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Paradigm Initiative Berates African Governments for Stifling Internet Freedom



By peter oluka

With the recent Internet shutdown in Togo adding to the growing list of Internet shutdowns in Africa, with at least 11 in 2016 and 7 this year already, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), said that it has become easy to see how Internet shutdowns have dominated discussions on digital rights in Africa.

This was contained in a new policy brief, a document obtained by Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, in which PIN lamented that in 2017, alone, internet shutdowns and disruptions have occurred in Ethiopia, Cameroon, Mali, Senegal, Morocco, South Sudan and Togo under the guises of preventing examination malpractices, controlling citizens’ protests and others.

Executive Brief of the Document as notified by Babatunde Okunoye & ‘Boye Adegoke, shows that using their power as the sole providers of telecommunications services or with the assistance (sometimes under coercion) of private telecommunications companies, these governments totally cut off or disrupted access to the Internet or specific social media applications such as Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter within their territories.

“This brief seeks to highlight the impact of Internet shutdown on press freedom while at the same time argues that the media and other stakeholders must-see Internet Freedom advocacy as the new Press Freedom advocacy.

“While it is easy to see the big picture of Internet shutdowns and disruptions, it might also be easy to lose sight of other digital rights violations within Africa, particularly the surveillance and arrests of journalists, or how Internet shutdowns affect the work of journalists across the continent.

“Even though there were numerous arrests of citizens and bloggers by governments in 2016, 2017 has seen a severe onslaught on online journalists in Africa.

“Being an online journalist is fast becoming one of the most dangerous jobs in Africa.

“The extensive government mandated surveillance1 and blocking of news websites in Egypt2 and the arrests of online journalists covering the Al-hoceima protests3 in Morocco are highlights which demonstrate how journalists have become the prime target for state-sponsored attacks in 2017.

“Furthermore, the clampdown on journalists working digitally also extended to citizen journalists. In the heat of political protests and elections, citizen journalists are often the first on the scene to capture and share pictures of police brutality on social media, actions which have incurred jail time and fines across Africa.

“Elections and protests also routinely trigger Internet shutdowns in many African countries, a development that hampers the ability of online journalists to do their job.

“Freedom of expression is a bellwether for other human rights around the world because the state of freedom of expression is a good indicator of other human rights. Journalists, because of the nature of their profession, are guardians of freedom of expression and the conscience of society. The numerous attacks on online journalists and citizen journalists this year hit a new high and must be resisted.

“The world is still searching for solutions to Internet shutdowns. In Africa in particular, civil society groups have explored avenues such as litigation4,5 to make governments accountable for Internet disruptions in their territories. The available evidence shows that these efforts are yet to have the desired effect on government behavior,” a summary of the document reads.

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FG, Korea To Unveil Phase-2 Of ICT Project



The Federal Government and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) are concluding arrangements to launch second phase of partnership in ICT that would develop experts and highly skilled labor in information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Nigeria.

This was disclosed yesterday when a delegation from the KOICA office, led by its  Country Director, Sook Hyun Park paid a courtesy visit to the Ministry of Communications, Abuja.

The country Director said that, South Korean government through KOICA has enjoyed a strong partnership with Federal Ministry of Communications in its e-government capacity building project for the past 7 years.

“Our first e-government project which has existed for the past 7 years with a strong partnership with Federal Ministry of Communications would be concluded next year. We shall keep our effort and support to Nigeria. E-government in the 2nd project which  we plan to embark  upon, we are interested in developing human skilled labor in ICT areas hence, the need for the Minister to share his expertise and ideas that would be of good direction to the Federal Government ”, the Director stated.

Sook Hyun stated that KOICA’s visit to the Ministry of Communications was aimed at introducing the agency’s upcoming project (phase 2) being worked towards year 2020 and beyond, following the conclusion of the introductory (first phase) which would be concluded by 2019.

In his contribution, Headquarter Coordinator, An Kwangsoo, said KOICA as an agency was set to move from the introductory part of its partnership project which was focused on e-government capacity building, scholarship for masters and PHD Degrees in Korean Universities for Nigerians to a bigger phase in order to assist Nigeria in achieving the implementation of her e-government master plan.

In his remarks, the Minister of Communications, Dr. Adebayo Shittu thanked KOICA on behalf of the Federal Government, for generously investing so much towards the development of Nigeria, particularly in areas of e-government and capacity building.

The Minister said that, Federal Government cannot take KOICA’s selfless cooperation for granted and urged them to sustain the smooth relationship that is being enjoyed by both parties in service to humanity.

He urged the Agency to meet with the Ministry’s e-government department to work together for a very beneficial launch of the 2nd phase of broader partnership between the federal government and the Republic of Korea via KOICA.

In the new phase, Shittu urged the Agency to make conscientious efforts to ensure at least 100,000 civil servants are trained annually, to improve Nigeria’s system of operations to be more effective and efficient.

He also appealed to them to collaborate with the Nigerian Universities by sending technology gurus from the Korean universities to impart technological ideas and knowledge to students in Nigeria who shall in turn train others.

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MTN Smart Survey a Smart Way to get Customer’s Insight



There’s nothing more important than the opinion of the masses when it comes to marketing or business positioning.


After all, without the approval and buy-in of the public, it would be hard to get any product or concept off the ground.

L-R: General Manager, Customer Experience, MTN Nigeria, Kolawole Oyeyemi; General Manager, Enterprise Marketing, MTN Nigeria, Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka and Customer Enablement, MTN Nigeria, Ladipo Nylander at the launch of MTN Smart Survey, an effective tool for customer insight which held on Monday, December 10, 2018


Market/consumer surveys provide detailed insights into competitors, and aid in understanding customers’ preferences & discomforts.


Consumer surveys are used in analysing latest market trends, consumer buying patterns, economic shifts, and demographics.


Useful as these surveys may be, many businesses are unable to obtain the insights they need from them for business decisions.

General Manager, Customer Experience, MTN Nigeria, Kolawole Oyeyemi taking guests through a presentation tagged ‘mobile survey as an effective tool for customer insight and optimal value propositioning’.


In response to this challenge, MTN Nigeria has just launched a business tool, MTN Smart Survey to enable smart business owners to leverage on market research in developing effective strategies for business growth.


MTN Smart Survey, which is offered in collaboration with Communication and Marketing Research Group Limited (CMRG), provides an electronic medium for conduct and administration of surveys specifically targeted to a group of MTN subscribers.

Guests at the launch

The service offers survey delivery through the USSD channel to subscribers that have been profiled based on specific attributes, such as age, gender, location, etc.


The launch of the new solution had in attendance dignitaries from various business sectors in Nigeria who had a firsthand experience of the platform and its functionalities.

Guests at the launch


The new business tool has also been designed to reward customers with N100 MTN airtime upon completion of questions administered through the survey.


MTN Nigeria continues to seek ways to contribute to the Nigerian economy by extending its partnership capabilities to brighten the lives of business owners within the country.



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Heirs Holdings Inks $600m Facility Deal with Afrexim Bank, to Scale its Energy Investments.



K-r: chairman, Heirs Holdings Group, Mr. Tony Elumelu and President of African Export-Import Bank(Afreximbank), Dr. Benedict Oramah, during the signing of $600 million Facility Deal between Afreximbank and Heirs Holdings Group to scale Heirs Holding’s Energy Investments in Africa…….. in Cairo, Egypt on Tuesday

African Export-Import Bank’s (Afrexim), has signed financing facilities totalling US$600 million with the Heirs Holdings Group, a pan-African proprietary investment holding company.


This is as a further demonstration of the African Export-Import Bank’s mandate to facilitate the growth of intra-Africa trade and support the development of African businesses,


Heirs Holdings has significant investments across Africa, in the financial services, resources, real estate and hospitality and power sectors.


The facilities will further support the Group’s power, oil and gas strategy, as it positions itself as an African leader in integrated natural resources.


The signing ceremony took place at the Afrexim Intra-Africa Trade Conference taking place in Cairo, Egypt.


The proceeds of the facilities will assist the Heirs Holdings Group vision of creating a dynamic resource based division, focused on ensuring value creation occurs on the African continent and that value chains are developed, that directly benefit the broader African economy and consumer.


Commenting at the ceremony, Dr. Benedict Oramah, President of Afrexim who signed on behalf of the Bank, stated that the investment by Heirs Holdings would play a key role in addressing some of the fundamental challenges that have affected the power and energy sectors in Africa. He stated that “A world class energy sector is fundamental to the sustainable growth of businesses in Africa. If we do not deal with these basic matters, growth of trade and exports will always be limited”.


Mr. Tony Elumelu, chairman of Heirs Holdings, commented that “We are delighted to be partnering with Afrexim. The Bank continues to play a critical role in the economic and social development of the continent. Together, we illustrate that Africa can create world class institutions, which are capable of successfully making the long-term investments necessary for Africa’s economic transformation and catalyse the enabling environment that will unleash Africa’s potential”.




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