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Reps Decry Neglect of Rural Telephony Facilities

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Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Rural Development in Ibadan expressed displeasure with the non-functional state of the rural telephony facilities across the country.

The committee led by its Chairman, Hon. Oladipo Adebutu (PDP- Ikenne/Shagamu/Remo North), had visited the rural telephony facilities in Oniyanrin and Isara-Remo in Oyo and Ogun States respectively.

Adebutu said that it was disheartening to see the rural telephony equipment worth $200million lying fallow in different parts of the country in the last 10 years.

“The Federal Government borrowed the sum of $200 million for the first phase of this programme and expended it on the purchase of equipment. Government has repaid the loan with interest.

“For the second phase, Nigeria has committed $35million and awaiting the counterpart funding from China to consummate this programme. It is sad that the project is still lying fallow in the last 10 years.

“Let me inform you that this project apart from its benefit to rural dwellers across the country can generate one million direct jobs.

“The programme still lies moribund. Now we are here to inspect the sites and the equipment available to ultimately find a way forward,’’ he said.

Also on the entourage were Hon. Temitope Olatoye (APC-Lagelu/Akinyele Federal Constituency), Hon. Maren Solomon Maren (Mangu-Bokkos Federal Constituency) and Hon. Akintayo Amere(Ayedire/Iwo/Olaoluwa Federal Constituency).

Solomon, Amere and Olatoye in separate interviews assured Nigerians that the house would ensure every step was taken to make the project a reality.

They all admitted that the project could provide millions of direct jobs and close to four million indirect jobs.

The National Rural Telephony Project (NRTP) was inaugurated in 2001 under the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

It was, however, suspended by the Federal Government in 2011 due to poor execution.

The first phase of the project was designed to cover 218 of the 774 local government areas of the country and was to provide over 636,256 Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) lines in all the council areas in the country.

This was with a view to having access to information communication technology (ICT) in order to bridge the digital divide.

The project was subdivided into three phases and was estimated to cost $200 million.

Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State had during the committee’s courtesy call on him described the state as very strategic to the rural telephony project.

Ajimobi said 70 percent of the state’s residents were rural dwellers, promising to give necessary support to the actualisation of the project.

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FG Authorizes the Establishment of ICT Academy in 6 Geopolitical Zones

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The Federal Government has approved the creation of ICT Academy in schools within the six geopolitical zones of the country to fast-track the innovations of students.

 

Malam Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education, said this at the inauguration of the UNITeS CISCO Internet of Things (IoT) Networking Academy at the Federal Government Girls College, Bwari on Friday.

 

Mr Sonny Echono, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, who represented the minister said as part of the initiative to fast-track ICT innovations among children, the gesture was apt as it would help transfer knowledge for the future endeavours of the students.

 

The IoT is the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as ‘connected devices’ and ‘smart devices’), building, and other items embedded with electronics, software and network connectivity.

 

It is an ever growing network of physical objects with IP address for internet connectivity, and communication that occurs between them and other internet-enabled devices.

 

Adamu said that the gesture was also aimed at promoting the development of ICT in education through transfer of knowledge.

 

“As part of the ministry’s initiative to develop talents, it has approved the establishment of UNITeS Cisco Academy in the six geo-political zones of the country.

 

“The facility would also be located at the Federal Government Girls College (FGGC), Bwari; Queens College, Lagos; Federal Government College (FGC), Enugu; FGC Bauchi; FGC Benin, and FGC Kano,” he said.

The minister said the initiative had also been approved in all federal unity colleges across the country.

 

He added that these centres would serve as a hub for open innovation to showcase talents and skills of the children.

 

He said it would also offer an infinite possibility for the children’s future endeavours.

 

He appealed to the students to begin to think of useful ways of engaging in internet productively rather than involving in criminal act through the internet.

 

He said that doing this would help the children use the technology to achieve the human development of the country.

 

Earlier, Mrs Stella Omu, Principal, FGGC Bwari, said the centre would afford the opportunity for young minds to become professionals outside their future choices of study.

 

She said that it would also leverage on the unique knowledge and experiences from IoT and getting connected to make lives better and society more developed.

 

Mr Toyin Olatayo, the Cisco Academy Support Contact, said the centre if properly harnessed, would transform the school into a smart school teaching and learning.

Olatayo stressed that the academy had made arrangement to establish the network of IoT innovation centres in secondary schools and universities across the country.

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Confirmed: Teleology is New Owner of 9Mobile

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Mr Boye Onasanya, chief executive officer of 9Mobile, has confirmed that Teleology Holding is the preferred buyer of the telecommunication company.

 

This came as Barclays Africa, the financial adviser handling the sale of 9mobile, also transmitted an official letter to Teleology Holdings Limited, confirming it as the preferred bidder in the sale of 9mobile.

 

According to Olusanya, Teleology Holdings emerged the best bidder in the sale process, while Smile Telecoms Holdings is considered as reserved bidder if Teleology reneges on its bid for the multimillion-dollar company.

 

In a communication with members of staff, Olusanya said its lenders, presumably Barclays Africa, will now engage Teleology to finalise negotiations on the sale of the company.

 

“In line with my previous communications on the bid process, discussions and negotiations have put the board in a position to name Teleology Holdings as the preferred bidder for our company,” Olusanya said in the memo.

 

“The lenders will now engage Teleology Holdings to conclude other aspects of the negotiation and I will continue to provide updates as and when the milestone occur.”

 

The letter also directed Teleology Holdings to make a non-refundable cash deposit of $50 million within 21 days from the date of the letter, dated February 21, 2018, or lose the bid to the reserve bidder, Smile Holdings Limited.

 

Also yesterday, THISDAY, citing a source at Barclays Africa, said Teleology Holdings Limited has got a letter that served as the official document for the conclusion of the sale of 9mobile.

 

Although it has been reported that Teleology had been selected as the preferred bidder, but such reports were based on speculations, as Teleology had not earlier received any official document from both Barclays and 9mobile, and not even from the telecommunications industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

 

NCC had on February 1, 2018, clarified that it was yet to receive any information from Barclays Africa and 9mobile concerning the sale of 9mobile, and dismissed as speculations and reports making the rounds then, that Teleology had emerged as the preferred bidder.

 

The official letter signed by Barclays and transmitted to Teleology Wednesday, has, therefore, finally confirmed Teleology as the preferred bidder.

 

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NCC, Others Laud Airtel 4G Launch

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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) and Senate Committee on Communications have commended Airtel Nigeria for launching its 4G LTE – aimed at providing fast and reliable internet for Nigerians.

 

Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, chairman of NCC, in his remark at a consumer launch event held recently in Ibadan, said Airtel’s upgrade and expansion to a 4G network in Ibadan will definitely improve telecommunications services and drive economic growth.

“NCC is happy to celebrate with Airtel on this milestone and on other efforts aimed at achieving robust and extensive network coverage in Nigeria. NCC has taken note of Airtel’s numerous giant strides towards the provision of good communication service – accelerating economic growth in our dear country,” he said.

 

Hon. Saheed Fijabi, Chairman, House Committee on Communications, National Assembly, commended Airtel for continuous innovation and commitment to improve telecommunication service in Nigeria. “Airtel has been one of the companies that have always been complying with local content. We believe Airtel has been doing well and we will continue to give them our support.”

 

Dr. Dan-Azumi Mohammed Ibrahim, director general, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) also applauded the telco for its customer-centric offering; describing the launch of its 4G LTE has a timely revolution.

 

Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo, deputy governor of Oyo State hailed Airtel for deploying 4G in Ibadan, saying that he is glad that Airtel Nigeria has chosen Ibadan to pioneer the launch of its revolutionary 4G service.

 

Segun Ogunsanya, chief executive officer & managing director of Airtel Nigeria, while speaking during the event, said with the 4G launch, Airtel will power people, businesses and cultural advancement through technology in Ibadan.

 

“Airtel 4G will help drive growth, spread prosperity and empower the highly enterprising people of Ibadan to fulfill their potentials and realize their dreams.

 

“Our commitment is to deliver 4G Service that works to Nigerians as we will dramatically improve mobile Internet experience for telecoms consumers across the country.

 

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