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20 Years of Digital Revolution: NCC Rakes in More Awards for its Regulatory Effectiveness  

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Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta

 

Nasiru Yusuf

The trove of garlands for the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for its role in enhancing digital transformation in Nigeria, has swelled with new awards conferred from an array of stakeholders.

 KANO FOCUS recalled that It is two decades since the NCC midwifed the birth of Global System of Mobile Communications (GSM), to herald a new era of public communication in Nigeria.

A statement sent to KANO FOCUS by NCCs Director, Public Affairs Ikechukwu Adinde said the new awards were conferred on the Commission and its Management at different fora organised to commemorate 20 years of revolutionary digital communication in Nigeria.

Besides the serial honour attending the celebrations of two decades of the GSM revolution, the Commission also won awards at annual events organised by strategic stakeholders, including, the Nigerian telecom sector’s equivalent of Oscars, the Nigeria Tech Innovations & Telecoms Awards (NTITA), 2021.

At NTITA, NCC received the ‘Outstanding Telecom Regulator of the Year’ award, while its CEO, Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman, was honoured with the ‘Telecoms Industry Leader’ award. The event took place in Lagos, on 19th November 2021.

A week earlier, at another event organised by the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), in collaboration with Digivation Network, the Commission had received,  ‘The Premier African Regulator’ award. The EVC was also honoured with the ‘Regulatory Excellence Award’, while the Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu, received ‘The Outstanding Digital Impact Personality’ award. The event, tagged 20 Years of Digital Revolution Powered by GSM, took place at the Nigerian Air Force Conference Centre, Abuja, on 11th November 2021.

The same day, at yet another event organised by E-Business Life Magazine at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos to mark the 20 years of the birth of GSM, the NCC also received, ‘Technology Transformer Award’.

Additionally, just over the weekend, the NCC also received the ‘Regulator of the Year’ award at the New Telegraph Awards 2021, organised at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, on Friday, November 19, 2021.

Meanwhile, at the event organised at NAF Conference Centre in Abuja, a panel representing shades of stakeholders in the telecom and ICT sector, took a retrospective reflection at the last 20 years of telecom liberalisation under NCC’s supervision. The panelists agreed that there have been irreversible, exponential transformation of the sector with visible impact on all other sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The panelists reminisced on developments in the sector in an inquisitorial manner, asking the audience to measure the dynamism in the telecom sector in terms of digital sophistication and  digital literacy in comparison to what it was two decades ago.

The speakers, one after another, examined in objective contexts, how telecoms service availability, affordability and accessibility have benefited persons of all social strata, especially the disadvantaged segment of the society. The panel also took a stock of the general impact of the digital culture from a historical perspective in order to properly capture the milestones.

As Nigeria prepares for the launch of the Fifth Generation (5G) networks, the panelists agreed that there will be more benefits to harvest from the emerging technologies. Thus, they urged all stakeholders to heighten education of citizens and especially telecom consumers, in order to halt the misinformation about 5G.

The discussants also expressed confidence in the ability of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the NCC to rally stakeholders to deepen engagement at all levels and sectors to focus on the implementation of policies to ensure attainment of the set targets.

Meanwhile, the Director Public Affairs at the Commission, Ikechukwu Adinde, commended stakeholders, who gathered at various events where the Commission and its leaders were honoured, for their dedicated solidarity. He also thanked the various stakeholders who recognised the Commission with landmark awards, for the impeccable honours. Adinde stated that such number of awards to NCC in a fortnight testified to the strong collaboration between the Commission and the stakeholders and their conviction that NCC is fulfilling its mandate.

Adinde particularly told the audience at the E-Business Life forum that the recognitions coming to NCC will further encourage the Commission’s management led by Prof. Umar Danbatta and his dynamic team to do more to expand the frontiers of opportunities of digital economy to enable citizens and other investors to enhance their contributions to Nigeria’s growth and development.

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Court declares banishment of Emir Sanusi ll illegal, orders Kano state to apologise, pay him N10m

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Aminu Abdullahi

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, ordered Kano state government to tender an apology to the dethroned Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi ll, in two national dailies.

KANO FOCUS reports that the court, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Anwuli Chikere, held that Sanusi’s forceful banishment from Kano after his dethronement, was illegal, unconstitutional and in gross violation of his fundamental human rights.

Consequently, it awarded damages against Kano state, in favour of the deposed Emir, to the tune of N10million.

It will be recalled that Sanusi was deposed as Emir by the Kano State government on March 9, 2020, after he was accused of disloyalty and insubordination.

Though the deposed Emir was initially banished to Loko village in Nasarawa State after his dethronement, later, he was forcefully moved to Awe town, where he was confined until March 13, 2020, when the court ordered that he should be granted his freedom.

Sanusi, who had since accepted his fate as the will of God, however approached the court to query the legality of his confinement in Nasarawa state.

In the suit he predicated on section 34, 35, 40, 41 and 46 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, the former Emir, among other things, prayed the court to restore his rights to human dignity, personal liberty, freedom of association and movement in Nigeria, (apart from Kano State).

Cited as Respondents in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/357/2020, were the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of the State Security Service, Attorney General of Kano State and the Attorney General of the Federation.

While adopting his final brief of argument, Sanusi’s lawyer, Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, told the court that his client was not before it to challenge his dethronement.

Mahmoud said his client was in court over the gross violation of his fundamental rights in relation to the harsh way he was treated after he was deposed by the Kano state government.

He said: “My lord, this is not a chieftaincy matter. The Applicant is not before this court to challenge the Respondents’ actions with regards to his removal as Emir of Kano, but the way he was bundled to Abuja and banished to a remote location.”

Mahmoud decried that notwithstanding the status of his client is the society, he was subjected to such degrading treatment.

He argued that it was clear from the way the former Emir was treated, that his rights were grossly violated, a situation that led him to seek the intervention of the court.

He prayed the court to grant all the reliefs his client sought in the suit, among which included the declaration of his confinement in Nasarawa state as illegal.

However, all the Respondents, through their respective lawyers, urged the court to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction.

Counsel to the IGP, Victor Okoye, further challenged the competence of the suit, noting that the instrument conveying Sanusi’s banishment was authored and endorsed by an official of the Kano State Government.

He therefore argued that the Applicant ought to have filed the case before a Kano state high court.

Likewise, counsel to the DG of the DSS, Godwin Agbadua, urged the court to strike out the suit on the grounds that the alleged rights violation occurred in Kano, stressing that there is a Federal High Court in Kano, before which Sanusi could seek redress.

On his part, the Attorney General of Kano State who was represented by Musa Mohammed, also challenged the jurisdiction of the court in Abuja to entertain the case.

He urged the court to dismiss the suit in its entirety for want of jurisdiction and competence.

Meanwhile, reacting to the judgement, the Kano State AG, through the lawyer that represented him in court on Tuesday, Abdulsallam Salleh, said they would study it properly and decide on the next line of action.

“We will look at the judgement critically and consult with our client (Kano state government) on whether we will appeal against it on not”, Salleh told newsmen.

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Dangote refinery to become highest employer of chemical engineers in Nigeria

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Mukhtar Yahya Usman

The National President of Nigeria Society of Chemical Engineers (NSCh) says Dangote Oil Refining Company will be the highest employer of chemical engineers in the country when the refinery comes on stream.

KANO FOCUS reports that the Society’s National President, Engr. Saidu A. Muhammed, disclosed this during the NSCh’s visit to Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical project at Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos over the weekend.

He commended the company for its contribution to energy security in Nigeria.

Muhammed, said the industries in Nigeria have not been able to absorb the over 1,000 engineers yearly from Nigerian Universities.

“We, the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers, have keenly been watching the progress of the refinery project.

“When completed, the refinery will be the singular largest employer of chemical engineers in the country.

“Nigerian Universities turn out about 1,000 chemical engineers every year and the avenues for employment have been very scarce.

“The industry has not been able to fully absorb the number of chemical engineers that passed out of the universities years ago.

“Some companies within the sector are not running at the optimum level. Therefore, employment is really key.

“However, from the energy security point of view, chemical engineers are always concerned about what can be put in place to guarantee energy security in the country.
“Nigeria is blessed with abundant crude oil, but unfortunately, we are importing petroleum products simply because Nigeria’s own refineries are not utilizing their installed capacity”, he said.

‘When you see a brand new refinery like the Dangote Refinery that has the capacity to meet the petroleum products needs of the country, there is need to celebrate such company”, Muhammed added.

He expressed delight over the size of the project and the level of work that has gone into the construction of the refinery.

“The Dangote Refinery project is very impressive, very big. There is no project of this magnitude right now in this part of the world.

“We are delighted to see that the project is nearing completion and many things have been done.”

He commended the Dangote Group for its plans to ensure that Nigerian engineers are trained to handle the operation of the refinery plant, which has been acclaimed to be the largest single-train refinery in the world.

“We are most impressed by the numbers of Nigerians that we see within the site working at various sections of the plant.

‘We are glad that Dangote is building this type of project in Nigeria, which is one of the largest in the world,” he said.

Muhammed added that the members of the association are happy to see that Dangote Refinery will contribute significantly to energy security in Africa.

“We are also happy about the refinery’s contribution to energy security in Africa. The refinery is also going to have a positive impact on Nigeria’s downstream oil and gas industry.”

Speaking also at the event, the Technical Consultant to the President of Dangote Group, Engr. Babajide Soyode commended the chemical engineers for coming on a tour of the refinery.

According to Soyode, Dangote’s refinery will help Nigeria meet and exceed its current demand for gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and kerosene, leaving ample product for export.

“This connotes significant positive economic impact on Nigeria and the West African region, transforming Nigeria from a net importer to exporter of refined petroleum products and curtailing significant foreign exchange outflows.

“Additionally, the availability of excess fuel will also provide a catalyst for eliminating Nigeria’s expensive fuel subsidy,” he added.

Soyode said that the 650,000 barrels-per-day refinery would complement other major infrastructure investments that Dangote has planned at the strategically located Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos, including a port, gas processing facility, power plant, and petrochemical and Fertiliser complex.

“When completed, this infrastructure complex will create a significant economy of scale for one of Africa’s largest industrial conglomerates, supporting jobs in both Nigeria and other African countries”, he added.

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NCC’s Oshadami Receives the Prestigious CIO Awards

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Nasiru Yusuf

The status of the Nigerian Communications Commission as a flagship public sector brand, got another fillip, on Friday, as Abraham Oshadami, a Deputy Director at the Commission and Head of Spectrum Database Management, was declared winner of the CIO OF THE YEAR AWARD for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), a nomenclature for one of the awards to the public sector group.

KANO FOCUS reports that the Award, conferred on Oshadami at Oriental Hotel Lagos on November 26, 2021, “celebrates and honours successful and outstanding individuals and organisations that are using digital innovation and information technology systems to bring about real growth and transformation to businesses”.

Oshadami was Head of NCC’s Information Technology Department since 2016 until 1st September, 2021 when he was reassigned to Spectrum Administration Department in keeping with Commission’s strategic realignment.

Organised annually by Edniesal Consulting Limited – an enterprise governance and corporate services firm – the Chief Information Officer (CIO) award is given in both public and private sector categories to Nigerian or African citizens or persons eligible to work in Nigeria.

Such persons/executives must be serving in the capacity of senior Information Technology Executives, Chief Technology Officers, Chief Digital Officers or Chief Information Officers, and their entities must have been registered and doing business for at least two years by July 31 when entries are submitted for assessment annually.

A statement sent to KANO FOCUS by Commission’s Director Public Affairs kechukwu Adinde said the CIO Award by Edniesal Consulting Limited is the “Largest CIO Awards in Africa”.

The awards are in different categories, namely: MDAs, banking, telecoms, insurance, technology, energy and so on.

Participants, who are usually persons primarily responsible for IT operations in the organisations they work, officially submit applications,Wow which are reviewed by a project team.

The reviews are forwarded to an interim jury which undertakes the first major assessment. The Interim Jury then presents three top nominees in each category to a Grand Jury for assessment. The grand jury conducts assessment and presents a list of final winners to an Independent Assurance Team for a final review and submission of report.

This is the process Engr. Oshadami’s application passed through and he’s adjudged the best CIO in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government as the best of the public sector executives supervising Information Technology operations where they work.

The NCC website, one of the items in the purview of the IT Department of the NCC which Oshadami supervised for 5 years, is been serially referred to as a forest of resources, due to the volume and quality of resources therein and its reliability as a source of credible information to journalists, other communication professionals and several close and far-flung stakeholders seeking information about Nigeria’s telecom sector.

In 2018, the Nigerian Communications Commission’s website was adjudged the Best Website of the Year in the MDAs’ Category by the Nigerian Online Merit Awards (NIOMA).

The award particularly noted NCC website as the most “interactive, current, relevant and error-free” among all MDA websites assessed.

Same year, the NCC also received the best awards for use of social media to disseminate information and to promote visibility on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube to promote visibility and interaction.

The social media handles are solely in the purview of the Public Affairs Department of the Commission, while the Information Technology Department and the Public Affairs Department collaborate in administering some aspects of the Commission’s website.

Oshadami, a first class graduate of electrical and electronics engineering from the University of Ibadan, has worked in different capacities and mostly in Management positions since September 2004 when he joined the Nigerian Communications Commission.

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