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Facebook partners NCC on digital infrastructure

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Nasiru Yusuf

Top management staff of Facebook, a leading global social network platform, have sought partnership with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on deployment of digital infrastructure to strengthen connectivity.

Mr Ibrahima Ba, Network Investment Lead at Facebook Office in the United States, who led the Facebook delegation to NCC, stated that robust infrastructure is the bedrock of the massive connectivity that signposts Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.

He said without adequate and right type of infrastructure there can be no robust connectivity.

Mr Ba recalled that Facebook had successfully undertaken two connectivity projects in Edo and Ogun involving a total of 800 kilometers of fibre connecting institutions and operators towers.

He said considering the connectivity gap that still exists in the country, there is a great need for expansion of infrastructure to deepen penetration of services.

According to Ba, Nigeria is very important to Facebook for many reasons but particularly because it is Africa’s most populous country.

He emphasised that Facebook looks forward to seeing opportunities for partnerships manifest because such collaboration will result in kilometres of infrastructure expansion in fibre connectivity.

He advised the Commission to facilitate further liberalisation of partnership and collaboration processes with stakeholders.

Edoyemi Ogoh, Deputy Director Technical Standards and Network Integrity at NCC, who received the Facebook team, on behalf of the NCC Vice Chairman Professor Umar Dambatta, thanked them for the visit.

He commended the group for the model it has adopted in participating in the Nigerian market by partnering with licencees of the Commission, and assured the team of NCC’s irrevocable commitment to infrastructure expansion to enhance better connectivity.

He affirmed that NCC is aware of how central infrastructure is to the expansion of telecom services, and said that the realisation explained NCC’s adoption of the Open Access Model (OAM) and the licensing of infrastructure companies (Infracos) to cascade fibre to the hinterland of Nigeria.

Mr Ogoh also informed the guests that President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent re-designation of NCC’s supervising ministry as Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy shows the federal government’s commitment to encouraging more citizens to embrace digital culture.

He declared that the Commission is central to these processes, and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has continued to also demonstrate his commitment to tackling bottlenecks to infrastructure expansion.

He cited the recent meetings between the Minister, the EVC and Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) which focused on streamlining and standardizing Right of Way (RoW) charges as eloquent testimony to Government’s commitment in this regard.

Mr Ogoh also stated that the Commission is finalising processes to institute the ‘Dig Once Policy’ that will encourage operators and other key players in infrastructure segment to have greater strategic collaboration in the laying of fibre especially in the context of the upcoming National Broadband Plan 2020-2025.

Mr Ba came to NCC with four of his colleagues – Erik Schmidt, Network Strategy Manager, Facebook Infrastructure; Adaora Ikenze, Head West Africa (Public Policy); Imran Abass, Partner Manager, Sub Sahara Africa; and Fargani Tambeayuk, Africa Public Policy Manager (Connectivity).

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NCC orders telecom operators to block SIMs without NIN

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

The Nigerian Communications Commission has reiterated its directive to telecom operators to bar telephone subscribers not linked to their National Identification Numbers on or before February 28, 2024.

KANO FOCUS reports that the Executive Vice Chairman, National Communication Commission, Dr Aminu Maida, spoke at the NCC’s Special Day during the ongoing 45th Kaduna International Trade Fair on Wednesday.

Maida who was represented by Reuben Mouka, NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, insisted that as a matter of critical national security, telecom consumers must link their NIN to their SIM.

He reaffirmed that the February 28th deadline given to telecom operators to bar subscribers who failed to link their NIN to SIM, stands.

“To this end, the National Communication Commission has directed all telecommunication operators to bar phone lines of subscribers whose lines are not linked to their NINs on or before February 28, 2024,” he added.

This, the executive vice chairman said, was apt as the theme resonated with the principles and objectives of the commission in promoting local content development in the telecom industry.

Maida also said the NCC was committed to protecting consumers’ rights while ensuring their satisfaction and noting that the commission has created a universally acceptable environment to access “affordable and equitable service and supports the nation’s economic growth.”

“As a regulator of the telecommunications sector in the country, the Commission carries out its functions to ensure service availability, affordability, and sustainability for all categories of consumers, who are leveraging on ICT/Telecoms to drive personal and business activities,” he said.

For instance, he continued that the Telecom Consumer Assistance, Resolution and Enquiries (TELCARE) Desk at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Internatonal Airport Abuja The TELCARE desk was set up to further provide an additional platform to make enquiries on customer issues, receive and facilitate the resolution of telecom consumer complaints.

He explained that by “working together, we can create a more vibrant telecommunications industry that contributes significantly to the economic recovery and growth.”

According to him, as of 2023, the telecoms industry’s contribution to the nation’s GDP stood at 13.5% (Source – Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report November 2023-A publication of the National Bureau of Statistics.

“Conversely, as we promote economic growth through the development of local content, we must also address the challenges faced by consumers and NCC is committed to protecting their rights while ensuring their satisfaction.

The NCC boss, therefore urged telecom firms to prioritize customer satisfaction and uphold the highest standards of service delivery, noting that the commission has implemented measures to safeguard the interests of consumers and businesses alike.

One such measure, he said, was the NCC’s directive on May 17, 2023, that all licensed Mobile Network Operators commence implementation of approved Harmonised Short Codes for providing services to Nigerian telecom consumers.

“The new initiative is enabling consumers using the over 224 million active mobile telephone lines in Nigeria to use the same codes to access services across all networks,” he added.

Meanwhile, the NCC boss disclosed that as of 2023, the telecoms industry’s contribution to the nation’s GDP stood at 13.5 per cent, according to the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report November 2023 – A publication of the National Bureau of Statistics.

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ACT closure: Kano beneficiaries share testimonies

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

As the the Agents for Citizen-driven Transformation (ACT) programme held a close out event in Kano, some beneficiaries have shared their testimonies during their engagement.

KANO FOCUS reports that the beneficiaries take a cue to share positive experience obtained during their engagement with ACT programme.

The president of Kano Civil Society Forum (UCSF) Comrade Ibrahim Waiya was the first to share experience on the benefits derived from ACT programme.

Comrade Ibrahim Waiya

KCSF had received €1 084,63 to create awareness and sensitise the public on
the spread of COVID-19 in Kano State.

In her testimony, the Executive Director of SACALSUN Hauwa Adamu Kakuri, a breast cancer survivor who set up an NGO for cancer awareness campaign recalled how the mentorship she received from CS-CRIN, one of the ACT grantees, empowered her to secured a 10,000 dollar grant.

Appraising the implementation of the programme in Kano state the programme officer of CARAV Abba Bello said they have secured a grant from ACT where they work on strengthening community response on gender based violence at Nassarwa Dala and Kumbotso local government areas.

He cited an example of one intervention at Sheka quartees in Kumbotso local government area where they rehabilitate some young girls who engages in commercial sex.

For Abdurrazaq Alkali, the Executive Director of OCCEN, said ACT has supported them to promote good governance and accountability in Kano where their advocacy led to the passage of procurement law.

Abdurrazaq Alkali

Also commenting chairman of Kano State Accountability Forum on Education (K-SAFE) Professor Muhammad Bello Shittu commended ACT for identifying credible Civil Society Organisations and supporting them.

Professor Muhammad Bello Shittu

He equally commended ACT engagement with regulatory bodies such as Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) during the course of their intervention especially by developing a regulatory framework that is humanly understandable.

Professor Shittu expressed optimism that the lesson learned from the project would be sustained even after the exit of the programme.

He lamented that in many instances once the donor leave, the project dies, despite huge capital and material investmentinvestment.

The event featured presentation from the commissioner of special duties Hajiya Amina Abdullahi Sani (GOD), representative of Emir of Kano Alhaji Sule Gaya (Dan Goribar Kano), ACT National Programme Manager Damilare Babalola, ACT Kano state Focal Person Hajiya Rabi Adamu and ACT communication and media engagement adviser Hajiya Lauratu Abdussalam.

The Agents for Citizen-driven Transformation (ACT) is a four-year EU programme funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council, Nigeria. The programme is linked to the reform objectives of the three EU focal sectors of the 11th National Indicative programme (NIP).

The ACT programme was designed as a response strategy to the EU’s identified need to invest and engage more with the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Nigeria as required under the larger global EU CSO roadmap framework. EU-ACT recognises that strengthened civil society actors have great potential to contribute to thechange achievement of sustainable development, ACT programme focused on strengthening the capability of CSOs to become more effective and credible drivers of change.

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High Court jails two bureau de change operators in Kano

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

The Federal High Court Kano presided over by Justice Mohammed Nasir Tuesday, convicted and sentenced two illegal bureau de change operators to one year imprisonment each for operating BDC without an appropriate licence.

KANO FOCUS reports that the convicts: Munkaila Sani and Mohammed Sani were jailed after pleading guilty to one-count separate charge bordering on engaging in financial operations of bureau de change without a requisite licence, upon their arraignment by the Kano Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The lone-count charge reads ‘’That you Munkaila Sani sometime in February, 2024 in Kano within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did engage in a financial operation of bureau de change without a valid licence and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 57 (5) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, 2020 and punishable under Section 57 (5) (B) of the same act.’’

Upon arraignment, the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charges when they were read to them. Based on their pleas, prosecution counsel, Aisha Tahar Habib prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.

Counsel to the defendants, Abdulrahman Isah pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy as the suspect are elderly and have become remorseful for their actions.

Consequently, Justice Yunusa convicted and sentenced the defendants to one year imprisonment each.

The convicts’ began their journey to the Correctional Centre when they were arrested by operatives of the Commission around Wapa BDC market and Grand Central Hotel, Kano, following reliable intelligence about their involvement in a syndicate operating bureau de change businesses without an appropriate licence.

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