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FG to Partner Huawei on Smart Cities Initiative

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(L-r): Barrister Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communication; Senator Isah Hamma Musa;  Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture and the Tank Li, managing director of Huawei Technologies Nigeria Limited during the Smart Cities Summit Nigeria in Abuja, during the week.

Adebayo Shittu, minister of communications said that the Federal Government would partner Huawei, a global technology giant, in its smart cities initiative .

Shittu stated this in Abuja, at a Smart Cities two-day multi-stakeholders international summit, sponsored by Huawei, in collaboration with Smart Cities Nigeria, Ministry of Communications, Ministry of Works, Housing and Power, Federal Capital Territory Administration and Ministry of Environment.

The Minister said that the partnership with Huawei provide grounds to reshape the way public service is provided and managed in Nigeria.

‎According to Shittu, “More people now have access to smart phones. Experts said that smart phones users in Africa will increase from 75 million in the first quarter of 2016 to 512 million 2018.

“Smart Cities would promote open data is one of the advantages of smart city. Smart City helps to manage government resources. It also helps to get more revenue for the government.

“Nigeria is a journey of greatness and together we will arrive at the destination of our dreams. In order to encourage competition among States and Local governments, the Ministry of Communications would soon launch the Smart Cit‎y competition, this is to encourage them to take a bolder steps go the level of digital technology.

“I urge stakeholders to partner with the ministry to create smart cities in ‎Nigeria.”

Mr Tank Li, managing director, Huawei Technologies Nigeria Limited, said the development and widespread application of digital technologies had transformed lives in a profound way.

He noted, “Data flow and economic development have become the big trends of our time; digital economy is a new form of economy in which everyone can share.

“Digital economy refers to an economic system in which digital technologies are widely applied, revolutionizing the whole economic environment and activities. Digital economy is also a brand new socio-political and economic system in which all information and commercial activities are digitised.

“Businesses, consumers and governments do business via the Internet, allowing for rapid business growth. Digital economy focuses on commodities and services whose production, distribution, and sales all rely on digital technologies.

“We project in the near future a digital economy that will bring about enormous changes in society. We simply have no way of knowing how deep and far-reaching these changes will be. However, we can be sure of one thing, that ICT will be the cornerstone of this digital economy.

“In our philosophy, the digital economy has three defining characteristics: All things will have the ability to sense, all things will be connected, and all things will be intelligent.

“The existence of these three defining characteristics depends entirely on advanced ICT. In an intelligent world, devices will play the role of the “feelers” in an all-sensing environment. Networks will connect everything, and the cloud will be the source of intelligence behind all things. These three elements form a synergetic architecture of devices, information pipes, and the cloud.”

He said, “This fourth industrial revolution is going to impact people’s lives in unimaginable ways and this will happen through the convergence of the cyber and physical worlds. The Internet of Things is automatic ‘smart’ communication between objects, through the internet.

“McKinsey Global Institute says in a report last year that IoT could have a total economic impact of $4 trillion to $11 trillion a year by 2025. IoT pervades many areas of life.

“For example, inside Nestle Malaysia Bhd’s headquarters in Petaling Jaya, there is a room with a huge screen covering an entire wall that tracks key words related to the company’s products on the Internet.

“The sales force social studio is where Nestle’s Malaysian digital acceleration team, which was set up in early 2014, analyses consumer trends specifically for the company’s social media campaigns and market research.

“But this is only one aspect of IoT, another is efficiency. The data collected is used to make businesses more efficient and better able to react.

“Nigerian government has realized the potential of its digital economy. Unlocking the dividends of digital economy becomes imperative in the face of dwindling oil revenue with increasingly pressure on the economy evident in budgets deficit, infrastructural deficit, high unemployment rate, harsh business environment and corruption amongst others.

“Federal government is about to launch the “Smart Nigeria Digital Economy Project” that aims to solve efficiency problems and create leapfrog opportunities in the economy for the next 10 years.

“Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Okechukwu Enelamah said the financial services within the country’s digital economy would add $88 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) and create more than 3 million jobs within 10 years. The potential gains of the digital economy will manifest in digital accounts, payments, mobile money, health and educational services along with other sectors of the economy.

‘I fully agree with the fact that, ICT-enabled technologies and solutions has the huge potential to serve as a major accelerator of the vision of Smart Nigeria Digital Economy and its sustainable development goal.

“As a global leading ICT solution provider, Huawei’s products and solutions have been deployed in over 170 countries and regions, serving more than one third of the world’s population.”

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Improved Security Strategies Required for ePlatforms Uptakes- ITSSP

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By peter oluka ‎

Nigeria requires adequate cyber security measures to sustain the growth of service deliveries through e-Platforms, said information security experts.

Professor Adesina Sodiya, president of ITSSP in a telephone interview with Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, described cybercrime as a growing global threat, but every country has learnt to defend its cyber space.

Prof. Sodiya said, ‎”Cybercrime is a global challenge; and the recent attacks in Nigeria have been affecting critical areas of our activities. That is why this group is concerned about the development of solutions to tackle the menace. We have to continue to discourse the way forward in terms of our national cyber development”‎

He said that, ‎as a country, professionals must be engaged to develop the cyber defence strategies. “Many countries have gone ahead with the development of defence mechanisms in the cyber space; Nigeria must not be left behind. We have not gotten there.‎

“Why do we need to be more serious about cyber space? There is a popular saying today that the next world war will happen at the cyber space.

“As at now, many countries are gathering information about other countries. They are peeping into other countries’ activities, which calls for us to develop our cyber security strategies to monitor inflow and outflow of data”.

Mr. ‎Aderogba Adeoye, former president of ITSSP also told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that increase in these e-platforms calls for improved cyber security awareness.‎

“Everybody is talking about e-platforms. If we are to run the e-platforms, it entails a need to develop capacities for security. Your data or information can be wiped off in a twinkle of an eye. As far as the e-commerce platforms are concerned, the intention is to make profit.‎

“For us to continue reaping benefits in e-services applications the capacity development of the human capital must be taken very serious. This is what the conference tends to address.‎

“We are not relenting. ITSSP is an interest group of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS); it is important to us to advocate for focus on issues related to cyber security”, he said.‎‎

He added that recent advocacies have yielded results with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), for instance, introduced information security departments. “That is a right step in good direction. The other day we engaged the Ministry of Justice and the National Security Adviser (NSA) and they were convincing enough on how admitting electronic evidences are helpful in combating cybercrimes”. ‎

“In order to build capacity government has to enhance IT policing activities by ensuring that anybody executing government projects, in IT, are registered professionals. This is another way to elicit adherence to the rules of the business,” Adeoye added. ‎‎

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Stakeholders Frown at Nigeria’s Position on eReadiness Report

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by Chike Onwuegbuchi

Information and communications technology stakeholders have frowned at the recent position of the Nigeria on eReadiness status where the country is placed 119 out of 139 countries.

eReadiness refers to a country’s capacity and state of preparedness to participate in the electronic world.

The state of maturity is commonly measured by the country’s information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and the ability of its government and citizens to utilize the positive impacts of ICT for sustainable development.

Chris Uwaje, director general, Delta State Innovation Hub, who disclosed the country’s position said: “In the e-readiness report just released early this week Nigeria is sitting at 119.”

He said; “eReadiness status is about the aggregate measure of how countries are faring using ICT or within the ICT landscape, it embodied economic, educational and social index, measured along the lines of sustainable development goals. Each country has an index that they need to pass, it just like exam. But the aggregate sum of our domain platform today is really unacceptable. It keeps us into that realm of super consumption country in ICT but less in innovative and creativity and that is wrong.”

He explained that the more we consume the more we cannot create employment. “The more we consume, the more we are funding capital flight, the more we consume the more our educational sector will be malnourished in terms of knowledge, and will not be attractive, that is why more Nigerians are now in Ghanaian universities and in Republic of Benin universities.

“For the country to move up it is about knowledge Olympiad. We need to refine our educational system, government need to invest more on knowledge parks, incubators, and fund incubators. We have to ensure that lectures and those who can replicate knowledge are given added resources and reward system that enables them. Because we need to create a digital army for this country, so that when financial sector, aviation, transport or any other sector is attack can we defend it?”

Amos Emmanuel, chief executive officer, Programos Software, said that Nigeria has a lot to do if she has to move up in the ladder of e-readiness.

“The game of e-readiness has changed; it is no longer like technological transfer from Europe or America the focus is now on innovation base on the environment. Nigeria needs to reformulate its digital policy,” he said.

He blamed the country’s socio-cultural environment as impediment to application of information and communications technology to every sector of the economy.

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FG to Harmonize BVN, Others into National Identity Database

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By Fabian Tarpael, Abuja
The Federal Government has announced its decision to stop what it called proliferation and duplication of biometric-based identity systems in the country.

Mrs. Habiba Lawal, acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation, stated this in Abuja while inaugurating a former governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, alongside eight others as chairman and members, respectively of the Governing Board of the National Identity Management Commission, (NIMC).

Lawal noted that the Federal Government established the NIMC as the primary institution charged with the responsibility of providing and regulating identity management in Nigeria, the issuance of the National Identification Number (NIN) and ID card to all registrable persons as well as the harmonisation and integration of existing identification databases in government agencies and integrating them into the National Identity Database (NIDB).

Represented on the board are the military, Nigeria Immigration Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, other government agencies and the private sector.

Among the first task the ex-governor and his team have been saddled with is the harmonisation of databases of Nigerians believed to have been unnecessarily duplicated.

Data expected to be harmonized included the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card registration being handled by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC); Bank Verification Number (BVN); Drivers Licence from the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC); and voters card number among others.

Lawal said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari expects the proliferation and duplication of biometric-based identity systems to stop as it was neither cost effective, nor security smart.

“Apart from being unwieldy, the cost of operating multiple discordant databases and infrastructure is unattainable,” Lawal had stated.

She urged the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to come up with a more effective and innovative identity management system that was devoid of duplication for the country.

Mrs Lawal also said despite the successes of the commission at data capture of registrable persons in the country, “there was still much more to be done.”

She urged members of the Board who were drawn from both the public and private sectors, to take a cue from the countries that have successfully issued unique identity to its citizens and have utilised such identity to transform their society and economy.

“We need change, positive change in our identity eco-system. The change starts with all of us agreeing to make the sacrifices and commitment required, defining clear policy direction and taking collective actions to achieve our common goal.

“The NIMC must focus its energy on ensuring that the remaining component of the National Identity Management System (NIMS) roll-out alignment and switching over by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) through the harmonization and integration framework is successfully implemented.

“The speed of data collection must have to be improved upon, and this will reduce justifications given by MDAs, as reasons for duplicated biometric options.

“Hopefully, the harmonisation programme, being spearheaded by the Office of the Vice President, will help to achieve this, especially, by the commission ensuring that the MDAs switch or at least, align their existing infrastructure as data collection agents to the NIMC system,” she said.

In an acceptance speech, Oyinlola gave the assurance that the Board members will work assiduously to justify the confidence reposed in them by the government.

“We, therefore, pledge our loyalty to our dear nation and Mr President who has recognised our inherent capabilities and made the appointment, based on trust, competence and the confidence reposed in us.

“We shall live up to expectations, especially given the fact that the burden placed on our shoulders is a very sensitive and significant one that must be carried with every sincerity and patriotism,” he said.

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