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Pantami applauds NCC’s role in telecoms regulatory standards

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, has commended the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for spearheading regional and global initiatives on telecoms networks standardisation within the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) community.

Dr Pantami gave the commendation while delivering his welcome address at 7th Study Group 13 (SG 13), ongoing Regional Workshop for Africa being hosted by the NCC at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

While addressing participants drawn from Nigeria and other African countries as well as officials of the ITU at the event, the minister said the NCC’s role in being at the forefront of driving digital revolution for Nigeria is well noted.

According to him, “I want to appreciate the efforts of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for representing the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMoCDE) to coordinate these activities of the SG 13 of ITU in Nigeria.

“The effort is highly commendable. With all sense of responsibility as the Minister of FMoCDE, I commend your consistency in handling the activities of ITU and other study groups of the FMoCDE. Your efforts are most appreciated”.

Commenting on the theme of the event, Dr Pantami said standards are critical to the inter-operability of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

He said the workshop is taking place at a time the Nigerian government, through the ministry, is making effort to reposition its focus and strategies on how to use new and emerging digital technologies to transform the socio-economic life and activities of the country.

Dr Pantami emphasised the need for Africa to position itself properly in order to be upbeat on the organising principles of developing appropriate standards for the future and next generation digital networks that support a digital economy ecosystem.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Prof. Umar Dambatta, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), NCC, stated that discussions and solutions for future networks such as cloud computing, software defined networks and smart cities, cannot be understated.

“To achieve a resilient and robust future network, standards must be developed to accommodate the evolution of new and emerging technologies. The new frontier comes with great value and potentials for humanity and so, Nigeria and indeed, Africa cannot afford to be left behind,” Dambata explained.

Prof. Dambatta, while tasking participants to come up with far-reaching resolutions, said such “resolutions will hopefully play a pivotal role at the World Telecommunications Standardization Assembly (WTSA) coming up later in the year”.

He affirmed that all these developments will also play significant roles in achieving the new mandate for the digital economy.

The NCC Executive Vice Chairman therefore charged participants to drive collective interest and let such collective interest be their focal point of discussion, “so that we can have networks that can handle the peculiarities of our environment, as we drive towards development and integration of new and emerging technologies on our dear continent”.

On his part, the Chairman, ITU SG 13, Simeon Bagudu, said the Group was established in 2008 to mobilise effective participation of Africa in the area of ICT standardisation.

He enthused that the participation of Nigeria in the regional Group and in other ITU events and programmes has been ‘very remarkable.’

The ITU operates through its three sectors namely the Radiocommunications Sector (ITU-R), Standardisation Sector (ITU-T), and Development Sector (ITU-D).

The Standardisation Sector through its study groups and World Telecommunications Standardisation Assembly (WTSA) uses experts from around the world to prepare, deliberate and develop international standards known as ITU-Recommendations, which act as defining elements in the global infrastructure of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

The work of Africa Regional Groups in each of the Study Groups of ITU-T, such as the SG 13, comes under the ITU-T Sector. The SG 13 was established in 2008 to bridge the standardisation gap among African countries.

The four-day programme, focused on the theme: ‘Standardisation of Future Networks Towards Building a Better Connected Africa’, has a dual structure: a workshop by the SG 13 for Africa which commenced from 2-4, February 2020; and another special meeting by the Group scheduled for 5-6, February, 2020.

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Kwankwaso left over N50bn liability for LGs 5km projects – Kano Govt

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Rabiu Kwankwaso

Nasiru Yusuf

Kano state government said the administration of former Governor Rabi’u Kwankwaso left a liability of N54, 408, 259, 638.05 billion for the five kilometre road projects across the 44 local government areas of the state.

Kano Focus reports that the state commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba dropped the hint on Sunday while addressing newsmen on the outcome of the state Executive Council Meeting held at the Africa House, Government House, Kano.

He said the council received the report of the Technical Committee to assess the 5 km road projects all of which were awarded by the previous administration under the defunct Ministry of Land and Physical Planning with the state Urban Planning and Development Authority (KNUPDA) as supervising agency.

Mr Garba said the committee visited 39 local governments where its detailed report indicated awarded contract sum for the projects, present site conditions, value of executed works, amount certified and amount released for the projects.

The commissioner pointed out that 5km projects in three local governments were revoked and rewarded due to non-performance in Warawa, Ungogo and Dawakin Tofa, while some portions of the projects in Tsanyawa and Bichi along Kano-Katsina road were released to the federal ministry of works and housing based on request from the federal government.

He said other three projects in Rimin Gado, Karaye and Bunkure local government that fall within main arterial highway were expunged from the main project and re-awarded separately for execution, while metropolitan local governments of Dala, Nassarawa, Gwale, Municipal and Tarauni were allotted various projects within the municipality as 5km projects.

Mr Garba pointed out that the council has approved the release of N607, 124, 663.47 million for the rehabilitation of Rimin Gado-Sabon Fegi-Jilli-Gulu road in Rimin Gado local government.

The commissioner stated that approval has also been given by the council for the conversion of the existing School of Post Basic Midwifery Gezawa to the status of School of Nursing Gezawa to broaden the platform for training of more qualified midwives in order to reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in the state.

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Kano domesticate social protection policy

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Abdullahi Ganduje

Nasiru Yusuf

Kano state governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has approved the domestication of National social protection policy in the state.

Kano Focus reports that the Social Protection Policy is designed to show the commitment of the Government to the effective mobilisation and efficient utilisation of state resources to improve the quality of life of its citizens.

The state Commissioner of planning and budget Nura Muhammad Dankadai revealed this on Friday at a one day interactive session with with journalists and civil society organizations.

Alhaji Nura Muhammad Dankadai

Mr Dankadai said governor Ganduje approved the domestication of the policy on Thursday.

According to him when domesticated the policy will provide legal framework for school feeding programme, ante natal and post natal care, addressing gender based violence and protecting people living with disabilities.

On the meeting with journalists, Mr Dankadai said it was aimed at intimating them with on the state government’s projects and received some inputs for possible submission to the government.

The commissioner uses the opportunity to appeal to civil society organizations and journalists to sensitise people on the current economic challenges which made it difficult for the state to pay workers salary for the month of March.

In their separate contributions Akibu Hamisu, I. G Maryam and Wali Ado Rano advised Kano state government on the need to address multiple taxation, grant local government financial autonomy and holding periodic interactive session with CSOs and journalists.

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AKTH honours NCC Boss UG Danbatta

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Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, being presented with an appreciation award by Prof. Abdulrahman Sheshe, Chief Medical Director, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), Kano, during the courtesy visit.

Nasiru Yusuf

 

The management of Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital has visited the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communication Commission Umar Garba Danbatta.

Kano Focus reports that during the visit the AKTH team also presented an award to Danbatta as an expression of the hospital’s appreciation for the enormous contributions of the EVC and the Commission to the development of health institutions over the years in the country.

Speaking during the visit, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of AKTH, Abdulrahman Sheshe, who led the delegation on the courtesy call, said, “the objective of our being here today is to appreciate your contribution in person and as EVC of NCC to the growth and development of the teaching hospital.”

According to Sheshe, through the support and donations from Kano people like the EVC and institutions like NCC, the hospital has increased its bed capacity from 250 to 700, as well as performing 57 successful transplant surgeries.

“You have also made enormous contributions in this regard and that has helped us to get new dialysis machines through your assistance and these machines are being put to use, aside from other state-of-the-art equipment already in place,” he said while appreciating the EVC.

The CMD, however, sought NCC’s support in the area of a Health Information Management System (HIMS) and digital capacity for staff.

Responding, however, Danbatta thanked the hospital management for the visit and the award, noting that the Commission supports federal institutions with necessary ICT equipment across the country and is ready to assist AKTH in this regard.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta

“As a Commission, we are working to bridge the infrastructure divide, which is an element of the entire digital ecosystem. We do this via a lot of ongoing regulatory initiatives. And, through our training arm, Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), we provide digital literacy to critical sectors of the economy, including the health sector, we also intervene through our Advanced Digital Appreciation Programme,” he said.

According to Danbatta, digital divide can be bridged by making computers available and ICT services accessible to people and key sectors of the economy.

Danbatta (middle) flanked by top management committee of AKTH and NCC staff during the courtesy visit

“Infrastructure that can host this massive flow of information and knowledge is broadband infrastructure and this is top-most in the agenda of the Commission. Indeed, ICT is transforming every sector of the economy and the earlier we embrace the vast opportunity brought by ICT the better,” the EVC pointed out.

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