Insecurity does not know religion, tribe, race – League of Veteran Journalists

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The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has highlighted ways the country can maximize the potentials of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Executive Vice-Chairman, EVC, of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta said this in a keynote speech at a virtual discourse series held in Abuja on Thursday

At the event, EVC was represented by the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC, Barr. Adeleke Adewolu

The EVC noted that Nigeria can only harness the opportunities of the 4th Industrial Revolution as a nation if it put in place effective guiding frameworks, to address the various aspects of the digital ecosystem and ensure their effective interworking in the national interest.

He, however, noted that Nigeria is not lacking in key Policy and Regulatory frameworks and instruments which will enable it to play a leading role in powering the 4th Industrial Revolution.

”As an example, The National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy Policy (2020-2030) boasts of eight (8) pillars designed to, amongst others, “Enable Nigeria to become a leading player in the global digital economy; Provide a catalyst to facilitate the diversification of the economy; and Accelerate the attainment of the key national objectives of improving security, reducing corruption and expanding the economy.

He noted that the Nigerian National Broadband Policy (2020-2024) clearly highlights the various implementation strategies that would aid the pervasive inclusion and rollout of broadband services across the country whilst also developing a robust and holistic digital economy.

He also pointed to the NCC’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP 2020-2024 or “ASPIRE 2024”) which consolidates on the vision earlier articulated in the Strategic Vision Plan and 8-Point Agenda.

“We have responded to the policy goals highlighted above to harness the immense socio-economic benefits of ICT for national development; to ensure that ICT infrastructure is up to the standard necessary to provide ubiquitous broadband services in Nigeria; and to align the Commission’s regulatory efforts with the aforementioned Policy Instruments, as well as the growth strategies of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to ensure Growth, Inclusiveness, and Sustainability. We have recorded a number of significant achievements in this regard. These include:

“The licensing of six (6) infrastructure companies (InfraCos) speed up the deployment of broadband infrastructure throughout Nigeria; the provision of training and supporting public institutions with ICT interventions like School Knowledge Centers, ADAPTI etc.

“Enhancement of physical infrastructure: in the last five (5) years, the Commission has expanded broadband penetration from 6% to 42.06 as at February 2021; access gap clusters have been reduced from 207 to 114; Fibre Optic coverage has increased from 47,000km to 54,725 km and Base Transceiver Stations for 3G and 4G deployments have increased from 30,000 to 53,460.

“The creation of a full-fledged department Digital Economy has been created to support Federal Government’s Digital Economy agenda. We also increased funding of Telecom Research to N336.4m and have endowed four (4) Professorial Chairs.

“We have also commenced requisite engagements on 5G deployments and some of our licensees have already carried out trials.

“These strides will enable the telecommunications sector to provide the infrastructure backbone for powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Nigeria. We are firmly committed to ensuring that Nigerians in Nigeria play a leading role in Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, Blockchain, Autonomous Vehicle, Drones and other innovative technologies which are now driving growth and national competitiveness.

“The question of regulation of disruptive technologies without stultifying innovation is one that we, like all other regulators globally, are carefully studying. For now, we have maintained a sharp focus on critical cross-cutting aspects like consumer protection, enhancement of competition, data protection and enhancement of trust in digital platforms through the prevention of cybercrimes and other abuses.”

He also mentioned the citizens’ Identification and Digital Identity, adding, “Permit me to use this opportunity to highlight and seek the support of all stakeholders – on the issue of citizens’ identification and digital identity – something we all agree, I am sure, is critical to our country’s digital emergence and its future growth.

“As we all know, the Federal Government has articulated a Policy that all Nigerians must possess a unique National Identification Number (NIN) issued by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC); and that the NIN must be linked with all identity databases, particularly the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration database. To achieve this, we had to take the difficult decision of suspending the actuation of all new SIMs and to mandate all citizens to link their SIMs to their NINs.

“I am pleased to note that we have achieved very significant success in the articulation of a template for the activation of new SIMs linked with authenticated NINs and that the activation of new SIMs will now be carried out across the country in earnest.

“This development further underscores the government’s commitment to ensure that all the pre-requisites for our citizens full, effective and productive participation in the digital economy is guaranteed. I call on all stakeholders to support these efforts in the overall national interest for a robust citizens’ database that supports socio-economic, health, education, national security and other public interest aspirations of the country.

“In essence, Nigeria can only maximize the potentials of the 4th Industrial Revolution if we:

“Articulate effective and forward-looking Policy Instruments to guide our emergence into the future digital landscape;

“Ensure the ubiquitous presence, the seamless operation and the cost-effective availability of communications infrastructure which will power the digital aspirations of all sectors of the Nigerian economy and ensure that national competitiveness is guaranteed; and

“Deploy effective regulatory instruments and harness the efforts of all critical Stakeholders so that we can derive the utmost benefits from the 4th Industrial revolution and not be reduced to digital laggards, spectators, or, merely a consumptive class.

“The Nigerian Communications Commission is keenly aware of the critical need to harness the contributions of all critical Stakeholders across all industry platforms and professional groups to ensure that Nigerians fully participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution as drivers and innovators. We hope that we can continue to count on the support of all stakeholders in this quest.”

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