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NCC launches nationwide cybersecurity awareness campaign

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has launched a cybersecurity awareness campaign nationwide to protect children from cyber criminals and their antics.

The campaign, attended by 24 public and private schools in Abuja, held on Tuesday, at the 650-seater conference hall of the NCC Head Office Annex at Mbora District, Abuja.

The significance of the event was seen in its attendance by three Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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They include the Minister of Communications & Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), represented by his Special Adviser on Technical Matters, Dr. Femi Adeluyi; Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, represented by her Special Adviser on Technical Matters, Princess Jummai Idonije; and the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who was also represented by the Director, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the ministry, Abubakar Isah.

The event was also attended by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Federal Capital Territory Universal Basic Education Board (FCTUBEB), the Federal Capital Territory Secondary Education Board (FCTSEB) as well as Management and other staff.

Representatives of the Ministers of Communications and  Digital Economy, and Women Affairs applauded the intervention of NCC in not only stimulating accessibility and availability of digital access to Nigerians but also making a priority the sensitization of  users, especially the younger generation on the proper use of the Internet and enlightening them on how they can be protected when using the Internet.

Addressing the students and other participants at the event, Pantami, who commended the NCC leadership for the cybersecurity awareness initiative, stated that as Federal Government is driving digital economy, through the ministry and its agencies, especially the NCC, it also places primacy on proper and continuous education of end-users of telecom services.

He said together with its various agencies, the ministry is working to implement the eight pillars of its recently-unveiled National Digital Economy Strategy and Policy aimed at unleashing robust digital economy where everything is ICT-driven towards accelerating economic prosperity.

Earlier in his address, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Dambatta, said the NCC-sponsored cyber security enlightenment programme has a specific interest in online protection of the youth especially the children both in public and private schools.

Indispensable internet

“It is an undeniable fact that the Internet has become an indispensable element of everyday life, for that reason, our children and youths are not excluded; they are highly involved in the use of new technology applications, especially since it provides opportunity for research, learning, communication, entertainment, and business for those with entrepreneurial minds,” the EVC said.

Dambatta explained that the pervasiveness of the Internet and the proliferation of mobile phones make it difficult for parents and guardians to effectively monitor the online activities of their wards in comparison to the old system of connecting to the Internet via desktops and laptops.

He emphasised that although the Internet provides countless opportunities for children, it also exposes them to potentially harmful content. He cited a United Nation’s report on Nations Populations Estimates and Projections, which looked at Nigeria’s population from 1960-2019, indicating that children and youths constitute a large portion of the country’s population. The report further indicates that the median age of the country is 18.4 years as of 2019.

Accordingly,  and based on other statistics, Dambatta said children and youths are the most active participants online via social media networking sites, making them potential victims of grooming, inappropriate content and exposure to unscrupulous actors in the cyberspace.

In addressing all of these issues towards protecting the young population against cybercriminals, the EVC said the Commission has instituted various initiatives.

Tackling Cyberbullying 

One such initiative, he said, is the ongoing awareness campaign to sensitise secondary schools children across the country to cyber-related crimes, such as cyberbullying, Internet fraud, identify theft, online soliciting of minors.

According  to the EVC, this explains NCC’s plan to educate many audiences on the necessary information and knowledge required to safeguard against cyber criminality in line with the Commission’s responsibilities as a regulator that is Irrevocably committed to protecting and empowering consumers of all ages and statuses.

Other initiatives include collaborating with key cybersecurity stakeholders to foster and engender a robust cybersecurity environment, and the involvement of the Commission in all the collaborative process that culminates in fashioning various cybersecurity policies, strategies and laws.

It also informed NCC’s involvement in the establishment of a Cyber Security Incidence Response Team (CSIRT) as well as the establishment of the Internet Industry Code of Practice by the Commission.

The foregoing according  to Dambatta was to ensure that industry-wide standards and obligations of minimum cybersecurity provision are implemented for the protection of child online and securing  communication infrastructure.

While noting that the fight against cybercrimes transcends geographic jurisdictions, Dambatta affirmed that the Commission is working to build strategic partnerships and collaborative alliances with stakeholders, agencies, and organisations to ensure safety of the cyberspace for users in Nigeria.

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COVID-19: NCC’s 112 emergency number offers succour to Nigerians

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Nasiru Yusuf

The National Emergency Number 112 established by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is providing succour to Nigerians in the nation’s collective efforts to fight the spread of Coronavirus pandemic, also known COVID-19.

A statement issued by deputy manager online media and special publication, NCC, said Nigerians are able to call emergency response agencies or first respondents with respect to any issue they may want to report on the Coronavirus or other health-related issues and emergencies.

He said already, states and federal government agencies are leveraging the 112 National Emergency Number, whose calls are handled through the Emergency Communication Centre (ECC) established by the Commission across the country.

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According to him the ECC project is the brainchild of NCC to enable easy communication by Nigerians with emergency first responders such as Police, Fire Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, National Orientation Agency (NOA) among others, by dialing the three-digit toll-free Number 112.

He recallled that on assuming office as the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC in 2015, Prof. Umar Dambatta, quickly put machinery in place to accelerate the implementation of ECC across the country in line with the decision of the Nigerian government to enhance security of lives and property and as mandated by the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003.

He noted that the NCC fast-tracked the execution of the emergency project, whose implementation had hitherto been dragging, in recognition of its mandates to promote and enhance public safety through the use of a particular number, which shall be designed as the universal safety and emergency assistance number for telephone services generally.

He revealed that so far, the ECCs, with their operational 112 toll-free emergency number, have been implemented in 17 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He observed that aside FCT, beneficiary states of the ECC include Benue, Kwara, Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, Imo, Enugu, Anambra and Adamawa.

“Efforts are ongoing by the Commission to deploy the ECC facility in other states of the Federation.

“Today, the 112 National Emergency Number is fully available in all the aforementioned states and FCT and can be leveraged by Nigerians, as an alternate number to reach first responders at this period of COVID-19 when seeking help and assistance from applicable government response agency during emergencies.

“Already, the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, identified the centrality of the 112 number towards handling citizens’ calls for help in this time of Coronavirus pandemic,” the statement revealed.

Mr Obaseki, in a state-wide broadcast to sensitise the people of the state on the epidemic, urged the people of Edo State to take advantage of 112 three-digit, toll-free number to get help from response agencies in case they want to pass critical information to the government and the State Task Force on COVID-19.

It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, on March 19, 2020, unveiled the Abuja ECC facility and flagged off the 112 National Emergency Number during the commissioning of the NCC’s Communications and Digital Economy Complex at the Mbora District of Abuja.

The President explained that the 112 Number demonstrates his administration’s resolve to keep Nigerians safe.

President Buhari said ‘We have taken advantage of digital technologies to ensure that Nigerians in distress are only a dial away from the relevant emergency response institutions in the country” via the 112 Number.

According to him, the NCC’s 112 National Emergency Number will go a long way in supporting our efforts to improve the security of lives and property.

With Coronavirus spreading across the globe and more people living in isolation, the NCC’s 112 Number is providing alternatives for people to stay in touch and institutions to provide the needed basic life-saving services to the populace.

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COVID-19: 500 beds arrive Kano for Dangote’s isolation centre

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Nazifi Dawud

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s leading business magnate has begun construction of a field hospital with 500-bed capacity at Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano city,  as his contribution to the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

KANO FOCUS reports that Mr Dangote had announced that he would construct a 600-bed isolation centre for COVID-19 patients in the state.

Kano has not recorded any confirmed case of COVID-19 as all suspected cases have so far tested negative to the virus.

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In a statement sent to KANO FOCUS on Thursday, Hadiza Namadi, a spokesperson for the state Ministry of Health, said “equipment for 500 beds have arrived the venue today Thursday as construction has commenced in earnest.”

The statement added that a committee, to be headed by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Aminu Ibrahim Tsanyawa has been formed to supervise the project and to “determine how the center will function including issues on water and power supply and waste disposal.”

“Members of the committee include Commissioner of Youth and Sports Development, Alh. Kabir Lakwaya, Commissioner of Works, Alh. Magaji Mu’azu, Executive Secretary, Primary Healthcare Management Board, Dr. Tijjani, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr. Amina Abdullahi Umar, and a representative from Dangote Foundation,” the statement read.

Medical and health volunteers to apply online

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has also directed all volunteer medical and health professionals who wish to join the fight against the COVID-19 in Kano to make their applications online.

The volunteers have been asked to file their applications via www.kanostate.gov.ng/volunteers.

The ministry, in a statement said the decision to move the exercise online was to ease overcrowding at the Muhammadu Buhari Specialist Hospital, venue of the recruitment exercise.

Kano receives share of Jack Ma’s COVID-19 aid

Also, the Kano state government has received its share of protective medical items that were donated to Nigeria by a Chinese business Mogul Mr Jack Ma, who is the founder of Ali Baba foundation.

According to the state Commissioner for Health, some of the items donated by Mr Jack Ma include face masks, overall gowns and face shields.

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22 suspected COVID-19 cases test negative in Kano

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Mukhtar Yahya Usman

The Kano state government has revealed that 22 suspected cases of COVID-19 have tested negative just as results of three more persons are being awaited.

KANO FOCUS reports that the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Aminu Ibrahim Tsanyawa disclosed this on Tuesday while briefing journalists at his office.

Mr Tsanyawa also dismissed rumours that two persons with symptoms of the coronavirus disease were isolated at the Kwanar Dawaki isolation center.

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He said the state government has taken “drastic measures” against the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, the commissioner explained that the government is planning to establish a COVID-19 test centre to eliminate the burden of transporting samples for tests outside the state.

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