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eNigeria Delegates Decry N868bn Spent on Importation of Hardware, Software



Delegates at the just concluded 2017 eNigeria Conference and exhibition have expressed dismay that Nigeria spends a whooping sum of N868 billion ($2.8bn) annually on importation of hardware and software products and services annually.

This was revealed in a six page communiqué issued at the end of the three day annual ICT event held at the International conference Centre, Abuja and read by Dr. Collins Agu, the director of Corporate Planning and Strategies at NITDA.

The delegates expressed concern that such expenditure has led to capital flight and massive job loss in the country.

The communiqué also noted that the Nigerian economy is making digital transition which is evident from the sheer volume of online financial transactions in the country which stood at over N56 trillion in 2016, and 204 percent increase in internet transactions between 2014 and 2017 – from N5.41 billion to N16.45 billion.

The delegates further decried low patronage of Made-in-Nigeria ICT goods and services, which they said had resulted in considerable capital flight out of the country.

They described digital economy as an important enabler of economic growth since digital skills and technologies have the capacity to boost the productivity of every nation with such skills and technologies projected to contribute $2 trillion to the global economy by 2020.

The communiqué reads: ‘‘We are concerned that a whopping $2.8 billion is expended on the importation of hardware and software products and services annually to the country which had led to capital flight.

‘‘We also note that the Nigerian economy is making digital transition which is evident from the sheer volume of online financial transactions in the country which stood at over N56 trillion in 2016, and 204 percent increase in Internet transactions between 2014 and 2017 – from N5.41 billion to N16.45 billion.

‘‘Digital economy is an important enabler of economic growth since digital skills and technologies have the capacity to boost the productivity of every nation with such skills and technologies projected to contribute $2 trillion to the global economy by 2020;

‘‘We note all efforts of NITDA on local content development, infrastructural deployment, capacity building as well as creation and review of existing regulations for effective ICT sector in the country;

‘‘We equally note that in 2017, NITDA saved the sum of N2.5billion for the Federal Government of Nigeria through the IT Project Clearance initiative.

‘‘ICT deployment in Nigeria is growing at a very high rate thus positioning the country as one of the fastest growing economies in sub-Sahara Africa, with the sector contributing about 12.58 percent to the GDP in 2017.’’ Continuing, the communiqué noted: The importance of a thriving Local Content Policy through ability to develop a “home-grown” digital economy which is dependent upon the development of ICT-capacity of Nigerians,

‘‘The directive of the Federal Government of Nigeria for all Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to patronize “Made-in-Nigeria” Information Technology (IT) products and services.

‘‘That the digital economy comprises economic activities resulting from the billions of online connections leading to increase in revenue, empowerment of citizens, reduction in corruption and the creation of jobs.

‘‘The serious efforts of countries which experienced a high level economic growth through growing their digital economies.

‘‘The efforts of NITDA at collaborating with relevant government organisations such as the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP); the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation should be intensified to ensure that the certificates issued are used to assess the level of compliance of IT projects.

‘‘The giant strides made by NITDA in the development of Rulemaking Process aimed at stakeholders participation in the development of regulations, policies, and guidelines.’’

The theme of the 2017 eNigeria conference, ‘‘Fostering Digital Economy through Local Content Development and Effective Regulations’’, was predicated on three segments of using ICT to reduce unemployment, enhance national security and promote ICT local content development through effective regulations.

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FG to Use ICT to Curb Unemployment



Dr. Isa Pantami, Director General of NITDA

Federal government has said it is aware of difficulties in securing white-collar jobs by youths in the country and this has compelled it to look inward to build technology entrepreneurs.


This was revealed by Dr. Isa Pantami, director general, National Information Technology Development Agency ([NITDA), during the ninth edition of Startup Friday event for Akwa Ibom youths in Uyo, the state capital.


According to him, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has become inevitable. The future of the country’s youths depends on ICT.


The Director General said the Startup Friday programme was created to encourage every Nigerian to look inward in tackling

Nigeria’s economic problems, stressing that, “ICT is the global driver of all aspects of the economy”.


“We are aware of the harsh condition in securing white-collar jobs in the country. So, it has become apparent for the government to focus more in building technology entrepreneurs. A developed indigenous ICT eco-system would help the country to diversify its economy from oil.


“Data is the new oil. With the two local content-related Presidential Orders, we need to focus on locally-produced innovations for our local markets. NITDA intends to encourage and support ICT entrepreneurship and promote it as an attractive career option for the teeming youths”, he said.


He said the startup was brought to Akwa Ibom to encourage the youths to eke a living through ICT, adding that plans had reached advance stage to establish a Digital Job Centre in the state.




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MRA Asks Buhari to Assent to Digital Rights and Freedom Bill



President Muhammadu Buhari

Media Rights Agenda (MRA), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill into law as soon as he receives it from the National Assembly, saying it is the most practical way for his Administration to demonstrate its support for Internet freedom for Nigerians.


In a statement in Lagos, MRA applauded the leadership of National Assembly for the speedy passage of the Bill by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and urged them to ensure that a clean copy reaches the President for signature in the shortest time possible in order to bring their efforts to fruition


The Bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives on December 19, 2017, was similarly passed by the Senate earlier this week, on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.


Mr. Edetaen Ojo, executive director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA), described the proposed Law as “a strong piece of legislation that seeks to effectively protect the rights of Nigerians on the Internet and in the digital environment in accordance with the global norms and standards that Nigeria has helped to establish.”


Calling on President Buhari to assent to the Bill without delay and thereby demonstrate his willingness to protect the rights of all Nigerians online as they are protected offline, he said: “The Bill provides a comprehensive framework for the advancement, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet and in the digital environment, consistent with Nigeria’s regional and international obligations under various international human rights instruments, some of which Nigeria has led in bringing into being by co-sponsoring”.


For instance, Mr Ojo said, “Nigeria played a leading role on the global stage in 2012 when it led in co-sponsoring the landmark Resolution on the Promotion, Protection and Enjoyment of Human Rights on the Internet at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, alongside Sweden, the United States, Brazil, Turkey and Tunisia, wherein it was affirmed that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice.”


Observing that the resolution has brought Nigeria tremendous respect and acclaim from around the world, he urged the President to sign the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill “in keeping with the groundbreaking direction and guidance which this Resolution provided to the global community on human rights online.”


In addition, Mr. Ojo said, the Digital Rights and Freedom Act will help boost an innovative environment for Nigerians, as well as accelerate the country’s development in the digital age by allowing all Nigerians take maximum advantage of emerging opportunities, adding that this will be beneficial to the government and its efforts to ensure the economic growth of Nigeria including though its recent Enabling Business Environment initiative.


Mr. Ojo added that: “The Bill, when it becomes Law, will bring Nigeria’s domestic law, policy and practices with regards to the protection of human rights on the Internet into conformity with this international norm that we were central as a nation in developing and bequeathing to the global community.”


MRA also called on all other stakeholders, especially the media and civil society actors, to lend their voices to the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill by advocating for speedy presidential assent and subsequently, to monitor its implementation and ensure that its provisions are applied in practice.


Mr. Ojo said: “This piece of legislation will ultimately impact the personal and professional lives of every Nigerian who is connected to the Internet as well as those who will be connected in the future. It is therefore essential for all stakeholders to contribute to this process in every way possible including through advocacy, by writing about it, facilitating discussions and debates, playing their roles in ensuring its implementation and encouraging other members of society to do so as well.”


He also praised Paradigm Initiative for leading and coordinating the multi-stakeholder efforts that characterized the development and drafting of the Bill and resulted in its speedy passage by the National Assembly, saying it has once again demonstrated the power of civil society to positively affect the fortunes of Nigeria and Nigerians.

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Workers Seek Sack of NCC Boss over Alleged N406m Fraud



Afam Ezekude, DG, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC)

Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) of Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), has called for the removal of Afam Ezekude, director general, for alleged maladministration and misappropriations of funds totalling N406 million.


ASCSN, an affiliate of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), also demanded Ezekude’s immediate investigation and prosecution.


Ezekude in his reaction, dismissed the allegations, saying the claims were unsubstantiated and false.


Speaking with The Guardian on telephone, he said the allegations were previously investigated by the EFCC, DSS and ICPC but declared them unfounded.


But the association, which protested against the DG’s alleged maladministration and embezzlement of public funds on Monday, March 12, 2018, said Ezekude’s continued stay in the commission was affecting the growth of creative industry in the country.


Moses Ihuma, chairman of NCC chapter of the association, who spoke to The Guardian on the telephone, said staff members of the commission have lost confidence in Ezekude’s leadership.

He noted that the director general had reduced the NCC, which is an enforcement agency set up to protect and promote the creative industry, to an agency for looting of funds.


He also alleged that poor welfare scheme resulted in the death of 15 employees of the commission, stressing that they would continue their protests until their demands were met.


In a statement signed by Ihuma and Olatunji Kurile, the unit’s Secretary, the association said their grouse include lack of payment of staff allowances since 2011, lack of working tools and illegal renewal of Ezekude’s tenure, as well as the director general’s possession of two letters of tenure renewal from two different government offices.


They noted that the association had petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Department of State Services (DSS) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) with evidences of corruption against Ezekude.




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