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NCC, ALTON Carpet Senate over New Emergency Free Number

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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) have advised the Senate to jettison the proposed bill on emergency toll free number, touted as emergency numbers in Nigeria in view of the current upsurge in crime.

NCC and ALTON, said this was not necessary and described it as duplication of efforts, since emergency toll free number already exists in the country.

Senator Gilbert Nnaji, chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, had stated the need for enactment of law that would take care of emergency numbers in Nigeria in view of the current upsurge in crime.

He stated that this facility helps the nations where it is in place, when there are crises.

He said: “It is important for Nigeria to adopt the 191 as the emergency number”, adding thus the decision of the Senate Committee to get industry stakeholders’ inputs on the way forward.

But the NCC stated that the 112 toll free number is the globally recognised number and the ITU’s specific number for emergency calls all over the world.

After several debates on the issue, the Senate Committee Chairman on Communications insisted on dialing the 112 toll free line, just to be sure that the number is really functioning, but unfortunately, there was no response from the number.

Irked by the malfunctioning of the 112 toll free line, the Senate Committee requested to know from the NCC, what happened to the budgetary allocation for the emergency numbers since this has always been included in the NCC’s budget every year and the number is not functioning.

But NCC, insisted that there was no need to have a bill on the emergency toll free number since the existing one is working.

In its submission, ALTON supported the NCC’s position that there was no need for the bill since 112 exist.

Gbenga Adebayo, chairman of ALTON, told the Senate that what needed to be done was to make the number functional and not creating another one.

Adebayo said NCC should be supported by the Senate to make the 112 emergency toll free number work.

Although the security agencies present at the public hearing were all in support of the bill, insisting that it will help in facilitating their work, the Senate Committee chairman however told them that there is still three weeks room for submission of presentation on emergency toll free number bill, and the hearing was later adjourned till further notice.

The bill, titled ‘A Bill for an Act to Establish a Nationwide Toll-Free Emergency Number for the Reporting of Emergencies Throughout the Federation of Nigeria’, seeks to establish a nationwide and uniform toll-free emergency number in Nigeria, which is designated as 191. It also seeks to implement a nationwide system for the reporting of emergencies to emergency service agencies.

Section 5 and 6 of the Bill seeks to grant the NCC with extensive supervisory and management powers and expects it to provide direction in respect of the bill, if passed into law.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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Ndukwe, Okigbo, Others for Anambra ICT Summit

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By peter oluka

Anambra is seeking a new positioning on digitlization as it prepares for its flagship Information and Communication (ICT) Summit with Willie Obiano, the executive governor of the State as Special Guest of Honour.

Anambra State, blessed with tech titans, has made brave moves towards digitalization, as Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, former executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and Dr. Pius Okigbo (jr.) former president of ISPON, lead other speakers at the Summit.

The Summit organised by Oliswanen Group in collaboration with Akulueuno Foundation holds this week Thursday, October 27, 2017 at Best Western Meloch Hotel, Ifite, Awka, Anambra State.

“Anambra government is edging towards digitizing the entire state”, a statement credited to Governor Willie Obiano reads.

The set objectives, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek learnt, include,

“To signal the beginning of a digital revolution in the state;

“To position Anambra State as the main ICT hub in the South East;

“To provide the right vessel for Anambra IT firms based outside the state, to establish their presence in the state in harkening to the AkuLuo Uno;

“To establish IT enthusiasts of new trending technologies and create an avenue to network with IT professionals and experts;

“To bring ICT and allied companies to display their goods and services and avail also customers of discounted prices;

“To harness the IT potentials of youths in the state by bringing together all computer / IT-compliant in the state; from Secondary Schools, Tertiary Institutions, young graduates and exceptionally IT-gifted youths that are not in the educational system for a grant IT contest;

“To avail the government of new ICT solutions that will enhance their revenue management and administrative processes.

“An avenue for government to appreciate the enormous opportunities that IT offers and propound new ICT policies in the state”.

Confirmed business participants, electronic solution providers; gadgets and application developers; telecommunication companies; electronic/digital product manufacturers and retailers; mobile phone dealers and ICT services provides.

Other speakers expected at the Summit include: Mr. Gerald Ilukwe, Mr. Uche Nworah, Mr. Marcel Manafa, Mrs. Uchenna Onwuamaegbu, Mr. Pascal Okeke, Mr. Emeka Okeke, among others.

High profile ICT seminar; startup mentors and angel invectors; IT contest for secondary schools; digital and manual entertainment are part of programmes slated for the event.

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Operators Kick over Exclusion from National Broadband Council

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Key stakeholders in the country’s information and communications technology have been left out in the newly reconstituted Nigeria National Broadband Council.

 

A document of the new council obtained by Nigeria CommunicationsWeek contains list of members of the council.

 

The list, however did not have any telecommunications operator in the country or industry association such as Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON); Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) among others as members of the council.

 

This was as against the practice in the old council membership where telecommunications operators and representatives of ATCON, ALTON and others were members.

 

The present scenario raises doubt over the ability of the council to supervise effectively the implementation of the national broadband plan to achieve 30 percent broadband penetrative by 2018 without the people that will implement the policy.

 

Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, ALTON, said: “I am of the view that critical industry players should be members of the council otherwise it will be more of an advisory council than implementation council. The object of the council is to make things happen and it is operators that can make things happen, they are the ones that understand the challenges of the industry in terms of providing broadband services in the country.

 

Adebayo who was a member of the defunct Council said that “If operators were not carried along there is the tendency that the council will loss vital information in the process of writing report for the implementation of the broadband plan. We as operators will cooperate with them to ensure that the objectives of the plan are realized, but, the ideal practice would have been to involve operators as members of the council just like the old council,” he said.

 

National Broadband council sees to the implementation of National Broadband plan; the council plays a supervisory role in the implementation of the plan. Although, the council does not implement, implementations are done by operators, various ministries as well as Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

 

It is the job of the council to ensure that different time line as contained in the National Broadband Plan are achieved, where there is delay, the council invites the agency responsible to ensure that any obstacle responsible for the delay is removed.

 

Lanre Ajayi, immediate past president, ATCON who was a member of the old council representing ATCON, said that it is ideal and appropriate for operators playing in the deployment of broadband services to be represented in the council if the council wants to achieve its objective and functions effective.

 

“In absence of the operators that will implement the Broadband policy and industry associations expected to represent the views of its members, I wonder how the new National Broadband Council will function effectively, this means that they will not get the right input to perform their role,” he noted.

 

Members of the new council consist mainly of Communications ministry, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and representatives of some agencies under the ministry of Communications.

 

 

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USPF Shortlists 30 Innovations for Change-maker Challenge

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The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), an arm of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), says it has selected 30 innovations to further compete for its Change-maker Challenge 2017.

The USPF Changemaker Challenge 2017 is a nationwide competition open to innovators, software developers, UX designers, students and other ICT enthusiasts in Nigeria.

The objective of the challenge is to empower Nigerian youths by challenging them to create technology-driven solutions for the needs of their communities and the nation at large.

According to the fund, five entries each from the six geopolitical zones have pre-qualified for the National Finals of the USPF Change-maker Challenge 2017.

It posted on its website on Sunday that the submitted entries from each region were assessed based on certain criteria.

“The entries were assessed based on originality of the idea, level of innovation, local content, pitch quality and impact as well as documentation and video.

“Congratulations to the pre-qualified teams who have already been contacted by the USPF Change-maker Challenge 2017 Team, with invitations to the National Finals and instructions on next steps.

“For those that did not pre-qualify from their respective regions, we will like to encourage them to upgrade their solutions as well as continue to innovate.

“Truly, innovative solutions will invariably attract opportunities for investment, mentorship and eventual success,’’ it said.

It stated that the USPF National Finals will hold in Lagos from Oct. 27 to Oct. 28, 2017.

According to the fund, Nigerian youths are tasked through the competition to engage their ingenuity to solve relevant problems and bring positive change through creativity and innovation.

“The intention is to encourage participants to tackle a selection of identified problems based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as they apply to Nigeria, and offer working solutions to them.’’

It said that top three finalists would be selected by a panel of judges at the finals and would win N2, 250,000 cash prizes.

“The 1st prize winner will go with N1,000,000, the 2nd prize is N750,000 and the 3rd prize, N500,000; the winners will all get acceptance into incubation programme.

“The incubation programme will involve mentorship, a two-week entrepreneurship boot camp and support in attempting to get the three final solutions to market.’’ the fund said.

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