across the country have described as ‘Jihadist terror” according to Rev. Oladele Afolabi, the General Overseer of Christ Base Assembly based in Oworonshoki, Lagos, reports ITRealms.

Speaking to ITRealms on Sunday after complying with the protest march called by the Christians Association of Nigeria nd Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Rev. Afolabi lamented the killings of many Christians in Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, Plateau and other parts of the country.

For him, Nigeria, is under siege and requires absolute God’s intervention, stressing that he led the congregation to the peaceful protest to join other members of CANN, PFN in venting their displeasures over the unjust killings of innocent Christians.

The jihadist herdsmen, Rev. Afolabi said, are attacking people on their farms, homes and churches.

“We want the government to wake up to their basic responsibility of providing security for her citizenry.  This present government seems to be unmoved and careless about lives that are being wasted daily,” he said.

Also, the clergy bemoaned that with security situation, some of them are ashamed and shocked about the announcement on daily basis about gruesome killings in the country.

“But the government seems unconcerned,” he decried and listed some demands including an end to these killings, “release of Leah Sharibu, kidnapped by Boko Haram must be released and other girls that were not Christians have been released. She must be released.”

Rev. Afolabi equally reminded the government that Christians' lives matter, insisting that they may do more than this protest if government does not do as demanded.

Olugbenga Shittu/GEE

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Pix of members of the Christ Base Assembly church protesting on Sunday at Oworo-Lagos

Will Trump unveil Leahy laws off Nigeria?

It may not be news that the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari would today, Monday, April 30, in Washington DC, United States of America, meet President Donald Trump at the Oval Office, but the question remained if Trump will unveil the Leahy laws off Nigeria, writes ITRealms.

Top on the agenda of the meeting of the two presidents comprises matters on security and economic realignment and no society thrives where the security of the country is under-siege as seen largely in Nigeria today.

The past week, over 30 persons have been killed including two Catholic priests and Christian faithful in Benue State by suspected AK47 arm-welding herdsmen, while the Army claimed at the weekend a top Boko Haram commander has been arrested over the Benue most recent killings, thereby bringing a twist to the issues on whether those Benue attacks were actually by herdsmen or Boko Haram.

This led the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria to request President Buhari to resign with immediate effect, even as some section of the National Assembly made up of the Senate and House of Representatives have declare ‘no confidence vote’ on his administration.

Worthy of note is that on assumption of office in 2015, President Buhari visited US and held a meeting then with President Barrack Obama and reportedly requested what industry and security observers tagged “counterterrorism with minimal strings” for Nigeria, which was evidently turned down based on damning security reports.

Some of this reports included the increasing insurgency by Boko Haram in the northeast, stressing that the group was behind the kidnapping of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014 as well as the abduction of more than 100 from Dapchi in February 2018, and subsequent return of some which was largely described as drama of the absurd, moreso, following insistence by the terrorist group not to release Leah Sharibu for refusal to convert to Islam.

The government of the day led by President Buhari seems helpless as they continued to claim making strides in the fight while more and more Nigerians are being killed if not slaughtered on daily basis.

ITRealms gathered that the US-Nigerian security cooperation was strained under former US President Barack Obama due to prohibition placed by the Leahy laws, which bar providing US military assistance to specific individuals and units of foreign militaries that have been credibly accused of committing human rights abuses.

The State Department at the time concluded that both Boko Haram and the Nigerian military had committed atrocities. Some Nigerian troops, specifically, were accused in a State Department report of committing extra-judicial killings, torture, rape, arbitrary detention, and widespread violence.

Acknowledging these human rights concerns, the director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, J. Peter Pham, who is also vice president for research and regional initiatives at the Atlantic Council, said: “I would make the argument not to allow the best to be the enemy of the good.” Stressing that “Absent of clear evidence of a systematically abusive regime, moral preening is of little utility in dealing with situations like this.”

Trump in contrast, had pushed ahead military cooperation with Nigeria with his administration in 2017 given
approval for the sale to Nigeria of 12 military planes and security equipment worth $600 million; which is still a huge mess when it comes to due process as the National Assembly said there is no evidence such money was appropriated either in 2017 or 2018 budget.

Also, Trump had sought to improve relations with African countries which he allegedly referred to in derogatory terms in January this year, according to Pham. Incidentally, in March, Trump’s top diplomat, Rex Tillerson, then Secretary of State came to Nigeria only to spent a few hours as he was forced to cut short a trip to Africa. Trump fired Tillerson on his return from this trip.

With the above observations, industry and diplomatic watchers are still in awe why Buhari should trust Trump to change his mind so soon from the core ‘American first’ stanza, moreso, that the reasons adduced by the Obama administration under Leahy laws rather than change, but is getting worse.

For the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) over 300 Nigerians have been killed since January 1 and last weekend and specifically in Benue but no arrest has been made, and action to conclusively show determination by the government, rather the Buhari administration appeared helpless as it resorted to sending condolences.

All eyes is now on Mr. Trump to know if he will still proceed with 2017 approval to Nigeria, amidst alleged ethnic cleansing against President Buhari’s administration, although the reverse is possible if adequate homework is done to strengthen the ties between the two countries before the Oval Office meeting.

The prayer of every well-meaning Nigerian is for the government of Buhari to overcome insurgency and stand up against the herdsmen, which the government claimed came from aftermath of Libya civil conflict, yet the last weekend arrest of Boko Haram commander over the Benue killings in the last fortnight sends a wrong signal, according another school of thought; in that those Benue attacks may have been as well perpetrated by Boko Haram all this while, whereas the government and military search for excuses by tagging them herdsmen from neighbouring countries.

The fact that by the end of this Oval Office meeting between Buhari and Trump, a new security statistics could emerge to either justify the outcome or damn it.

The Leahy Laws or Leahy amendments are U.S. human rights laws that prohibit the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense from providing military assistance to foreign security force units that violate human rights with impunity.[1] It is named after its principal sponsor, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont).

To implement this law, U.S. embassies, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and the appropriate regional bureau of the U.S. Department of State vet potential recipients of security assistance. If a unit is found to have been credibly implicated in a serious abuse of human rights, assistance is denied until the host nation government takes effective steps to bring the responsible persons within the unit to justice. 

While the U.S. Government does not publicly report on foreign armed forces units it has cut off from receiving assistance, press reports have indicated that security force and national defense force units in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Nigeria, Turkey, Indonesia, Lebanon, and Saint Lucia have been denied assistance due to the Leahy Law.
Senator Leahy first introduced this law in 1997 as part of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act. It initially referred only to counter-narcotics assistance for one year. 

The next year, with his leadership, Congress expanded it to cover all State Department funded assistance. This provision was included in all annual Foreign Operations budget laws until 2008. At that time Congress made the law permanent by amending it into the Foreign Assistance Act. In 2011, Congress revised the law substantially, seeking to enhance its implementation.

The United States government has long been a major, if not the largest, provider of assistance—funding, training, non-lethal equipment, and/or weaponry---to foreign military and other security forces.

 In 2012 it spent $25 billion on training and equipping foreign militaries and law enforcement agencies of more than 100 countries around the world.[6] Security assistance is driven by overriding U.S. national security objectives, including a desire to challenge/overturn communist regimes during the Cold War, counter drug trafficking in the 1990s, or counter anti-Western terrorism in the 2000s. Throughout the United States' long history of providing assistance to foreign armed forces, some portion of this assistance has been provided to forces that repress and abuse their own populations.

Before 1997, the primary U.S. legislation constraining aid to countries with poor human rights records was Section 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act, which prohibited security assistance to “any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.” This law was seen as too vague to be effective in cases where the U.S. government had an overriding interest.

According to Senator Leahy, his law “makes it clear that when credible evidence of human rights violations exists, U.S. aid must stop. But, it provides the necessary flexibility to allow the U.S. to advance its foreign policy objectives in these countries.”

As Nigerians hope for the best, may the best come out of the Oval Office meeting today.

Remmy Nweke/ED, ops

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Buhari heads to Washington DC for Monday meeting with Trump

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari would this Saturday, head to Washington DC, United States of America for a planned meeting with President, Donald Trump on Monday, April 30, this year, reports ITRealms.

This, ITRealms gathered from Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed that President Buhari on this visit would mark the first African president to meet US President Donald J. Trump at the White House in Washington, since emerging President in 2016.

Also commenting on this, the director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, J. Peter Pham, expressed optimism the visit by Buhari is coming with good omen.

“I think it sends a very good signal that the first African head of state to have an Oval Office meeting will be the democratically elected president of Africa’s most populous country and its largest economy,” Peter Pham said.

ITRealms further gathered that the two leaders are expected to focus on security and economic issues.

On security, Nigeria has been battling the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast of the country for almost a decade. The group was behind the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014 as well as the 
abduction of more than 100 from Dapchi in February 2018.

Chuks Egbune/GEE 

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Suffering No More gets downloads across iTunes, AppleMusic+30 others

The recently debut R & B single “Suffering No More’ is now available in over 30 electronic downloadable channels including iTunes, and Apple Music, reports ITRealms.

The ‘Suffering No More’ produced by the OELA music brand for download by music lovers across the world. 

ITRealms gathered that the song by OELA from Nigeria, featuring Miracle and Exceptional Dan was inspired by the need to understand that suffering in Africa and many other parts of the world is not destined, neither a cross to bear, but due to a wrong mindset about who we are.

Also, ITRealms gathered that OELA, in the song takes the world through a journey of self-consciousness about injustice that breeds suffering, but assures that it should not be that way if people know who they are in the context of what to do, their duties to fellow human beings in a world where lack and abundance live side by side.

Uj. N. Dominics/ED, Ops

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Single & Married by Jacqueline Ogoh debuts @News Arena

A new weekly column, Single and Married would debut today, Saturday at the News Arena to be anchored by Jacqueline Ogoh, reports ITRealms.

Jacqueline Ogoh, ITRealms gathered is a seasoned journalist and marriage counselor would teach and guide singles on how to navigate the sensitive thorny issues of selection of life partners in order to ensure they avoided making costly errors, as well as give tips to married couples on how to continually avoid the stress level on the journey to marital bliss.

“Marriage is a sacred journey with its peculiarities. Every week on this platform, we would be giving out tips on how to enjoy and endure your marriage,” Ogoh said.

Ogoh, who has a thriving marriage and counseling clinic in the heart of Lagos added that the platform would be used to mend broken homes as well as give simple easy to follow tips on how to avoid making costly mistakes or taking costly decisions that could lead to unhappiness in the home.

The publisher of News Arena Yinka Aderibigbe said he is happy that the platform is beginning to play the role envisioned by its management to correct the endemic malaise destroying the moral fabric of the society.

He expressed the hope that Single and Married column would in the near future be a formidable platform that would be able to lay claims to healing of broken homes or the avoidance of tension at the homes which are the very foundation of stable societies.

News Arena is a digital newspaper which started operation in 2015. It sets out to optimize the use of the new media tools in the dissemination of balanced, unbiased reportage of news as well as ensuring that the political class is made accountable to the people.

News Arena is a member of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), a foremost association of professional journalists in digital news publishing business in Nigeria.

Uj. N. Dominic/ED, Ops

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Friday, April 27, 2018

Aligning organization with programme in Leftist politics

One major problem limiting the national effectiveness and impact of the Nigerian Left in the country’s politics—at least since the end of the (1967-1970) Civil War—has been the contradictions (or “disconnect”) between organization and programme. Put more concretely: The inability of the organizations of the Left to fully and satisfactorily accomplish the tasks they assign themselves through the employment of the structures, means and methods fashioned by them—and therefore available to them—has been a major limiting factor in its national effectiveness and impact in Nigerian politics.

As the Left now prepares to “diversify” its politics by participating in future electoral contests through combinations and alliances, it is necessary to step up the struggle against this almost chronic weakness. The following recollection is a statement and an illustration of the problem. Some details that are inappropriate here and, in any case, irrelevant to this discussion, are left out of the narrative.

Sometime in the second half of 1988, a fairly large number of Nigerian socialists met in the university town of Nsukka. They had come from the four corners and centre of the country. It was at the height of General Babangida’s dictatorship when the regime was trying to institute—or, perhaps, more correctly, institutionalize—a form of “military democracy” or “diarchy”. Dialectically, it was also at the height of Marxist vanguardism in the Nigerian Left.

Most of the persons who were present at the all-night (necessarily underground) meeting were in the forefront of the various struggles being waged at the time by three popular-democratic organizations that were particularly under state and ruling-class attack: the labour movement organized principally under the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its affiliates, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).

A few other participants—among them the conveners and coordinators of the meeting—were either not known in the open struggles at all (except possibly to the security forces) or were seen by the public as journalists or mere ideological supporters. One or two of the embattled popular-democratic organizations were, at the time, also holding well-publicised and open conferences at or around Nsukka. These two tactics—the existence and deployment of doubly underground conveners and coordinators and a revolutionary meeting taking place on the sidelines of open conferences—were well-practiced and effective covers—as it seemed, and as we believed.

I travelled from Lagos where I was serving as member of the Editorial Board and Acting Editorial Page Editor of The Guardian. First, I stopped in Calabar, my “base”. There I linked up with other members of the Calabar Group of Socialists. From Calabar our delegation moved to Nsukka in three groups along three different routes.

The agenda of the meeting should, by now, be obvious. Its core can be divided broadly into two. The first was our response to the regime’s clampdown on the leading organizations of the popular masses and the Nigerian Left. The second was the review of Babangida’s transition programme and our attitude to it. The agenda’s ancillary items included organizational structure and coordination; finance and “logistics”; local struggles; and “general”. The ancillary items were regarded as secondary, subsidiary or merely supportive. That was the Nigerian Left 30 years ago. But with the benefit of hindsight, I now regret that the so-called ancillary issues were not organically integrated into the agenda of that meeting and of similar meetings of that period.

The so-called “general” issues unbelievably included the national question, the gender question and general democratic questions that continually assailed and still assail what we used to call “bourgeois politics”. These other issues, as well as questions relating to organizational structures, finance and “logistics” were just mentioned as delegates were looking at their watches and calculating how long it would take them to move out of Nsukka or get to the bus stations!

This near-neglect of issues in “bourgeois politics”, internal organization and “logistics” is a heritage that must now be buried—because I believe it has been rejected by the movement of history. We may call this problem the “dialectics of organization and programme” or “aligning organisational structure with what is to be done” or the “correlation of what is to be done and how to do it”.

The all-night meeting opened around 9.00 pm. Choosing a presiding officer and two deputies and endorsing the composition of the secretariat took almost an hour because it was a meeting of representatives of several groups, each protective of its “autonomy” and afraid of “domination”. Those who convened the meeting had merely deployed their personal authority—ideological, moral and political—to do so. The solution of this preliminary procedural problem later became the foundation of a bigger problem, as will soon be seen.

Participants who were eventually chosen as presiding and recording officers—that is, the trustees of the meeting – came from different locations and belonged to different groups. The meeting, as expected, went on to take strategically important decisions. The implementation committees were constituted by random nominations. The grave shortcomings of this all-important meeting for which patriotic and courageous Nigerians took great risks—convinced that this was necessary to save the nation from creeping neo-fascism—began to emerge shortly after the meeting had ended and delegates had sung the “Solidarity” and “Internationale” and embarked on their homeward trips.

The theoretical expectation was that the presiding officers and recorders would assemble after the meeting to confirm and “tidy up” the records especially the decisions reached—and communicate same to “stakeholders” by the usual methods and channels. The various implementation committees were also expected to hold brief meetings to confirm both their memberships and how to carry out their assignments.

They were also expected to appoint convener(s) and coordinator(s). The tragedy was that these expectations were largely unmet before dispersal. If the presiding officers and recorders and the implementation committees had met they would have discovered that since their memberships were dispersed across the country and both the individuals and their primary organizations were not buoyant enough to permit them to travel around as necessary, they must find other ways of carrying out their assignments. But these other meetings did not take place—because the main meeting was deemed to have ended. The result was a catalogue of grave shortcomings in the execution of assignments.

This trend, which my own generation met in the early 1970s, continued until the meeting in Calabar in April 1989. That Calabar meeting of the Nigerian Left took place on the sidelines of a conference organized by the NLC to consider the formation of a Labour Party. At the end of the Left meeting, an empowered 12-member Coordinating Committee—each member representing a primary group—was appointed. But, beyond this, the meeting appointed a 2-member Secretariat based in Lagos. The two members were serious, committed and experienced; they also had a history of working together; their places of work were close; and one of them had a full secretarial support to offer the Secretariat.

These two simple steps—appointing a fully representative and empowered Coordinating Committee and setting up a working Secretariat—caused a great positive leap in the post-Civil War effort to found a nationally-based organization of the Nigerian Left. Another historic leap would be made if the Left, as Left, not only “diversifies” into electoral politics—or bourgeois politics—but also aligns its organization accordingly. And, in trying to do this, the Left may need to re-possess and then revise, thus recreating, their inherited theory of organisation called democratic centralism. With the internet and the social media creatively employed the new leap could be a double or triple one!

*Contributed by Edwin Madunagu, mathematician and journalist, writes from Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.

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VPTourOfTech: NITDA watching closely

When the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, gave his steering speech at the 2016 e-Nigeria International Conference and Exhibition, emphasising the point that the President Buhari administration is set to reset Nigeria’s economic architecture by diversifying from oil dependency and leveraging on ICT as a critical contributor to the economy, some people felt it was the usual talk by political leaders, without any intention to bring the vision to fruition. 

But events have come to prove that real change is happening in the way government is engaging with Tech. In 2017, Mr President himself attended the e-Nigeria International Conference and Exhibition to give his scorecard on support for the Information Technology sector and his plans for its further development.

It was therefore not a surprise when I received the mail that I was to join His Excellency the Vice President (VP) for a tour of the Innovation Hubs in Lagos. Although NITDA through its Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE) embarked on a similar trip in November 2017, having to accompany the VP is something special. 

The purpose of the visit was to gain first-hand knowledge of the innovation ecosystem. The Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonaya Onu, was also on the VP’s entourage. This was not a regular official function, it was not a time of talking and lecturing the citizens about what government has done or not done; it was a time to LISTEN. Indeed we listened to our young, vibrant, passionate and highly motivated youths. They demonstrated to us that the best of Nigeria is yet to be unveiled. It was a tour that gave hope to all. 

The young people saw in the government team, a breath of fresh thinking. They did not see the grand-standing and disruptiveness that such a visit would have caused in the past. They remained at their work, coding, some were eating some were taking selfies with the VP.  It was such a joy to see the glee on everyone that day.

We listened to the Paystack story, how Shola and Ezra began a quiet revolution in payments processing back in 2014. Paystack has now become one of the most efficient payment processors in the country. Many did not pay attention to Andela until Mark Zuckerberg announced an investment in the Startup. Andela set out to solve the problem of top-class IT skills gap in Africa and the world. Andela recruits interns after a rigorous process in which less than 1% of over 70,000 scale through. The interns then go through a six-month intensive bootcamp that sharpens them to become world-class. The energy, intelligence and zeal of the over 500 strong office of young people in T-shirts and Jeans is enthralling. Sulyman, the VP Global Operations, gave the visitors an expose on the business model, opportunities and challenges of Andela.

Flutterwave is sited in a bunker-like structure. This company was founded by a team of ex-bankers, entrepreneurs and engineers. In less than two years of its founding this payment gateway has processed transactions valued over $2 billion and has over 45,000 merchants. Time would fail me to talk about Autogenius, Carido, Asoko Insight, Branch. These are startups that provide solutions ranging from auto-mechanics, micro insurance, micro loans, corporate intelligence etc. Indeed the Nigerian genius is unleashed and we at NITDA are paying close attention.

We visited 6 places and listened to 14 Startups tell us what they do. FarmCrowdy solves the problem of under-utilized arable farm lands, help farmers access capital, help people invest in agriculture without owning a farm and everybody gets a share of the profit. That is amazing indeed. At Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF) operated by Access Bank Plc., we saw an organisation getting itself ready for the new face of banking and finance. The final stop was at Co-Creation Hub, Yaba. This pioneering beehive of innovation is not resting on its oars. Cc-Hub is giving Nigeria its first home-grown cyber-security platform called Safe-Online. In the same place we met Re-Learn, a Startup that is working to transform difficult educational concepts into funny cartoons. We spoke with the Managing Partner of Growth Capital, Tunji Eleso who told us how they are helping fund innovations of Nigerians by Nigerian investors.

Throughout the tour, I as the Director General/CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) paid very close attention and took notes copiously. I noted the opportunities and challenges of the sector as well as the impact or gap of our interventions as an Agency of Federal Government. Since we came on-board, I had often reiterated my resolve to impact the ‘Forgotten Ones’ in the tech ecosystem. By this I mean the enterprising Startups, the Women, Children and small enterprises. One of the things we did was to reposition OIIE not as a competitor with the Hubs, rather to be a facilitator and policy compass to ensure the sector got all what it needed to grow. In this regard, we prepared a draft of the Nigerian ICT Innovation And Entrepreneurship Framework (NIIEF). 

The objective of the Framework is to cast a vision for the ICT innovation ecosystem, identify the stakeholders, define critical roles of NITDA in their development and responsibilities of all stakeholders. A stakeholders’ engagement was held in the 4th quarter of 2017, where representatives of the Hubs, Academia, States and Federal Government all made inputs to the Draft. The Draft was further scrutinized at the recently organised I4Policy Hackathon held in Lagos and Abuja. Inputs of stakeholders have been taken and would continue to be until we have a document fit-for-purpose.

The IT Projects Clearance function of NITDA has also become a veritable instrument to empower Startups in Nigeria. The Committee has been gathering data to identify IT projects that can be reserved for the small-scale tech companies. Our goal is to engage the relevant Agencies to find a way to reduce the entry barrier for young people to bid and win government contracts in areas they have shown relative competence. Also, we have insisted on local content where such capacities exist. 

Another initiative we are experimenting at NITDA is to match Startups and Hubs with successful winners of our project bids. This has proven successful in some of our programmes and projects as the young innovators bring agility and fresh-thinking to the process while getting experience and finance. We would ensure this programme continues and grows to become a model for implementing IT and other projects in Nigeria.

Indeed, the creative zeal and passion of the Nigerian youth has caught the attention of the world and President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is paying close attention and giving the necessary support without disrupting the disruptors.

*Contributed by Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the Director General/CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

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Lagos to host Cyber Secure Confab 2018

The commercial nerve centre of the country, Lagos has been confirmed to host the 2018 edition of Cyber Secure Nigeria, next month, May, reports ITRealms.

President of the Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), Mr. Remi Afon disclosed this to ITRealms, saying the preeminent cyber security conference in the country and has been scheduled to take place in Lagos, May 9-10, 2018 at the Four Points by Sheraton, Victoria Island, Lagos.

This year conference theme, he said, is "Mitigating Cyber Threats in the Digital Age" while assuring that the  Cyber Secure Nigeria Conference which has become an annual event on its fourth year.

The conference, Afon also said, provides unparalleled gathering of cyber security industry giants, government, academia, Information Security Professionals from Nigeria and International Community.

He pointed out that cyber threats and attacks are constantly growing and becoming more sophisticated, dangerous and damaging.

“It is a top priority for businesses to protect their networks, computers, and information from unauthorized access and breaches. As enterprises and governments now provide most services online to their clients, the size of cyber-attack has grown exponentially. Many of these cyber criminals’ current exploits are going unnotice,” he said.

Cyber Secure Nigeria 2018 Conference , Afon emphasized will focus on how businesses could protect themselves from falling victims and also learn how to mitigate these threats in a digital age through workshops, technical sessions, plenary sessions and breakout session.

“The cybercriminal community has evolved locally and internationally from script kiddies and organized gangs to nation-states and hacktivist groups whose exploit has caused loss of productivity, financial loss and reputational damage to organisations and government,” he declared.

Recently, he recalled that Secureworks Counter Threat Unit researchers released a report on a group of Nigerian cybercriminals code named "Gold Galleon" targeting maritime industry via business email compromise (BEC) and business email spoofing (BES) fraud to dupe their unsuspecting victims into parting with millions of dollars.

“It is estimated that between June 2017 and January 2018, the cybercriminals attempted to steal upwards of $3.9 million, and on average, fraud attempts theft level may reach $6.7 million per year,” Afon said.
Further he noted that according to Cybersecurity Ventures, global cybercrime damages was $3 trillion in 2015, and is estimated to reach about $6 trillion by the end of 2021, a 100 percent increase in just five years.

“Unfortunately, over 85 per cent of organisations and government agencies in Nigeria lack cybersecurity plan and strategy while majority are unsure whether or not they’ve been a victim of cybercrime,” CSEAN president decried.

ITRealms, recalls that CSEAN is a non-profit organisation composed of Information Security Professionals in Nigeria and Diaspora, recognising the need for unified effort and framework across board to tackle Cyber Crime. Cyber Security Experts of Nigeria (CSEAN) was established as an advocacy group to galvanise the movement and development of Information Security in Nigeria.
Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Why we inaugurated telecom industry working group - NCC

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has thrown more light on why it recently inaugurated telecommunication industry working group, reports ITRealms.

Speaking at the Digital Bridge Institute, Cappa, Oshodi-Lagos, during a Stakeholders Forum on National Roaming and Active Infrastructure Sharing, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, represented by Austine Nwalunne, Director Spectrum Administration, Department of NCC, made this disclosure.

Danbatta in his address said the NCC’s commitment towards ensuring the continued growth and development of the telecoms industry, inaugurated an Industry Working Committee in 2017 to work out the procedure and modalities for implementing National Roaming and Active Infrastructure Sharing.

He also said that National Roaming has the potential of promoting seamless communication of subscribers as they will be able to roam on the network of other service providers where their own service provider is unavailable or has limited network coverage.

“Not only will there be noticeable reduction in network deployment costs, the industry will also witness acceleration in the take-up of broadband services and gradual elimination of the rural-urban digital divide,” he said.

National Roaming and Active Infrastructure Sharing, he noted are two of such initiatives which have been successfully utilized to achieve improved coverage, cost reduction and the efficient utilization of scarce network resources by regulatory agencies.

The event was attended by relevant stakeholders on the growth and development of telecommunications industry.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Pix: Austine Nwaulune, Director Spectrum Administration Department, NCC, who represented the EVC at the Forum, giving the welcome address.

Where is Leah Sharibu, asks CitizensGO

It has been some weeks now since the last batch of release was done by the Boko Haram terrorist group which saw the release of some 100 girls with a caveat to parents, “Don’t ever put your daughters in school again.”

ITRealms reports that following Leah Sharibbu refusal to denounce her faith despite persuasion by the rest of her abducted school friends, Boko Haram thus refused to release her whilst her mates regained freedom.

ITRealms recalled that the terrorist, Boko Haram early in the year, entered Dapchi, Nigeria, around 2 a.m. in nine vehicles and the girls were left in the center of town, witnesses said. The Boko Haram extremists reportedly told residents they “did it out of pity. And don’t ever put your daughters in school again.”

Since then, nothing has been heard of Leah Sharibu despite Federal Government promises, hence, Ann Kioko and CitizenGO team are joining forces with Ladies World Foundation (LWF), an organisation in Nigeria to pray for Leah Sharibu and all girls abducted by the Boko Haram terrorists.

However, in furtherance, the teams at CitizenGO and Ladies World Foundation have opened up petition to seek help for Leah and the rest of abducted girls, and beckoning concerned citizens of the world to signup.

Pointing out that out of the abducted girls, school girl Leah Sharibbu refused to denounce her faith despite persuasion by the rest of her abducted school friends.

“The only Christian girl among the Dapchi schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram last month could have been freed along with her schoolmates but refused to renounce her faith, according to her mother. Leah Sharibu refused to accept Islam, resisting the entreaties of her classmates to pretend to do so, her parents learned from snatched conversation with her friends,” part of the petition read.

In addition, Ms Leah asked her friends to tell her parents to pray for her, they said, but her mother could not find out anything else about how her daughter was!

Early penultimate Wednesday morning, Rebecca Sharibu, the mother of Leah, 15, heard girls’ voices and the sound of vehicles driving past her house. She was told to stay inside, but when she heard the cars coming back after dropping the girls off, she ran out. All around her were joyful parents and their returned daughters. But she could not find Leah anywhere.

According to the petition, Boko Haram horrified the world when it abducted 276 girls from a boarding school in Chibok more than four years ago. While some escaped and many others were released as part of negotiations, about 100 still remain with their captors. Some girls were forced to marry their captors, and many had children fathered by the militants.
The Ladies World Foundation Nigeria and the CitizenGO team urging good people all over to join hands to us pray for Leah Sharibu and all the remaining abducted girls by the insurgent group.

“Also help us hold the Nigerian accountable for not helping finish off or control the Boko Haran insurgent group,” the group demanded.

Boko Haram, they lamented, has been a religious extremist insurgent group that abducts innocent girls and forces them to renounce their faith besides marrying them off and making them sex and work slaves.

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE

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