NIICTE 2021: NCC EVC, Danbatta Conferred Man of the Year Award, As Pantami Bag Leadership Excellence Award, And Others

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…As Experts Advocates For The Right Application Of Emerging Technologies Towards Digital Transformation

The Executive Vice Chairman, Chief Executive of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has bagged the Nigerian Institute of ICT Engineers (NIICTE), “Man of the Year 2021” award that was held September 28-29, 2021.

The Nigerian Institute of ICT Engineers (NIICTE), two-day virtual and physical sessions of the 2021 International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Institute of ICT Engineers (NIICTE), a division of the Nigerian Institute of Engineers (NSE) attracted many dignitaries across the nation.

The Special Guest of Honour of the occasion and Man of the Year Award’s recipient, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta at the 2021 NIICTE International Conference and Exhibition said having successfully spearheaded the attainment and surpassing of Nigeria’s national Broadband target in 2018, the NCC is still leading the charge for the realisation of the new national Broadband target of 70 per cent by 2025.

Danbatta said the effective regulatory regime and various initiatives, his leadership has strengthened the role of telecommunications as a major contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and boosted telecoms investment inflows from an initial $36billion to over $70 since 2015, and active Mobile Telecoms Subscriptions, now estimated at 189million among others.

NCC EVC assured that the Commission is ready for the deployment of 5G networks for the digital transformation of the Nigerian economy by January 2022.

The President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), and Chairman of the occasion, Engr. Augustine K. Nwauiune, PhD, FNSE in his welcome address on the occasion with the theme, “The Place of ICT Engineers in the Digital Economy”, said it was a great pleasure playing host to the dignitaries present at the event.

Chairman of the occasion, Engr. A K Nwauiune, PhD, FNSE recalled the establishment of NIICTE when he disclosed that in February 2015, a group of corporate members of the NSE, also registered with the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), met and resolved to promote the creation of a specialized division of the NSE.

According to the Chairman of the 2021 International ICT Engineers Conference and Exhibition, the objective was to bring together all ICT Engineers practising in Nigeria.“This was aimed at further strengthening the study and practice of ICT Engineering in Nigeria, promoting welfare and motivation, and deepen the gains of the NSE,” he said.

Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, Minister for Communications and Digital Economy (MOC&DE), also the recipient of NIICTE’s 2021 “Leadership Excellence Award”, in his remarks stated the Ministry’s efforts through the associated agencies at advancing the digital transformation agenda for building the Nigerian digital economy.

The Minister said that with the support of President Muhammadu Buhari, his Ministry has been able to achieve a number of deliverables in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Telecoms ecosystem in the West African country.

According to Prof. Pantami, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Information Technology and Development Agency (NITDA), and other sister agencies under the MOC&CE have been able to attain the Right of Way (RoW) ‘at no cost’ to the telecoms network operators. He equally outlined other accomplishments to include the resignation of the Ministry as the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy in line with the realities of the modern global digital economy. The agencies under the Ministry, he stated, developed the National Policy for the adoption and deployment of the fifth-generation (5G) technology, leading to the recent approval of the policy by the country’s Federal Executive Council (FEC).

Pantami further disclosed that the MOC&CE has established Communication Centres across the six geopolitical zones, deepened the spirit of cooperation and partnership among the agencies under the Ministry, besides the creation of the Department of Digital Economy among others.

Mr Efosa V. Idehen, MNIM, Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) at the Commission, in his message from NCC at 2021 International ICT Engineers Conference and Exhibition of NIICTE on “Information and Education: Key to Consumer Protection”, discussed the various consumer-centric education and awareness initiatives of the Commission.

The CAB Director at NCC said the Nigerian telecoms consumers have the right to good quality of services from the operators.

Idehen described the Consumer Affairs Bureau of NCC “as one of the key departments of Commission created September 2001 by NCC and affirmed by the provisions in Chapter VII of Nigerian Communications Act (NCA 2003), in particular, Part I of the Chapter which deals with Consumer Protection and Quality of Service.”

As part of the regulator’s initiatives in this regard, the Consumer Protection and  Advocacy Unit is saddled with the responsibility of managing consumer complaints by providing access to dissatisfied telecom consumers across the country, he said.

The Bureau disclosed the NCC, in the Report on Consumer Complaint Management for the Year 2020, published June this year analyzed complaints received via the NCC Contact Centres, NCC Consumer Portal, NCC Facebook and Twitter accounts, and Written Complaints sent to CAB respectively.

“During the period under review, a total of 11,327 complaints were received via the NCC Contact Centres while 1,059 complaints were received by the Unit,” said the Commission on its corporate Web site.

He as well noted that the Commission has intensified efforts at sensitizing consumers on procedures of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) wasp, eradicating call masking and related issues for the purpose of national security. He also urged consumers to always refrain from buying pre-registered phone lines to not flout the Commission’s extant regulations.

Francis Enejo Idachaba, NNOM, OFR, Keynote Speaker at the event, a Professor of Communication Engineering, Covenant University, and Director of the Covenant University Open and Distance Learning Unit, gave an insightful address on how Nigeria can adopt emerging technologies for digital transformation.

Prof. Idachaba said the country’s level of preparedness for the imminent digital transformation in the economy and the overall benefits to Nigerians. Prof. Idachaba, who comprehensively did justice to the topic, “Building The Nigerian 4th IR (Industrial Revolution) Capacity Through Emerging Technologies For Digital Transformation”, said it is basically an ICT/IoT-driven IR 4.0 for the country.

The expert stated this concept involves the application of emerging technologies, as such Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things, sensor design, smart cities, smart factories, and the use of drones.

Idachaba has highlighted the evolution of the Industrial Revolutions, the 4th Industrial Revolution, and the necessary support technologies for the 4th IR, which he noted are largely driven by the Big Data analytics of telecommunications data, AI applications, drone technology, and their essential applications for the security of telecommunications infrastructure in the economy.

On how the country could really play in the league of economies utilizing the emerging technologies for national digital transformation, he said that building Nigeria’s 4th IR capacity certainly involves specific strategies and roles by the stakeholders.

According to Idachaba, these robust technologies have enabled economies around the world to boost production and more efficiency, and enhance the living standards of the consumers.

However, he urged the stakeholders as well to pay attention to the reported disadvantages of such IoT-oriented emerging technologies on the consumers. He said since these technologies are connected together, there are yet concerns over ownership/security of cloud computing, unauthorized access to consumers’ data in cyberspace, and the issue of cybersecurity.

Idachaba concluded that with the encryption of passwords, there is a security of data stored in the clouds.

Engr. Joseph. O. Emeshili, MNSE, Head of Head of Planning Unit of the Spectrum Administration Department at the NCC, in his keynote address as well explored the role of adopting innovative smart city applications for Broadband penetration in Nigeria. He noted out such areas include but are not limited to smart parking, smart grid, smart home, smart institutions, smart network management, and the like in the country’s drive towards digital transformation in the economy.

The experts present at the event also advocate for the right application of the emerging technologies towards digital transformation and building the national capacity for the attainment of Nigeria’s 4th Industrial Revolution (IR) to all stakeholders with the needed operational strategies.

The well-attended event also witnessed goodwill messages from top stakeholders, including HR. Engr. Otis T. Anyaeji, FNSE, FAEng, Traditional Head of Ubahu Okija, and President, West African Federation of Engineering Organisations; Vice-President, Federation of African Engineering Organisations, who received the Institute’s “Royal Eminence Award of Excellence”.


Speech culled from ConsumerConnect

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