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Federal govt to commence Kaduna-Kano rail line project in June

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Nasiru Yusuf

The federal government said the extension of the Abuja-Kaduna rail line to Kano will begin by end of June.

KANO FOCUS reports that the minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, stated this during the official commissioning of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line project on Thursday in Lagos.

According to him, “we have about three or four projects. This month, we will start Kano-Kaduna and then we will also start Port Harcourt to Maiduguri which also is done by CCECC and then Kano-Maradi.”

“While we are celebrating that, we are not be happy that up until now, the China Exim bank is yet to approve the loan for Ibadan to Kano because we need to start that and complete it quickly because that is my fear.

“We are grateful that the Chinese government through the China Exim bank was able to give us the loan at a concessionary rate to construct from the seaport. We hope that we get money to be able to construct from Ibadan to Kano so that we can complete the track and make sure that business takes place.

“We got money from China Exim bank, we paid back. We did put pressure on CCECC and delivered on time. In terms of quality, what we have is of good.”

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UNICEF tasks journalists on promoting children’s cause

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Nasiru Yusuf and Aminu Abdullahi

The  United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, has tasked journalists in Kano to accord priority attention to children’s cause.

KANO FOCUS reports that UNICEF chief field officer in Kano Maulid Warfa made the appeal during a partnership and network strengthening meeting with Kano Media.

He said it is high time for journalists to restrategise on how to approach issues affecting children from Kano and Northwestern Nigeria.

According to him statistics shows that Kano is lagging far behind other states in the area of immunization, malnutrition, birth registration, infant and child mortality.

Mr Warfa observed that 178 out of 1,000 children in Kano died before they reach five years.

He noted that the children are dying not because of chronic illness but preventable diseases.

In her remarks the Director General of ARTV Sa’a Ibrahim charged journalists to exhibit professionalism in their reportage.

She described journalists as bridge between policy makers and people, hence the need to maintain credibility.

In her address the convener of the programme, Farida Umar Abdu  said the meeting was to sensitize the participants on UNICEF missions, mandate and current UNICEF priorities.

The meeting according to her was to discuss how UNICEF & the media in Kano atate can both strengthen their relationship in support of children’s issues in Kano and beyond as well as look at the the areas of media support and modalities identified and agreed upon.

Also speaking the UNICEF communication specialist Samuel Kaalu said UNICEF is operating in 190 countries advocating for the protection of children’s right.

Also speaking the social policy specialist of Unicef in Kano Ramatu Buda Aliyu said that about 55%per cent of the people in the state are living below poverty as revealed by the national bureau of statistics.

“It is a major concern that the poverty among young population in the state. The data showed that most of Kano people are living under 375 naira a day.

” The state level has to think more strategically and put the system to address the challenges,” she said.

She added that UNICEF partners journalists to improve well being of children.

“It is sad in 2018, 15℅ of the cases recorded in Kano state Hisbah Command were children sexual abuse.

“While 63℅ per cent of children don’t have a birth certificate,” Ms Aliyu said.

She said that in collaboration with journalists UNICEF would ensure that children have access to quality education, health care, information and other services.

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Danbatta inaugurates committee on spectrum auction for 5G deployment

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Nasiru Yusuf

Following the Senate investigative hearing which gave the Fifth Generation (5G) technology a clean bill of health, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has taken a major proactive regulatory step by inaugurating a committee to develop the Information Memorandum (IM) for the auction of 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum band which will be used for early deployment of 5G services in the country.

KANO FOCUS reports that the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NCC, Umar Garba Danbatta, inaugurated the 18-member Committee in Abuja recently with NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Ubale Maska as Auction Adviser while the Director, Spectrum Administration, NCC, Oluwatoyin Asaju, is the Committee Chairman.

Speaking during the inauguration, Danbatta said, apart from developing the IM for auctioning of C-band spectrum for 5G deployment in Nigeria, the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the committee will include the development an award process to be used pursuant to which the grant of Spectrum licenses may be made.

A statement sent to KANO FOCUS by commission’s spokesperson Ikechukwu Adinde the Information Memorandum (IM) defines the process that the Commission has decided to adopt for the auctioning of the 3.5GHz spectrum band. It will provide information on the Nigerian telecommunications market, details of the Spectrum to be made available, the pre-qualification process, the Auction process and indicative timetable.

Other ToRs reeled out for the committee by Danbatta include the auctioning of the C-band spectrum for 5G deployment in Nigeria in line with the award process; as well as report regularly/fortnightly to the EVC through the Office of the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services of the Commission on the progress made by the Committee.

While expressing delight at the current stage of 5G deployment process in Nigeria, especially with respect to established mutual understanding among stakeholders that 5G service poses neither security nor health risk to users, Danbatta said the outcome of the work of the Committee is a major step towards realisation of 5G services in Nigeria.

According to him, the NCC, in line with its mandate, has committed enormous resources to ensure harmonised spectrum is secured and released in a timely manner for present and future deployment of services that will underpin the fourth industrial revolution, including International Mobile Telecommunication (IMT-2020) services.

This, according to him, is in recognition of relevant provisions of the Nigerian Communication Act (NCA-2003) and its strategic plan for effective communications resource management, facilitating broadband penetration and improving Quality of Service (QoS) amongst others.

Speaking further, the EVC said the Commission had ensured the participation of relevant staff in international fora, especially in the International Telecommunication Union Radio Telecommunication Sector (ITU-R) study groups, to enable the allocation of strategic Spectrum to IMT services, especially IMT 2020, which, he said, has been in the front burner in the last two ITU-R study cycles towards World Radio Communication Conference (WRC-15 & WRC-19).

“Arising from these efforts, which include engagements with relevant governmental and non-governmental organisations during preparatory meetings at National, Regional and Continental level, we have been able to secure harmonised frequencies for 5G deployment in Nigeria,” he said.

He, however, stated where NCC desired premium spectrum like the 3.5GHz with good propagation characteristics suitable for capacity and coverage with good device ecosystem but did not have sufficient allocation, “we put in extra efforts and secured additional 160MHz in the 3.5GHz band by making huge commitment of resources to secure additional Spectrum from Nigerian Communication Satellite Limited (NigComSat),” culminating in a recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NCC and NigComSat.

“Having put in these efforts and resources to secure, amongst others, contiguous Spectrum in a premium band like the 3.5GHz band that is being adopted as the best Spectrum for early deployment of 5G with about 70 per cent of 5G global deployment so far, it has become imperative to immediately re-purpose the 3.5GHz band in Nigeria for auction in accordance with best practices.

“In view of this, Danbatta said NCC Management deemed it necessary to constitute the committee with clear ToRs, adding that the committee members are expected to demonstrate strong commitment required to carry out these tasks and in a timely manner,” he said.

Meanwhile, Danbatta stated that even though some successful auctions have been conducted by the Commission in the past, “extra effort is required of us to ensure the success of this particular exercise since the 5G technology is just being adopted around the globe.”

The EVC tasked the committee to consider benchmarking its activities against other countries where 5G has been successfully deployed through successful auction of relevant spectrum band like 3.5GHz.

In his remarks, Asaju as the Chairman of the Committee, amplified the EVC’s voice on the MoU with NigComSat. Asaju stated that the Commission had, in line with the NCA- 2003, filled request for bulk allocation of 380 MHz bandwidth (3.52 – 3.9) GHz in the 3.5 GHz band from National Frequency Management Council (NFMC).

While assuring the EVC of the Committee’s readiness to deliver on its ToR, Asaju said the outcome of the actions will, no doubt, form the basis and put NCC on right pedestal for 5G deployment in Nigeria.

The Executive Commissioner, Techincal Services of the Commission, Engr Ubale Maska, who doubles as the Auction Adviser, assured the EVC that the Committee will deliver on its mandate, noting, however, that work of the Committee is without prejudice to the approval of the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), which, he said, must be in place before 5G deployment can take commence in the country.

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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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