" ITREALMS: 2019

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

'2019: Nigeria made remarkable achievement under Buhari' -ITREALMS

Nigeria has made some remarkable achievements under President Muhammadu Buhari leadership in the last 12 months, with major growth drivers coming from Information and communications, agriculture, mining & quarrying, transportation and storage, reports ITREALMS.

These achievements include the overall growth with Nigerian economy growing at an average rate of 2.2 per cent over the first three quarters, compared to 1.7 per cent over the same period in 2018.

According to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed at a media chat with ITREALMS in Lagos to present the major achievements of the Buhari's administration for the outgoing year, 2019.

He said for instance that in oil and non-oil sectors, both performed considerably better in 2019 than in 2018.

The oil sector, he told ITREALMS grew at an average of 4 per cent over the three quarters, compared to 2.4 per cent in 2018, while the non-oil sector grew by 2 per cent, compared to 1.7 per cent in 2018.

"We believe it is important to do this for the record, especially against the background of the continuing efforts by the political opposition to obfuscate the steady progress being made by the administration in all sectors, even in the face of dwindling resources.

These achievements, he said, were by no means exhaustive, but they headline the progress made by the administration in the year under review.

Some major growth sector, he revealed that in the third quarter of 2019, the major growth drivers were Information and communications, agriculture, mining & quarrying, transportation & storage as well as manufacturing, all of which have seen considerable focus by government.

'In the third quarter of 2019, a total of 34 economic activities witnessed positive expansion, same as in 2018," he said.

Nigeria, he also told ITREALMS witnessed strong performance in the external sector, suggesting increase in diversification of exports and export revenue.

The value of imports in 2019, as at the third quarter, he disclosed to ITREALMS, stood at 11.6 trillion naira, compared to 9.6 trillion naira as at third quarter of 2018. which represented an annual growth rate of 21 per cent between 2018 and 2019. Other than refined petroleum products, major imports. He said, have been machinery and vehicles.

The value of exports grew by 2.5% between 2018 and 2019 as

at the third quarter, rising from 14 trillion Naira to 14.4 trillion Naira. This resulted in a stronger overall performance and an increase in the value of total trade by 10% between 2018 and 2019.

While the value of crude oil exports, he said, decreased by 3.78 per cent, non crude oil exports rose by over 30 per cent in value between 2018 and 2019.

"Non-oil exports also doubled from about 1 trillion Naira to 2 trillion Naira over this period," he said.

Banji Boye/ Editor

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Friday, December 27, 2019

30 nominees justle for star prize @FALA'19 - ITREALMS

Some 30 nominees have been shortlisted to justle for the 2019 Future Africa Leaders Award(FALA)  organized by Pastor Christ Oyakhilome Foundation International as as finalists, reports ITREALMS.

This is coming as the star prize winner would emerge on December 31 in Lagos.

Speaking to ITREALMS at a press meeting Friday, at The Providence by Mantis Hotel GRA Ikeja, Lagos, the organisers led by Pastor Ambrose Isesele noted that 2019 edition is the 7th session with top 30 nominees.

Isesele, a member of the Central Executive Council, Loveworld Incorporated, accompanied by Pastor Arinze Emmanuel of the Directorate of Corporate Affairs Loveworld Inc, Pastor Mrs Jumoke Akinsanya, HOD Loveworld Inc, Pastor Dave Ogbaka, HOD, FALA, Pastor Sharon Ajide (Nigeria) FALA 2013 star prize winner, Joel Tiago from Angola 2016 FALA winner, Enoch Afortey from Ghana 2016 FALA winner, said the programme crisscrosses 54 African countries.

He noted that FALA has been the vision of the foundation's president, pastor Chris Oyakhilome to wake the giants and resilience of African youths and develop the continent rather than looking for help from the western world.

He said that this years edition is coming up on the 31st,of December, 2019 at Loveworld Conference Center, Lagos, where some 30 winners would be honored, and highest category of the award would emerge as the star prize winner of the year.

According to him, last year 2018, dignitaries among others were minister of sports Barrister Solomon Danlung which was chaired by the former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obansanjo, where each winner went home with 10,000USD while the Star prize winner enjoyed additional 25,000 USD.

"It is a recognition of Africa Youths Leaders in their capacity to contribute to the development of their communities. The essence of money attachments is to help them to do more by helping their locality to get developed, the age of this targeted youths is within the brackets of 18 to 23 years," he said.

He disclosed that the special guest of honor for this year FALA is the former president of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Head of Department of Future Africa Leaders Awards, Pastor Dave Ogbaka.

He further said that this programme is open for Africa youths, and not limited to only Chris Embassy Church members, stressing that about 15million Africa youths subscribed to FALA.

Some of the finalists include 
Perculia Oheri, Honson Ekpo and Angolan Xavier Tombiarula among others.

*Emmanuel Nweke/Editor

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Thursday, December 26, 2019

Festive season: Enjoy banking with *326# @Ecobank - ITREALMS

This festive season is an enjoyable package for Ecobank customers  by their use of *326# during this Christmas holiday, reports ITREALMS.

According to the bank, right on your mobile with *326# no matter the kind of phone you have; you can avoid crowded banking halls and bank on the go simply by dialling *326#. Perhaps you are holidaying in Nigeria and need to open an account, you can simply open an Ecobank Xpress Account in seconds with the code. The process straightforward, no need for forms, documentation or any paperwork whatsoever.

Don’t miss any fun moment, sort out your utility and cable subscription from your mobile. Make friends and loved ones feel the merriment of this season, send them money with *326#. You can transfer money without hassles to any bank account in Nigeria. This is one season when you cannot afford to stay out of touch. Buying airtime for yourself and loved ones is a breeze. Dial *326*Amount# to buy airtime on your phone and *326*Amount*Phone number# to buy airtime for someone.

With expenses piling up this season, we have you covered. Carry out transactions using *326# at zero session charges so even when you are out of airtime, you can still transact the merry and mobile way. Whatever you do this holiday, our mobile solutions are available to add tons of merriment to your season!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Ecobank!

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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Nigerian Donald Trump - ITREALMS

Donald J. Trump last week became just the third president to be impeached in the history of United States of America. But every nation has its own Trump. That is, someone who found himself in position of power, not because of pristine background, experience, leadership effectiveness, moral purity, or political correctness. It could also be someone who might have indulged in gross abuse of office.

Of course, Nigeria harbors a good number of its own shameless characters, some of whom are identified below. Yet, the mere mention of such names in the same breadth with Donald Trump, however ignoble, is ostensibly an elevation, but the glow of a vulture never lasts beyond the dry season.

Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Governor of Kano State: Like Trump, Ganduje is virally corrupt, morally bankrupt, maleficent, vengeful, baleful, and ruthless. Kano has not known peace, since the governor was seen in a trove of video clips receiving bribes from a contractor and stuffing the proceeds in wads of dollars into his pocket. In short, only in Nigeria can such a highbinder remain a governor of a state. Yet, similar to the situation in America with Donald Trump, instead of punitive action, Ganduje’s political party has turned blind eye while the ancient city of Kano is under assault. Nevertheless, lack of stature, as well as charisma, is the only reason Ganduje would not readily qualify as the Trump Nigerian double.

Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC): Oshiomhole has remained in power through a combination of dubious charisma and the ability to deceive a gullible society for selfish interest. He is also combative, full of bluster, and sees quid pro quo, as a way of life, however warped. Moreover, the APC Chairman is madly attention-seeking and craves exotic lifestyles. These descriptions fit perfectly well with Trump. But it won’t still suffice here. Oshiomhole’s physical attribute is the human equate of the aye-aye, and the American president is conscious of his look and will rather resign from office than be compared with the former Edo governor.

Dino Maleye, ex-Kogi Senator: The history will remain in wonderstruck of how this nothingburger found himself in the Legislature, let his dream to become president. In short, the sole reason Dino is on this list is the mere fact that he is the quintessential bozo. A bozo means wazzock—a stupid person, a clown, buffoon, and nincompoop—the type of nouns commonly associated to Donald Trump. Moreover, Maleye also gloats on his physical attributes, as well as fortune, no matter how crooked, and the media are fascinated with him for entertainment value.

Ayodele Fayose, Former Ekiti Governor: This is another rabble-rouser that exhibits the typical Trump characteristics. He is street-talking, cavalier, incoherent, unapologetic but a goon of charismatic celebrity, who draws followers by parading fantasy as fact. The former Ekiti governor too wants to be president, but that is where the comparison ends.

Orji Kanu, Senate Chief Whip: The garrulous former Abia State governor has a background that not only evinces everything wrong with politics but also echoes that of the American president. Kalu is bold and charismatic and, of course, owes his climb to power to make-believe wealth base. Though he has long aspired to be president, the Senate Chief Whip is a tub-thumper with no known political or religious beliefs, who was merely wagering at the ruling APC before he was convicted for corruption. He would have emerged as a near perfect Nigerian Trump, but the former Abia governor mis-gambled big time with his current party.

Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s President. For sure, Buhari is a slowpoke, as well as a goldbrick. He is neither charismatic nor loquacious. More essentially, he cannot claim to know what it takes to create jobs or wealth. Thusly, he may appear to pale in comparison to Donald Trump, but the truth is that the Nigerian leader actually has more in common with the American president. To begin with, Buhari is a stone-cold bigot who has sustained power through demagoguery. In addition, he is by far the most vengeful, divisive, tribalistic, sectionalistic, nepotic, and toxic leader Nigeria has ever seen.

The similarity grows closer when considered that both Trump and Buhari thrive in hypocrisy. For instance, they assumed power in their respective countries preaching integrity, virtue, and righteousness, only to gain the power to embrace corruption, utter disregard for rule of law, and gross abuse of office as way of governance.

Not to be forgotten, the Buhari apologists never fail to brandish the bad examples of President Trump as excuse for the unending moral deficiencies of the Nigerian leader. Very significantly, despite their moral failings, their respective political parties never hesitated to coalesce behind the unrepentant leaders. That explains why Trump may never be removed from office by the American Senate dominated by his party. Such blind following is also the major reason the Nigerian Senate has not attempted to impeach Buhari, let alone removing the failing leader from office. The posterity beckons. The masses grapple.

*SKC Ogbonnia, Convener of Power To The Masses, writes from Ugbo, Enugu State, Nigeria.

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Monday, December 23, 2019

Imo gov, Ihedioha pledges support for SPDC’s gas project - ITREALMS

The Imo State Governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, has pledged the support of the government and people of the state for the success of the multi-billion dollar Assa North/Ohaji South Gas development project, reports ITREALMS.

Speaking during a visit to him in his office last week by the leadership of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), the governor said, “We are determined to work with you to build the plant and to help Imo State fulfil its quota to the nation’s domestic gas aspiration. We are dedicated to making life meaningful for our people and to making Imo State investor friendly. Imo State shall partner with you. We have a civilised state and our hands are wide open to welcome Shell back to your original home in Nigeria.”

SPDC’s Managing Director and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, who led the SPDC delegation, described the gas project in the state as the company’s “most important project right now” adding, “We are committed to making the Assa North Gas Project an exemplary one.”

The project, according to Okunbor, is key to driving the Federal Government of Nigeria’s ambition of marching away from a mono-economy through diverse industrial growth. “It is premier amongst the Seven Critical Gas Projects initiative led by the Ministry of Petroleum and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).”

The Assa North/Ohaji South gas project is a joint venture project involving SPDC, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Total E&P Nigeria Limited (TEPNL), Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and SEPLAT, a leading indigenous producer.

SPDC is expected to manage the upstream operations to produce 600 million standard cubic feet of gas per day, half of which will be processed at a new SPDC JV processing plant and the remaining half sent to SEPLAT for processing at the company’s new gas processing plant. The combined volume translates to almost 2,400 MW of potential electricity generation if used for power generation.

At the meeting with the governor were the deputy governor, Gerald Iroha; Chairman of Imo State Oil and Gas Committee, John Ottih; and SPDC’s Directors — Toyin Olagunju and Igo Weli.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Pix: L-R: General Manager, Conventional Oil and Gas of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Toyin Olagunju; Managing Director, SPDC, and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mr. Osagie Okunbor; Imo State Governor, Sir Emeka Ihedioha; the Deputy Governor, Gerald Irona; Chairman of Imo State Oil and Gas Committee, John Ottih; and SPDC’s General Manager External Relations, Mr. Igo Weli, during a visit to the governor in his office in Owerri... last Monday.

MRA tasks FG on journalists safety policies, legislation - ITREALMS

The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) to adopt and implement policies and laws instituting preventive measures aimed at eliminating or reducing attacks against journalists and ensuring routine but diligent prosecution of perpetrators of such attacks, reports ITREALMS.

According to the organization, by so doing, the Government would be able to ensure that perpetrators of attacks against journalists do not go free while also discouraging future attacks as impunity for such attacks in the past had aggravated the situation.

The call is contained in a report released Monday by MRA entitled “A Profession Endangered: An Analytical Report on the Safety of Journalists in Nigeria” in which it highlighted a variety of attacks faced by Nigerian journalists in the course of carrying out their professional duties, including assault and battery, arrests and detention, shutdown of media outlets, raids on media organizations and facilities, confiscation or destruction of work equipment, and abductions, among others.

The project which led to the report is aimed at finding solutions that ensure the safety of journalists at all times, particularly in the face of shrinking civic space in Nigeria manifested in sustained attacks on the right to freedom of expression and media freedom and in the light of the failure of successive governments, law enforcement and security agencies to take meaningful steps to address the problem which has significantly affected the ability of the media to provide the public with accurate and reliable information.

The report documents cases of attacks on journalists and the media in Nigeria between January 2017 to May 2019. MRA said: “in all cases of attacks against journalists in Nigeria, there is no evidence of any diligent effort made by security and law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute perpetrators; the perpetrators invariably commit these crimes with impunity as they go scot-free without any repercussion for their actions.”

Mr. Ayode Longe, MRA’s programme director, said: “It has become imperative that we call attention to this ugly trend of attacks against the media because of the negative effect especially when government is doing nothing to address the issue. We have consistently made the point that when attacks on the media go unpunished, perpetrators are emboldened and journalists are silenced in many ways. Invariably, the public is denied vital information that they would ordinarily be able to obtain through the media and which might be critically important for decision-making on many different levels.”

In the report, MRA made several recommendations to tackle the incidence of attacks on journalists targeting various stakeholders in the country including the Federal government; media owners and journalists unions/associations; media regulatory bodies; civil society organisations; security, law enforcement and intelligence agencies; and the general public.

The organization recommended that security, law-enforcement and intelligence agencies should train their personnel and agents on applicable human rights norms and standards as well as the vital role that the media play in society in ensuring good governance, among other things; carry out training and sensitization programmes for their personnel and agents on the rules of civic engagement; as well as investigate and prosecute cases of attacks against journalists and the media both to punish perpetrators and to send a message to would-be perpetrators that no attack against journalists and the media will go unpunished.

It called on media freedom and freedom of expression organisations to, among other things, sensitise journalists about their safety and train them on how to keep safe in all situations, including how to determine situations that may likely degenerate into violence and how to ensure their safety under such circumstances.

MRA also recommended regular advocacy activities to relevant stakeholders, including the Executive, the Legislature, the Judiciary, civil society, law-enforcement, security and intelligence agencies; other government officials and civil servants, and members of the public to familiarize them on the role of the media in society and the need for them to work together to ensure the safety of journalists.

The report was produced with the support of the Africa Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX), a continental network of the most prominent African freedom of expression and media rights organisations that are also members of IFEX- global free expression network.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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To win Dubai trip, reactivate your FirstBank's Verve card - ITREALMS

Customers using FirstBank Cards this season are in for exciting times as part of its Verve Card Reactivation Promo; to reward three customers with all-expense paid trips to Dubai for reactivating and using their Verve Cards to transact on PoS and online, reports ITREALMS.

The ongoing promo, ITREALMS gathered, kicked off on December 2, 2019 and would end on January 25, 2020.
The Group Executive, e-Business and Retail Products, FirstBank, Mr. Chuma Ezirim, told ITREALMS that on the Dubai trip, 600 customers will be rewarded with N3,000 worth of airtime and 60 customers with N50,000.00 cash prize during the 2-month promo period. 

"The airtime and cash prizes will be delivered weekly and winners have begun to emerge already. Winners of the grand prize of a trip to Dubai will be announced at the end of the FirstBank Verve Card Promo," he said.

Further, he noted that FirstBank is also rewarding customers for all transactions done with their Visa Gold and Naira Credit cards this season. 

"Customers can get a percentage of their total spend with FirstBank Visa Gold and Naira Credit cards this season. This promo runs until January 8, 2020," he said.
Ezirim also informed ITREALMS in a press statement available to correspondent that they were pleased to reward customers for the use of their FirstBank Verve, Visa Gold and Naira Credit cards this season. 

"It is our own way of giving our customers more reasons to smile. We encourage our customers to reactivate their FirstBank Verve cards and keep transacting with their Verve, Visa Gold, and Naira Credit cards to enjoy these yuletide benefits from FirstBank," he said.

Ezirim also said that the promo supports the cashless policy whilst assuring customers of the safety and security of their transactions with FirstBank cards.

Chuks Egbuna/Editor

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NSOFT submits 5-year strategy to FG – ITREALMS

In line with its mandate, the National Software Think Tank (NSOFT) has submitted a five-year strategic plan to the Federal Government (FG) aimed at boosting the software industry in Nigeria, reports ITREALMS.

The strategic plan, 
ITREALMS gathered was submitted to through the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP).

This much has been confirmed to 
ITREALMS by the Director-General of NOTAP, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Dan-Azumi.

Chairman of NSOFT, Chief Chris Uwaje made this disclosure at the weekend at the hosting of the NOTAP DG in Lagos, saying that the Think Tank has submitted the report of the assignment.

“Going forward, it is my pleasure therefore to inform you that NSOFT has completed and submitted the report of the assignment,” he declared.

He said that the main thrust of NSOFT is to advance a five-year strategic plan to encourage adoption of indigenous software for the security and growth of the economy.

In addition, he said, it would engender building of commensurate capabilities and capacities to alleviate the critical challenges of the indigenous software ecosystem whereas providing a formidable roadmap for the advancement, sustainable development and competitiveness of software Nigeria.

“Ultimately, this strategic plan aims at ensuring the provision of massive employment opportunities for millions of Nigerian youth, contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and become a vital export resource for wealth creation and national security,” Uwaje enthused.

NSOFT, he said, believes that no other sector could provide the strategic, prosperous and sustainable solutions for Nigeria's future, development, security and survivability.

"Software is not just about Information Technology (IT), but indeed the oxygen for human existence. Our entire life is an infinite genetic code. That is the absolute significance of software ecosystem," Uwaje pointed out.

Chuks Egbuna/Editor

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Christmas: Konga's management team handles deliveries to customers - ITREALMS

Konga, Nigeria’s leading composite e-commerce giant, has gone a long way to spread festive cheer among its teeming customers. To this end, Konga’s co-Chief Executive Officers, Prince Nnamdi Ekeh and Nick Imudia; as well as other Management Executives of the company have personally handled deliveries to customers in various locations.

Among the locations visited are Lekki, Victoria Island, Gbagada, Ikeja, Apapa, Ikotun, Ikoyi, Surulere, Ipaja, Yaba, Sango, Mowe, among others.

Indeed, the process which commenced on Friday, December 13 saw the entire management of the Konga Group deliver products directly to customers. The gesture was conceived as a means of appreciating the entire Konga customer base for its patronage throughout the year. Equally important, Konga had seized on the idea to further appreciate customers for the “most successful” Black Friday sales ever; as well as wish them a Merry Christmas.

Meanwhile, the process was led by co-CEOs Prince Ekeh and Imudia as well as Head of Logistics, Emmanuel Ekuma. Other Management team members who handled deliveries include Vice President, KongaPay, Joshua Fatoye; Head of Finance, Emmanuel Ekwedike; Vice President, Konga Retail, Kalu Johnson; Vice President, e-Commerce, Dave Omoregie; Vice President, Konga Travel, Eric Nana and Vice President, Operations, Kenny Oriola, among others.

‘‘At Konga, the customer remains the king,’’ disclosed co-CEO, Imudia. ‘‘Our loyal customers have remained central to our many successes this year. In 2019, we had the most successful Konga Yakata – our own version of the popular Black Friday sales. This is in addition to significant growth witnessed in various areas of the business including subsidiaries such as Konga Travel.

‘‘Therefore, we considered it very essential for us to show our appreciation to our customers. One of the initiatives we decided on was for the entire management team of Konga to call up randomly selected customers and deliver their product orders directly. Also, it was a way of personally wishing them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in advance.’’

Acquired by the foremost technology conglomerate, the Zinox Group, in January 2018; Konga has enjoyed a remarkable transformation and hugely successful 2019 which has seen it occupy leadership of Nigeria’s e-commerce space. In addition to major rollouts which have grown its physical store presence to more than 30 nationwide; Konga has also made critical infrastructural investments with the set-up of major regional warehousing facilities.

In addition, it has recorded significant adoption of its payment platform KongaPay which recently added ATM card-less and USSD features. Also enjoying huge traction is K-Xpress, Konga’s in-house logistics company which has proven its capacity in handling last-mile and same day delivery to the company’s customers; while also resolving the logistics pain-points of external customers.

Furthermore, Konga Travel, another subsidiary of the Konga Group and composite travel booking agency; has grown 25% on a month-on-month basis while bagging a number of awards within its first full year of existence.

‘‘2019 has been a very good year for us and Nigerians can see the huge revolutionary strides Konga has brought. However, what we are currently seeing is a tip of the iceberg. There are many more exciting strategies and innovations to expect in the New Year,’’ concluded Imudia.

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2019: Is telecom regulator in comatose? - ITREALMS

As the year, 2019, draws to a close in a few days time, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), carried out a number of regulatory activities towards ensuring increased access to telecoms services, ensuring increased consumer education and protection, boosting security of life and property, sanitising the industry while also supporting other initiatives that are aimed at boosting innovation in the telecoms sector and continuously galvanizing the country’s overall economic growth.

Improving Quality of Service on Networks:
As part of its move to improve Quality of Service by promoting the availability of reliable, interoperable, rapidly restorable critical ICT infrastructure that are supportive of all required services, the Commission, in the course of the year, reviewed 2G Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and development and definition of 3G/4G QoS KPIs for collocation service providers as well as Internet Service providers (ISP).

During the year, the NCC also developed the New National Numbering Plan. Based on recent developments in the global telecommunications industry such as machine to machine (M2M) communications, the Internet of Things (IoT), Over-the-Top (OTT) and others, as earlier stated, and other services made possible by fourth-generation networks and the futuristic 5G/6G technologies, the NCC has considered it imperative for the numbering plan in the country to be reviewed. The development of the new NNP, therefore, will help to provide numbers that will satisfy the needs of the projected 500 million Nigerians to be connected and about 1 billion globally-interconnected machines and devices by 2050; promote efficiency in the allocation of this scarce national resource; promote competition among service providers; eliminate the risk of running short of all categories of numbers; facilitate the introduction and development of new and innovative services and above all, encourage growth of the telecommunications sector and the attendant job creation and contribution to National Gross Domestic Product (GDP), among others.

The Commission ensured type Approval of End User Devices to certify that Quality of Service/ and Quality of Experience (QoE) experienced by the user is not negatively impacted. This is to prevent counterfeit devices in the Nigerian Market through Equipment Authorization. The Commission has also continued to monitoring point interconnection performance among operators and ensure resolution of interconnect disrupted among operators to prevent serious impact on quality of service received by the consumers. The Commission also ensured Quality of Service Performance Monitoring through continuous monitoring of service delivery by the operators to ensure compliance.

The Commission also intensified collaboration with necessary stakeholders and government agencies at Federal and state levels towards resolving critical industry challenges affecting faster deployment of telecoms infrastructure in the country. These include right of way issue, multiple taxation and regulations, vandalism, indiscriminate closure of base stations, fibre cuts, among other.

Boost in consumer education, empowerment protection

In line with the number 6 of the 8-Point agenda of the Commission, which addresses protection and empowerment of telecom consumers and in sync with its PIE Mandate (Protection, Information and Education of the consumer), the NCC has carried out a number of consumer-centric activities during the year.

From January to October, 2019 the Commission received a total of 19,841 complaints from consumers out of which 17,851 were successfully resolved to the satisfaction of telecom consumers. The number of complaints resolved represents approximately 90% of the total complaints received through the various channels of lodging complaints. It also ensured continuous monitoring of the Customer care centre of the service providers in the 36 states of the Federation to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of centres to the benefits of telecom consumers. It also leveraged its various Consumer Education Outreach Programmes to educate a total of 35,124 telecom consumers on various issues such as how to avoid data depletion, importance of SIM registration, what to do during SIM replacement, need to protect telecom infrastructure, call masking, EMF, how to mitigate effects of cybercrimes etc. This was achieved through the Consumer Townhall Meetings, Consumer Outreach Programmes, Telecom Consumer Parliament and Trade Fairs & Exhibitions.

With regards to unsolicited text messages, based on frequent complaints received from consumers, the Commission developed the DND 2442 Short Code to stop unsolicited text messages and calls. As at October 2019, a total of 22,356, 919 consumers have activated DND Service. Of this figure, 21,913,565

(98%) are full DND subscriptions while only 443,354 (1.9%) are partial DND. This has so far led to a significant drop on complaint on unsolicited text messages and calls in recent time. Also, the NCC Toll-free Number 622, created as an additional channel for aggrieved consumers to lodge their complaints has continued be more popular among the consumers. From January to October, 2019, a total of 18, 717 complaints were lodged through the NCC contact centre by the customers to the Commission via the initiative.

Based on their satisfaction with all these facilities provided for the consumers, the NCC received commendations cum appreciations from 19,345 satisfied consumers through calls to NCC Contact Centre and e-mails received via Consumer Web Portal for its various interventions in satisfactorily resolving their complaints.

Also this year, the Commission unveiled a revised Consumer Complaints & Service Level Agreement (CC/SLA) to improve consumer complaint management and resolution in a more promptly matter by the service providers. Similar efforts championed by Danbatta-led NCC in the course of the year to address consumer issues, is the inauguration of a multi-sectoral committee to combat the issue of financial losses through telecoms or digital platforms.

The 26-man committee draws membership from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the NCC, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON). Other organisations with representation on the Committee include the banks, security agencies such as the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Also in the year under review, NCC intensified regulatory efforts towards protecting the interests of telecoms consumers from the scourge of financial frauds. It demonstrated this at the 2019 fourth quarter Open Forum of the NCC’s Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF) in Abuja on Tuesday December 12, 2019. The forum was attended by ICAF institutional and other stakeholders from telecom and financial sectors, law enforcement agencies as well as consumer advocacy groups, all of who convened at the instance of NCC to deliberate on financial frauds using the telecoms platform. The deliberations focused on what consumers need to know in order to be protected. Thus, the forum provided opportunities for stakeholders to examine and address criminal acts perpetrated using telecommunications channels. Participants called on banks and telcos to step up measures to create robust awareness in order to ensure that telecoms platforms are used to carry out financial transactions safely.

Speaking at the ICAF forum, Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management (ECSM), NCC, said there has been growing concern over the rising trend of electronic frauds across key sectors of the Nigerian economy with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rating e-fraud as the biggest risk on the financial sector where the use of e-channels to conduct financial transactions has become the order of the day. He said telecoms sector is not immune to the scourge of electronic-related frauds, as attackers now target telecoms networks with the intent to disrupt service delivery and infiltrate their data banks. “Illegal subscriber identification module (SIM) swaps and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) e-payment frauds, are currently some of the most serious cyber threat in the telecoms industry. Fraudsters conduct illegal SIM swap of targeted individuals and then, conduct USSD-based transactions which cost the victims huge losses,” Adewolu said.

Also, through the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Department of the Commission, also protects the consumers and ensures consumer quality of experience by attending promptly to complaints escalated to us and sanctioning the affected Operator(s) on any breach against the consumer. Adverts and promos are monitored to ensure consumer quality experience, promote market growth, ensure fair competition and prevent consumer exploitation. The Department also sanctioned mobile network operators (MNOs) on behalf of consumers for forceful subscriptions and unapproved/deceptive adverts.

In line with relevant sections of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003, the NCC carried out Enforcement action against companies operating without Licence and unapproved transfer of ownership or Licences. This has aided the Commission in achieving its agenda on Regulatory excellence and operational efficiency. In the course of the year, it conducted routine monitoring of licensees/service providers compliance with the terms of their license condition and obligations. Other activities of the Commission in this regards include: Compliance Monitoring Exercises on Operators’ License conditions; Coordination of Surveillance & Intelligence Gathering exercises; Technical Audits on the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) Scheme; Compliance Spot checks relating to new and existing Directions, Guidelines & Regulations of the Commission; Regulatory Intervention meetings with Stakeholders on Cases of Multiple Taxation and removal of barrier for the deployment of telecoms infrastructure; Enforcement raids on pre-registered SIM Cards and Illegal operators in the Market; and Site Investigations into complaints regarding the installation of Masts & Towers in the telecoms industry.

Advancing broadband penetration

As part of its efforts in advancing broadband penetration, which topped its 8-Poing Agenda, the Commission has succeeded in issuing six InfraCos to drive the deployment of broadband infrastructure across the nation’s six geo-political zones and Lago. The licensees are include Raeana Nigeria Limited for the South-South Zone; O’dua Infraco Resources Limited for South-West Zone; Fleek Networks Limited for North-West Zone; Brinks Integrated Solutions for North-East Zone; MainOne Limited for Lagos Zone and Zinox Technologies Limited for the South-East Zone. The remaining licence for North Central Zone is being processed, according to the Commission. This year, increased regulatory is already being made the Commission to seek Federal Government’s approval of the counterpart funding to be disbursed to the InfraCo to facilitate their deployment. The finding will, however, be given to them upon attainment of deployment milestones, according to the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof., Umar Danbatta. The InfraCos which is based on the Open Access Model (OAM) initiative of the Commission will ensure there is, at least, one fibre Access Point for digital services across the 774 local government councils in the country. Increased commitment was given to this by the Commission.

In this regard also and with respect to spectrum that will support broadband deployment, the Commission, this year, approved the 5 G trial on 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz to MTN; developed guidelines on the use of Television White Space (TVWS) to facilitate broadband penetration to underserved and unserved areas; opened up of 60 GHz band for unlicensed applications and broadband services; approved the use of 18 and 23 GHz Microwave Frequency bands for point to multi point deployments.

Also, the Commission has licensed some portions of 5.4 GHz bands; replanted the 800 MHz band for LTE; assigned 2x10 MHz Spectrum to Glomobile for trial in the 700 MHz; approval of Globacom trial on the 2x10 MHz assigned to it. It expired in February, 2019 and the company has been offered right of first refusal on the slot. The NCC has also reegularized 2x10 MHz Spectrum in the 700 MHz band previously assigned to MTN by NBC for the frequency to be used for the purpose of providing LTE services.

Another regulatory efforts carried out this year in this regard was the creation of Space Services Unit within the department to enable us regulate satellite and space services in facilitating broadband penetration; regularisation of the activities of all satellite operators including Space station operators as well as Earth Station operators; as well as issuance of Landing permits to Space Stations beaming signals over Nigerian territory.

Promoting ICT Innovations:
In keeping with its ongoing tradition of driving technology innovations through funding relevant researches in tertiary institutions, the Commission, in May 2019, announced N40 million endowment fund for Bayero University, Kano and the Federal University of Technology, Owerri. The fund will be utilized by the institutions for innovation, research and development in the digital space with an ongoing commitment to expand the list of benefiting institutions. Also, in June 2019, the Commission again demonstrated its determination to facilitate research and innovation in the telecom industry in Nigeria by presenting the sum of N65 million to eleven (11) universities in Nigeria for innovation, research and development to deliver research result and prototypes that are implementable, commercially-viable and capable of engendering innovation in different sectors of the economy.

Also in its continuous efforts to support young techno-preneurs, the NCC has been playing a pivotal role in promoting investment opportunities and innovation within the digital ecosystem for economic growth is in exposing young Small and Medium Enterprisers (SME) owners in the ICT industry to global investment opportunities. This is done annually through sponsoring young Nigerian innovators to such global forum as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecoms World principally to provide them with the platform to exhibit relevant, home-grown technology innovations and solutions to the global investment community. This year’s edition of the ITU forum has been scheduled to hold in Budapest, Hungary in September, 2019 and in the same manner, the NCC is sponsoring a number of young technology innovators to the conference for the same purpose. It has also held several stakeholder fora with academia across the country towards ensuring proper linkages among the Government, Industry Plater and academic towards developing tech innovation in the country.

Telcos’ listing in 2019 boosted capital Market Operations

One of the remarkable developments witnessed on the economy this year was listing telecoms companies on the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), credit to the Danbatta-led Commission. The listing was one of the positive results of a ‘no-nonsense’, outstanding and effective regulatory effort of the Commission. The listing of MTN has, thus, served as tonic to other telcos to follow in the same direction such as the listing of Airtel. The Commission essentially facilitated the landmark listing of the country’s largest telecommunications operator on NSE in line with its regulatory activities as enshrined in the Nigerian Communications Act (2003) and other subsidiary regulations to promote investment, create a level-playing field for all licensees, ensure compliance to existing telecoms laws and facilitate delivery of top-notch quality of services (QoS) to the consumers.

Through this smart regulation and intervention by the NCC, leading to the listing of MTN on the NSE, the Commission has opened another chapter in the history of telecommunication industry by empowering Nigerians to control, own and manage one of dominant telecommunications companies in the country by owning shares in MTN Nigeria.

“The MTN listing has helped to translate into action, an important objective of the Commission, which is to promote local investment and ownership in the telecom sector. Also, with MTN shares available in the capital market, it is expected that Nigerians will buy shares and by purchasing the shares of MTN, they will be financially empowered and be socially transformed,” Danbatta said at a forum. According to him, “It is instructive to state here that one of the greatest advantages of the MTN listing, facilitated by the NCC, is the implication it has on opening up the telecommunications industry for greater investment profile it gives Nigerians the opportunities to invest in publicly-quoted companies like MTN, which is the leader in the telecommunications industry in the country and easily one of the continental leaders.”

“In addition to benefits to the consumers, we all know that telecoms is a capital-intensive industry and of late, we found out that the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the sector has not been as much as it used to be and there is so much for the telcos to still do in terms of expansion and this expansion requires capital. Industry issue bordering on poor quality of service is being partly traced to lack of sufficient infrastructure covering the entire country.

“One of the benefits of MTN listing and those of other operators to follow, therefore, is that the telco would be able to raise capital for expansion which, in turn, will bring about an improvement in the quality of service and quality of experience for the consumers of telecoms services, which is also a cardinal function of the Commission.”

Undoubtedly, despite the high volatility seen in the Nigerian capital market for the year 2019, the listing of the biggest telecommunication companies, MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa has helped in making the market capitalisation bullish. Today, capital market regulator and shareholders bodies have commended the effort of the NCC in making the capital market thick through facilitating the listing of MTN, which was fallout of the conditions the telecom regulator gave MTN following the telco’s violation of SIM registration rule in the telecommunication sector.

Already, capital market stakeholders have said MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa listing on the NSE have boosted investors’ confidence and liquidity, even as the nation’s economy stands to benefit. Based on this feat, capital market stakeholders, who have seen the fillip in the market operations brought about by telecoms listing, are now calling for laws that would compel multinationals, oil and gas companies, telecommunication firms and privatised companies to list on NSE to deepen the market.

Boosting security of lives and property via ECC:
The Commission, this year, stepped up measures in his implementation of the Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) project to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s tripartite agenda, especially improving lives and property in the country. Other two agenda of the President are to improve economy and Curb Corruption. NCC’s drive in enhancing security of life and property through the Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) project became fully activated under the leadership of Prof. Umar Danbatta and it got a boost this year.

The Commission’s efforts in this regards culminated in double recognitions that came the way of the Commission on the one hand and the EVC on the other hand during the 1st Security and Emergency Management Awards held in Abuja on Thursday, Dec 5, 2019, where the Danbatta received Goodwill Ambassador on Security and Emergency Management in Nigeria while the NCC, as an organisation received CSR Award on Security and Emergency Management in Nigeria.

Therefore, the Commission has, through increased efforts this year, fully activated and made operational, ECCs in Seventeen (17) States across the country and the FCT as listed below. FCT, Benue, Kwara, Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, Imo, Anambra, Enugu and Adamawa. Subsequently, the commissioning of the National Emergency Toll free number 112 and the Katsina State Emergency Communication Centre, representing the North West Zone, was successfully carried out on the 23rd September, 2019.

Furthermore, necessary preparation and arrangements is being put in place to ensure successful launch/commissioning of Centres, including publicity and enlightenment in the remaining Five (5) geopolitical zones and the FCT. Also, as the ECC impacts positively in ensuring safety, security of lives/properties and socio-economic benefits, the Commission is embarking on collaboration with relevant agency to ensure effective and efficient service delivery, facilitate adoption/usage and publicity.

Leveraging TVWS for rural connectivity:
Further to the strategic implementation of its 8-Point Agenda, the Commission, earlier in 2019, partnered with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and other industry stakeholders to discuss the introduction of television white spaces (TVWS) in order to develop a framework for effective utilisation of TV spectrum to take services to the unserved and under-served communities in the country.

TVWS is the unused broadcast spectrum which can be deployed in the telecommunications sector to provide cost-effective broadband services to people in the rural, underserved and unserved areas of the country towards achieving universal access and universal service in line with the country’s digital agenda. The collaboration with the NBC was in line with the fifth pillar of the NCC’s 8-Poing Agenda focusing on facilitating strategic collaboration and partnership with necessary government agencies and stakeholders.

The initiative for the use of TVWS in Nigeria mid-wifed by the Ministry of Communications, following approval for the use of the TVWS technology by the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC) will further help the Commission to deliver on its mandate of ensuring universal access to telecoms services in the rural, unserved and underserved areas. “Ensuring that all Nigerians are connected is our priority at the Commission,” Danbatta stated at the stakeholders’ forum held in Abuja on TVWS. “We are continuously in a quest to achieving rural connectivity goal and this quest has led us, as a Commission, into embarking on several initiatives to actualise this pervasive connectivity objective in Nigeria.”

Promoting next-gen 5G revolution in Nigeria

The Commission in November, this year, provided the regulatory platforms for telecoms operators to begin trail of 5G in the country. By this experiment, the NCC became the first telecoms regulator to begin their technology revolution journey in the whole of West Africa. Already, MTN Nigeria, has conducted trial of 5G in Abuja, Calabar and Lagos under the supervision of the Commission. The mid-wifing of 5G technology trial in Nigeria this year by the Commission is sequel to workshop it organized in the last quarter of 2018, in collaboration with the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) to discuss the prospects and challenges of Next-Generation Networks (NGN) such as the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, among others, in the nation’s telecoms industry.

Danbatta during the workshop said the workshop was “to provide an avenue for regulators, operators, investors as well as other stakeholders to examine and constructively exchange ideas on the main demand areas for next generation of services, spectrum licensing reforms and the requirements for 5G and other emerging technologies that are to revolutionise the telecom system and users.” The workshop, thus, formed the precursor to the country’s preparedness of the Commission for the impending deployment of 5G services due to commence globally by 2020.

With the trial of 5G ongoing, preparatory to the actual commercial launch starting from 2020, industry stakeholders have commended the Commission for its proactive regulatory role in advancing the country’s technology revolution through 5G which is going to positively impact all sectors of the economy. No doubt, 5G which will offer better download speed and latency use of more applications (IoT-enabled services), needs robust broadband infrastructure to ride on and the NCC, through the InfraCo initiative is enabling this.

Combating E-waste, IT counterfeiting:

Early in 2019, the Commission unveiled regulation on e-waste and guidelines on distaste recovery at a stakeholder engagement forum held in his office in Abuja. On the e-waste regulations, the Commission sees e-waste as electrical or electronic equipment that is waste, including all components, sub-assembles and consumables that are part of the equipment at the time the equipment becomes waste. Apart from their solid and non-biodegradable nature, some of the toxic elements found in e-waste include lead, mercury, lithium and other ozone-depleting substances. “A recent report by World Economic Forum (WEF) indicates that electronic waste (e-waste) is now the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. It is estimated that this waste stream spiked by about 48.5 million tonnes in 2018. In Africa, the challenge is even direr. In a fast-paced telecoms industry where speed and capacity define the networks, rapid advances in technology make it easier and convenient to change malfunctioning gadgets than to repair them. Also, illegal and predatory e-waste value chain, which encourages the movement of e-waste from developed to the developing countries, adds another layer to the global challenge of handling e-waste,” EVC said at the forum.

The global concern for the regulation of e-waste is two-pronged. The first is the acute awareness of the hazardous properties and the potential risk on human health, as well as their capacity to degrade the environment. The second is the business case and vast potential for wealth creation in recycling e-waste into more benign and productive uses. In Nigeria, due to low Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita/low income and the desperate quest for information, it is estimated that 75 per cent of electronic devices and equipment imported into the country are irreparable and toxic junk. In line with its regulatory mandate and to keep pace with efforts at managing e-waste-related issues, therefore, the Commission developed the draft regulations on e-waste.

According to EVC, the draft regulations represent a holistic intervention aimed at providing clarity and delimiting the responsibilities of various stakeholders in the e-waste value-chain within the telecommunications industry. While the draft is industry-specific, it, nonetheless, keys into other initiatives at national and international levels.

Strengthening Corporate Governance Code with Disaster Recovery Regulation

As a corollary to the regulations on e-waste which was also unveiled during the year under review, it should be stated that the NCC Disaster Recovery Guidelines is actually developed by the Commission to strengthen corporate governance in the telecommunications industry. Basically, a disaster is a serious disruption of the function of a community, society or a business. Disasters often involve widespread human, material or environmental impact, which exceed the ability of the entity to cope with using its immediate resources. The Disaster Recovery Guidelines of the NCC, therefore, ties into the Commission’s wider risk management initiatives introduced by the Code of Corporate Governance launched by the Commission in 2014, which are aimed at protecting telecoms companies from the threat of emergencies in their operations. It covers subjects such as disaster profiling, disaster preparedness, disaster relief and disaster recovery.

Safeguarding national security via SIM registration review

The SIM Registration project supports the agenda to “Facilitate Strategic Collaboration and Partnership” by fostering a synergy/partnership with security agencies towards the adoption and usage of technology innovations to improve security in the country. The Programme is designed to facilitate the registration of all telephone subscribers in the country to mitigate security concerns on the challenges of tracking criminal uses of telephones in the country through Identity and security management and; to ensure the establishment of a credible database of SIM Card subscribers as an enabler to the overall Citizen Identification System.

During the period under review, over 24 million validly registered subscriber records were scrubbed/ cleaned-up (deduplicated) via Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) in fulfilment of the mandate to establish a credible database of telephone subscribers. The database was also upgraded with additional features such as “Add SIM” and “Update SIM” functionalities as well as the National Identity Number (NIN) field for an improved SIM Registration process and ease of harmonization of SIM registration subscriber data with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) when the NIN Regulations come into force. Consequently, in line with the Federal Government directive, the Commission is collaborating with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) towards the implementation of the Mandatory Use of National Identification Number Regulations which stipulates the mandatory use of NIN for transactions such as SIM registration, reactivation/retrieval.

Licensing of VAS Aggregators:
The dynamism of the industry led to the restructuring of telecoms Value–Added Service (VAS) market for greater growth. Under the watch of the erudite scholar, the Commission has also witnessed a recalibration and repositioning of the sector’s value–added services (VAS) segment, a move that has helped to sanitise the industry. The sub-sector’s current value is estimated at $200 million with potential to grow to over $500 million in the next few years. In line with the restructure, the NCC, in 2019, has awarded the Value Added Services Aggregator licences to ten (10) companies to provide VAS services. It is hopeful that the VAS Aggregator licence will improve innovation, local content, employment opportunities and increase in income stream to both network operators and content developers.

Remarkable decrease in Call Masking activities

Following the enforcement by the Commission for telcos to deploy technology solution across their networks, cases of call-masking or call refiling has reduced drastically. Call masking is when inbound international calls terminate in Nigeria as local number. The Commission quickly noticed that this raises security concerns, competition issue and portends negative economic implications. Then, it swung into action, series of regulatory measures towards curbing the menace of call masking: These include strict compliance monitoring and enforcement by the Commission; imposition of appropriate sanctions by the Commission on licensees involved in call refiling and masking activities; and suspension of numbering plans of some perpetrators and withdrawal of all their inactive numbering plans.

According to Prof Danbatta, other measures taken in this regard include the continuous sensitisation of consumers and other industry stakeholders on the dangers of call masking, which is still ongoing; the development and institution of new reporting requirements on interconnecting licensees that makes it easy and seamless to quickly identify perpetrators of call masking and the Proof of Concept (PoC) commenced in July 2018 with the deployment of technology solutions to monitor, report, apprehend and block SIMs being used for SIM boxing activities and prevent SIM lines from being used for call masking activities. Through the deployment of the technology solutions and continuous monitoring by the Commission for compliance throughout 2019, cases and complaints of call-masking received by the Commission has come to zilch.

Other key projects to deepen digital access in the country

In the year under review, the Commission, embarked on such projects Wireless Internet Cloud, Laptop Project, Computer Based Test (CBT) Centres project and ICT Park project. The Wireless Cloud Project is an initiative to provide a platform for supporting campus-wide wireless access to internet service for teaching, learning, research and development to faculty staff and students of the nation's Colleges of Education, Polytechnics and Universities and Hospitals through the provision of the necessary infrastructure, including masts, antennas, networking and twelve (12) months bandwidth supply and maintenance support. During the period under review, the Commission successfully implemented the Wireless Internet Cloud in 150 beneficiary institutions at various locations in the country.

The Laptop Project is an initiative to supply, brand, configure and integrate into the cloud laptop computers with e-learning suites in higher institutions across the country. During the period under review, the Commission successfully implemented the supply of laptops in 230 beneficiary institutions at various locations in the country. In line with our strategic Collaboration & Partnerships drive, the Commission is currently implementing the CBT project in Six (6) locations across the Country which includes: FCT, Katsina, Abia, Ondo, Gombe and Anambra States. This is a special intervention Programme by the Commission aimed at establishing state-of-the-art facilities where online examinations can be conducted to entrench efficiency, effectiveness and curb examination malpractices. It is implemented in the 6 Geopolitical Zones in conjunction with the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB). The ICT Park, is an initiative to establish a fully functional Digital Industrial Complex (DIC) to drive ICT Development and support Technology Start-Ups in beneficiary States and its environs. The Commission is currently building ICT Parks in Four (4) locations across the Country, namely Kano, Borno, Ogun and Enugu States.

Putting NCC’s Head Office Annex in Mbora, Abuja to use
Among several other internal initiatives embarked upon by the Commission to engender operational efficiency as telecoms regulator in 2019 was the inauguration of a five-storey building constructed by NCC essentially meant to complement the Commission’s headquarters building. Located at 1253 Cadastral Zone, Mbora District, Abuja, the project had been abandoned for a long period until Prof Dabatta came on board to see to its completion.

Today, besides providing nearly a hundred-room office accommodation, it was built with facilities such a swimming pool, lawn tennis courts, underground car parks and a 600 -seater auditorium for conferences and seminars. No fewer than five departments of the Commission have since been moved in using the world-class facilities and this has improved their operational efficiency. It has also helped to decongest the Head Office Building of the Commission located at Maitama District, Abuja. More importantly, the continuous use of the 600 - seater auditorium for many of Commission’s activities have resulted in cost-cutting in line with the Federal Government’s directive.

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Sunday, December 22, 2019

Illegal checkpoints: IGP orders immediate removal nationwide @Christmas - ITREALMS

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, has directed Commissioners of Police in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to ensure removal of all illegal checkpoints nationwide for a stress-free festive seasons, reports ITREALMS.

For him, only checkpoints and nipping points that are operationally expedient for crime prevention and prevention and other forms of key duties must be in place during this seasons.

The Force Public Relations Office (FPRO), Mr. Frank Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, who disclosed this in an interview in Abuja, said the IGP ordered the Commissioners of Police to ensure that officers deployed to checkpoints eschew all forms of corruption, ostensibly in reaction to cases of alleged extortion of travellers and motorists, especially on major highways across the country. 

Mba said Commissioners of Police, Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) were also expected to provide round-the-clock supervision of their men, adding that they would be held liable for any excesses of their personnel on the roads, adding: “They have also been directed to send to the headquarters, the designated nipping points on those roads for easy monitoring by the Force Headquarters.”

He explained that the order was issued to enable travellers enjoy safety and comfort on the highways with minimal inconveniences and hassles throughout the Yuletide season, saying: 

“It is important to note that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) has also given a very clear-cut directives and issued a standard order for Commissioners of Police, Area Commanders and DPOs, whose jurisdictions straddle those areas covering the highways, to ensure that policemen who are posted on the road during the festive period carry out their duties in strict conformity with the extant rules guiding such activities- the Police Act and the Police Regulations.

“Police officers posted on theses duties are expected to eschew all forms of corruption. In-as-much as they are they are expected to be firm, they are expected to be courteous and polite to citizens. 

“Commissioners of Police are also expected to strike a balance between the need to ensure the security of the travellers and the need to ensure that travellers enjoy maximum comfort and with minimal hassles,” he said. 

The Force spokesman advised the public, especially travellers, to cooperate and support policemen in the lawful discharge of their lawful duties and to report every excess or infraction they notice on the highways to the Complaints Response Unit (CRU), headed by an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP). He added that the presence of policemen on the roads are designed to prevent crimes such as armed robbery, kidnappings and other forms of violent crimes on the highways and also help in the detection of crimes that have already been committed, as well as providing a platform for intercepting fleeing felons. He gave the emergency contact details of the Police along the South-South, Southeast highways thus:Selected Contact Details For Southwest, South-South And South-East States.


1 Lagos CP ODUMOSU H. OLUSEGUN – 08065668179 DSP BALA ELKANA – 07063116303 07055462708, 08035963919

2 Ogun CP KENNETH EBRIMSON – 08033311119 DSP ABIMBOLA OYEYEMI – 08123822910 / 08034241238 08032136765, 08081770416

3 Ondo CP UNDIE ANDIE – 08032905251 DSP FEMI JOSEPH – 08060159998 07034313903

4 Edo CP LAWAN JIMETA – 08033210966 DSP CHIDI NWABUZOR – 08033726625 08037646272, 08077773721, 08067551618

5 Delta CP ADELEKE YINKA – 08033440189, 08024766368 DSP ONOME ONOVWAKPOYEYA – 08130826008 08036684974

6 Anambra CP ABANG B. JOHN – 08033221390 SP HARUNA MOHAMMED – 08060970639 07039194332

7 Imo CP RABIU LADODO – 08037033410 SP IKEOKU GODSON ORLANDO – 07034714499 08034773600, 08037037283

8 Enugu CP ABDULRAHMAD AHMED- 08039671402 SP AMARAIZU EBERE – 08038829086,

08123822894 08032003702, 08075390883, 08086671202

9 Rivers CP MUSTAPHA DANDAURA- 08037005245 DSP OMONI NNAMDI – 08033396538 08032003514, 08073777717

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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CBN reduces bank charges on ATM - ITREALMS

Apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reduced the service charge on withdrawals especially using the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) from current N65 to N35, reports ITREALMS.

CBN in a press statement available to ITREALMS on Sunday, said the reduction has become imperative to cushion effects of economic hardship on Nigerians and bank customers in the country.

ITREALMS recalls that banks in Nigeria before now, charge withdrawal fee on ATM useage more so if on third-party facilities other than that of the issuing bank’s ATM.

The N35 ATM fee according to the CBN should be imposed on customers after the third withdrawal within one month.

Latest directive, ITREALMS reports, is part of the major highlights of the new Guide to Bank Charges.

In addition, 
ITREALMS reports that CBN removed Card Maintenance Fee on all cards linked to current accounts, and also asked banks to charge a maximum of N1 per million for customer induced debit transactions to third parties and transfers or lodgments to the customers’ account in other bank on current accounts only.

The apex bank further warned banks to ensure full compliance to the new guidelines effective January 1, 2020, stressing that any bank that violates the provisions of the guidelines would be sanctioned as economic saboteur.

Chuks Egbuna/Editor

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Why FG rejects US religious freedom violation tag by MoIC - ITREALMS

The Federal Government (FG) has rejected the US designation of Nigeria as a country that engages in or tolerates severe violations of religious freedom, saying the iniquitous tag stems from an orchestrated narrative that has long been discredited, reports ITREALMS.

The Minister of Information and Culture (MoIC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said on Sunday in Abuja, that the good people of Nigeria enjoy unfettered freedom to practice their religion, and blamed failed politicians and disgruntled elements - some of them supposedly-respected leaders - for latching on to religion as their trump card, especially in the run up to the last general elections, to oust the Buhari administration.

He said it is unfortunate that the United States (US) fell for the antics of the discontented and the unpatriotic few, who will not hesitate to hang Nigeria out to dry on the altar of their inordinate ambition and their sheer animosity towards the administration.

The Minister said the Nigerian government is acutely aware of how the political opposition, in particular, had spared no resources in deriving political capital from the various security challenges in the country

''The deliberate effort to give religious coloration to the farmers-herders clashes and the Boko Haram insurgency, in particular, has undoubtedly helped to mislead the US into concluding that the government is doing little or nothing to guarantee religious freedom in the country.

''But, as we have always said, the farmers-herders clashes have nothing to do with religion but everything to do with environmental and socio-economic realities. The religious tag given to the clashes has no basis in fact, but is very convenient for those who will very easily give the dog a bad name just to hang it. On its part, the Boko Haram terrorists are extreme fanatics who do not subscribe to the tenets of any religion, in spite of their pretense to Islamic adherence,'' he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said the good news is that the government has succeeded in curbing the farmers-herders clashes through the implementation of proactive and multi-dimensional strategy, which is yielding remarkable results, just as it has largely defeated the BokoHaram insurgency.

On the El-Zakzaky issue, which was referred to in the report by the US government, he described it is purely a criminal matter, which is being handled by a court of competent jurisdiction.

The Minister said while the government welcomes constructive criticism from any quarter, it rejects any attempt to sow the seed of mistrust among the various religious groups in the country.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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Sanwo-Olu tasks graduands on tech-skills @MTU - ITREALMS

The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has called on graduating students to add technology driven skills to their primary course of study to compete favourably in the labour market, reports ITREALMS.

Sanwo-Olu gave the advice on Friday at the maiden graduation ceremony of the Mountain Top University (MTU) in Ibafo, Ogun State.

The governor delivered a lecture titled, ‘Future of Job and the World of Work: The Need for Graduates That are Globally Competitive’.

According to him, the knowledge acquired in the university will become obsolete in a short, while the graduands needed continuous advancement.

To be ready for the future, he urged the graduating students to embrace technology driven skills as jobs of the future will be driven by such.

”Many of the things you learnt in the university will have become obsolete even before you complete the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

”This is the truth. 50 or 100 years ago, we didn’t know that new technologies would have emerged to shape the world as we knew it.

”It is certain that to thrive in that world, university graduates will need to be fully prepared.

“They will need to be educated in the tools and the languages of that world and will need to have capacity to compete with other graduates in the quest for jobs and employment.

”We must also extend this to curriculum transformation. We will not progress in the 21st century using 20th century curricula.

”Our young people must become comfortable with coding, robotics, 3D printing and other technologies from an early age, especially in the public school system.

”Regardless of what academic track our students are on: arts, sciences or social sciences, technological literacy must be a common denominator,” Sanwo-olu said.

He said that students must commit themselves to life-long learning as they would be judged not only by what they know, but also how quickly they could learn new things.

Sanwo-olu said that technology had made it easier for users to find job opportunities outside their immediate environment.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Elijah Ayolabi, called on the students to be good ambassadors of the institution.

Ayolabi said that the students were “the firstborn, pride of the institution and the symbol of its strength”.

”What you do with the training you got is your sole responsibility. I charge you today, therefore, to remember the responsibility placed on your shoulders as the first children of MTU,” he said.
The university graduated a total of 120 students, 22 among them bagged First Class Honours in various disciplines.

*Florence Onuegbu/Editor

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Pix:*L-R: Wife of the General Overseer, Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, Mrs Shade Olukoya; Her husband, Dr Daniel Olukoya; Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Secretary to the Ogun State Government, Mr Olatokunbo Talabi, during the first Convocation Ceremony and Lecture of Mountain Top University, Ibafo, Ogun State, on Friday, December 20, 2019.

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