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NCC, Danbatta bag fresh awards for broadband development

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Umar Danbatta has bagged “Broadband Oxygenator of the Year” award for his remarkable role and commitment to the development of broadband infrastructure to support the country’s digital economy drive.

Kano Focus reports that Mr Danbatta bagged the award at this year’s edition of the Nigeria Tech Innovation and Telecoms Awards (NTITA), 2020.

Regarded as the Oscars of Nigeria’s telecoms industry, the awards, powered by Instinctwave, Africa’s leading business-to-business event organizer in collaboration with the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) in Abuja at the weekend, saw the Commission and other industry stakeholders, including the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, carting away distinguished awards.

The NCC, as a corporate organisation received the “Outstanding Contribution to Driving Greater Broadband Penetration Award of the Year.

A statement sent to Kano Focus on Monday by the spokesman of NCC Ikechukwu Adinde said basic active internet subscription under Danbatta grew from 90 million to 143.7 million while active voice subscription increased from 151 million to 205.25 percent during the same period with teledensity also reaching 107.53 percent as at end of September, 2020.

The statement added that last five years have seen the number of licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCo) increasing from two in 2015 to six currently. The InfraCos are to deploy broadband infrastructure, on a wholesale basis in the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria.

According to the statement, the Commission is currently reviewing the framework for the licensing of InfraCo to ensure sustainable funding options for effective implementation of the proposed national fibre project towards increasing broadband penetration to 70 percent target, as set in the new national broadband plan by 2025.

It added that the ongoing review of the InfraCo framework is to cater for the delays in take-off, change in exchange rate, supply chain and other challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic with respect to InfraCo implementation.

NCC and Danbatta’s recognitions at the NTITA 2020 were also hinged on the increase in the contribution of the telecom sector the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 8.5 percent in 2015 to 14.30 percent as of the second quarter of 2020, translating to N2.272 trillion in financial value.

In the last five years, under Danbatta leadership, telecoms investment grew from around $38 billion to over $70 billion currently with appreciable remittances in spectrum fees and operating surplus by the NCC into the Federal Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).

Increased e-commerce services, other digital services and more access to financial inclusion were also enabled through increased deployment of broadband infrastructure being promoted by the telecoms regulator through a number of regulatory initiatives.

Speaking on the significance of the NTITA, President of ATCON, Olusola Teniola, said: “Our thinking is that if we decide to ignore the contribution that our sector has made to the development of Nigeria by not recognizing the actors that made it possible, what we are saying invariably is that we are unappreciative of their concerted efforts in changing the story of our industry.”

He hoped that the awards would spur the Nigerian government to pay more attention to the sector and that state governments would continue to support the efforts of the industry to transform their various states into digital cities.

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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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