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90% of Nigerians will be computer-literate by 2030–Pantami

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr Isa Ali Pantami has revealed plans by the Federal Government to make at least 90 percent of Nigerians computer-literate by 2030.

The minister expressed optimism that at least, 90 percent of Nigerians will be digitally literate by the end of the decade as all agencies in the ministry will be involved in series of training and retraining.

Mr Pantami was speaking at a media parley with journalists in Abuja.

He explained the goal of turning Nigeria digital by making citizens computer-literate, owning a digital device (which the agencies in the Ministry have been assisting to facilitate), having access to the Internet, owning a bank account that can be accessed and operating digitally and online.

The Minister said beyond financial services, the Federal Government hopes to see majority of the citizens undertake many activities electronically.

According to him, this is in line with re-designation of the Federal Ministry of Communications to Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Minister said the re-designation was done to position Nigeria for the gains of digital economy and to achieve the central focus of the ministry to migrate the nation to a digital economy.

He said this is particularly significant as it enables Information and Communication Technology to mobilise other sectors and align with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Federal Government.

The minister revealed that the federal government had directed the ministry to develop and implement a national digital economy strategy.

According to him all government parastatals are connected to the strategy in view of the centrality of ICT to development in other sectors of the economy, adding that the role of the Ministry is to coordinate the implementation of the policy and the strategy.

Mr Pantami revealed that different sections of the population are targeted for training and retraining, including women, youths, journalists, civil servants and those who obtained school certificate but unemployed.

The broadband plan

He explained that the 2020-2025 Broadband Plan is expected to be ready within the first quarter of 2020 and the plan is to ensure that all unserved and underserved areas have access to broadband services.

He said the Federal Government and the Ministry are encouraging many institutions to host their data in Nigeria as he promised to continue the advocacy.

The Minister emphasised that digital innovation and digital entrepreneurship are particularly important in ensuring increase in Nigeria’s GDP.

He made a comparison between Nigeria and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by stating that Nigeria’s GDP is $397 billion while MIT’s GDP is about five times higher, and attributed the disparity largely to inputs of digital innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Minister, however, explained that Nigeria is so blessed and needs to leverage that potential to ensure her teaming youths acquire enduring “skills that will make them to be potential employers rather than potential employees”.

Mr Pantami expressed optimism to seeing more Nigerians use the social media to support the digital economy by engaging it to achieve legitimate economic prosperity rather than promotion of division and hatred.

According to him, since September 25th, 2019, no Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card has been used in Nigeria without being properly registered.

“You may buy a SIM card but you cannot activate it to use unless it has been properly registered, and NCC will provide biodata of any improperly-used SIM card to the police or other security agencies within 24 hours whenever it is required.

“Life is more important than material benefits of having many SIM cards in circulation, and in any case, blocking improperly registered SIM cards did not diminish the contribution of ICT to GDP,” he said.

‘NIPOST should collect stamp duty’ 

On the challenges of the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST), the Minister stated that the Ministry has made presentation to the Federal Government that NIPOST should be the collector of stamp duty and not the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and by implication the Federal Ministry of Finance,.

“So, we have challenged the status quo about the collection of stamp duty,” Dr Pantami said.

The Minister also unveiled the plan for the transformation of NIPOST with regard to undertaking a total restructuring and transformation.

“We will also commercialise some activities of the organisation by registering few companies to ensure the renovation and commercialisation of dilapidated NIPOST structure all over the country starting with NIPOST facilities in major cities,” he said.

The briefing was attended by chief executive officers and management staff of the FMoCDE and its agencies, including Ubale Maska, NCC’s Executive Commissioner Technical Services, who represented the EVC of the Commission,  Prof. Umar Danbatta.

Other are Adeleke Adewolu, NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management; Managing Director of Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Abimbola Alale, Chairman of Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi and the Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone Limited Prof. Mohammed Abubakar.

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TCN creates Kano transmission region

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Nasiru Yusuf

THE Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has carved out a new Kano transmission region from the old Kaduna Region. 

KANO FOCUS reports that the newly established unit brings the number of TCN regional centres to 10.

The TCN believes the step will improve commercial activities in the state.

A statement issued by TCN General manager of Public Affairs Ndidi Mbah explained that the creation of the Kano Transmission Region became necessary owing to the rapid economic and industrial development being witnessed within Kano State and its environs, as well as the gradual implementation of TCN’s strategic ‘Nigerian Electricity Grid Maintenance, Expansion and Rehabilitation Programme (NEGMERP),’ which has enabled the transmission company to complete some ongoing projects and increase the number of substations within that axis.

He said the  Kano Transmission Region had, under its supervision, one sub-regional office and several work centers, all housing 13 transmission substations (TS), including the Kumbotso TS, Dan Agundi TS, Dakata TS, Tamburawa TS, Kwanar Dangora TS, Wudil TS, Kankia TS, Katsina TS, Daura TS, Dutse TS, Hadejia TS, Azare TS, and Gagarawa TS.

The new Kano region currently according to the statement has ongoing transmission substation projects which when completed would further increase bulk transmission capacity in the new region.

The new Kano Transmission Region, the company said, would deepen operational efficiency within the region and enable its engineers to readily access and resolve technical issues within the new region.

Mbah explained that prior to the creation of the new Kano Region, major decisions had to be referred to Kaduna Region for directives, and the supply of materials was sometimes delayed due to logistic issues from Kaduna.

Mbah noted that the proximity of the new region would radically reduce downtime and eliminate time lost when materials had to be conveyed from the Kaduna Region.

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DSS arrests singer accuse of blasphemy

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Department of State Services have arrested another blasphemous singer, Ahmad Abdul, whose song was perceived to create chaos in Kano state.

KANO FOCUS reports that the Singer Ahmad Abdul was detained by the DSS because his free movement may likely cause violence reaction from Kano residents.

While in detention, Mr Abdul tender apology to entire Muslims, Kano state government and Islamic Scholars.

He told DSS operatives that he never thought that the song has violated Islamic teachings.

Commenting while witnessing the bail condition granted to Mr Abdul at the DSS Headquarters, Kano, the Executive Secretary of the Kano state Censorship Board Ismaila Naaba Afakallah recalled that he had received hundreds of petitions against the song from concerned citizens.

Afakallah said having realized the gravity of the song’s blasphemy, he reported the singer to DSS who swung into action and arrested him at a Hotel where he was hiding for days.

Mr Abdul Father, Abdullahi Isa thanked the DSS for their timely response on the matter which saved possible outbreak of law and order.

Also in August last year, An upper Sharia court in the Hausawa Filin Hockey area of the state has found one Yahaya Sharif-Aminu guilty of committing blasphemy for a song he circulated via WhatsApp.

However, the appellate division of the High Court of Kano State had on January 21 quashed the death sentence passed on Mr Sharif-Aminu and freed him.

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I’ll not run for President – Muhammadu Sanusi II

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Deposed Emir Sanusi

Mukhtar Yahya Usman

The deposed Emir of Kano Malam Muhammadu Sunusi II says he is not interested in contesting for the presidency of Nigeria.

Kano Focus reports that Mr Sunusi revealed this at a Tijjnaniyya zikir held in Abuja on Thursday.

Muhammadu Sanusi said his current position as Tijjaniyya Khalifa in Nigeria is superior to the presidency.

The deposed Emir however said he is ready to help those he believe in their competence to win elections without his participation in politics.

“If we trust a candidate is out to serve the people, we will come out and help them.

“That is not joining politics but a civic duty to the nation and its citizens” Mr. Sanusi said.

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