Issue #25   •   Quarter 3/4 Edition   •   December 2018

 

The Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) is a brainchild of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) with a clear mandate to train and prepare Nigerians for the challenges of the fast evolving digital economy. It sprouted from the stub of the old NITEL training school and it has developed into a knowledge island for the grooming and training of first-grade ICT nerds to fill the skills gap in the industry. In this interview with THE COMMUNICATOR, its Administrator, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, explains the transformations of the Institute into a world-class digital knowledge foundry.

Meet Muazu Adamu, a 27-year-old 2013 Political Science graduate of Kogi State University; an indigene of Kogi State and 2014 winner of Nescafe Get Started Africa Innovation Challenge. Muazu Adamu’s dream is to power Africa through his innovation; the Power Optimizer. He spoke to The Communicator on his dream and mission.

Conceiving the idea

Looking at the power challenge in Africa; basically Nigeria, the innovation is a power booster optimizer that helps boost the power of your generator so that you can use any high voltage electrical appliance in your home while the generator is on. The idea was conceived while in school because as students on campus when there was no electricity we couldn’t get our clothes ironed for lectures. The innovation has been up for over three years now but we’ve been putting it through tests to have it confirmed.

How it works

Once you put on your generator, you plug the extension to it and then the power optimizer is also plugged to the extension and then your appliance is connected to the power optimizer for use.

Managing your innovation before the Nescafe challenge

The first phase for us was to confirm the authenticity of the product by distributing it to neighbours for test run. Then I tried getting investors to come in. I was in the process when I got involved in Nescafe initiative. We had started reaching out to possible buyers and production on a low scale before I won the Nescafe Get Started Africa prize.

Prize money and your innovation

The money has helped me improve my device and increase production for more wholesale purchase. I have also been able to employ a few people which has gained for me more attention, and exposure to business management.

Would you have continued with your innovation if you hadn’t won the challenge?

I would have continued, though it would have been tough but I was determined to solve the problem. The challenge though was a big form of advertisement for us. It was an avenue for us to be known by a larger audience. The prize enabled us print fliers/ stickers to help us reach more business people to talk about the product, and rebrand our product.The competition has exposed me in the area of business management as I have been enrolled in a business training institute in Lagos.

Greatest motivation

The importance of this device to households has been my greatest motivation and the fact that if it is established on a larger scale, jobs will be created. But personally I don’t engage in what I don’t believe in and once I embark on a mission or project I ensure I give it my best.

Sources of funds before the challenge/vision for the project

Family members supported and are still supporting in many ways. I expect to get an absolute perfect device and an enlarged business in the next 5-10 years.

Empowering Africa

I see empowering Africa more possible for me at this current stage; more employment opportunities, innovation of other ideas and partnerships. I intend achieving all these in every way possible. I will not restrict myself to the power optimizer as I seek more opportunities and avenues to create wealth for Africans and Nigerians in particular. The success of my project will be a great source of inspiration to many African youths.

Greatest challenge faced by innovators in Africa

Platforms to support young innovators are mostly handled by unprofessional individuals who attach so much sentiment to giving assistance to innovators. ‘Godfatherism’ syndrome is also a problem. But I give my thumbs up to Nescafe Get Started Africa and Tony Elumelu Foundation where youths with great ideas now have a platform to be heard and supported.

The Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Tony Ojobo, has advocated for flexible and robust tax regime for operators of the nation’s Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector as a way of boosting growth and profitability.

Mr. Ojobo said this on the sideline at the recently held International Telecoms Union (ITU) Telecom World conference in Budapest, Hungary. He said: “unfriendly tax system is a disincentive to investment and so, if you have a friendly tax regime especially for investment, there will be no anxiety for investors and it will go a long way in creating jobs and also growing businesses.”

He said the commission has been working assiduously with various stakeholders in the country to make them understand the negative implications of multiple taxation on the inflow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in the nation’s telecoms sector.

“We are talking with Governors and other stakeholders to reach a common ground in the way telecoms taxes are imposed so that it does not hurt the government, the investors and the consumers. At the end of the day, we expect a win-win situation for all the stakeholders including the government because if we have more investments coming in, it will translate to more subscribers across all platforms namely voice, data and video and this will in the long run aggregate to more tax paid to government”, he said.

Business Education Examinations Council (BEEC) has congratulated the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on the recent platinum rating the regulatory body received from the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPRS).

In a letter signed by its President, Mike Okereke, the Council attributed the success to the leadership style of the commission’s Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta.

The Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, has said that the era of university graduates roaming the streets and looking for job after graduation would soon be over. He hinges his hope on the fact that the six new universities established by the Federal Government which will begin operations in September will focus on adding value to the current level and pace of economic development in Nigeria, diversifying our economy and positioning Nigeria as the leading light in ICT in Africa.

According to the minister, the universities will focus more on practical, hands-on education which will help students hone their skills and talents rather than on theoretical learning which does little to put student on good practical stead.

Following complaints by operators of interconnect clearing houses and Value Added Services licensees in the Nigeria telecoms industry over the huge indebtedness in their businesses the Nigerian Communications Commission says it has commenced the process for the introduction of a regulation to guide the activities of the VAS market which will substantially address the issues arising from VAS interconnect debt.

This was disclosed by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta at the Telecoms Executives and Regulators Forum held in Lagos.

The following staff of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, have been promoted from Deputy Director to Director.

They are:

  • Yetunde Akinloye
  • Abubakar K. Yakubu
  • Idehen V. Efosa
  • Felicia Onwuegbuchulam

while the following were promoted from Assistant Director to Deputy Director.

  • Adamu Amshi
  • Gwa T. Mohammed
  • Ogbonnaya N. Ugama
  • Olatokunbo Oyeleye

The Commission also announced the promotion of 20 Principal Managers to the rank of Assistant Director. They include;

  • Clement Omife
  • James Kalu
  • Babagana Digima
  • Adejoke Atte
  • Usman Mamman
  • Henry Ojiokpota
  • Mohammed Dari
  • Sunday Atu
  • Nnenna Ukoha
  • Beluchi Nwanisobi
  • Abubakar Maina
  • Emilia Nwokoro
  • Okechukwu Aninweke,
  • Rita Emeka-Nwachukwu
  • Oluyomi Arowasafe
  • Dr. Kafilu Danbatta
  • Venny Nwabufoh
  • Safiya Jijji
  • Chizua Whyte
  • Tanimu Bawa

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has given an insight into its regulation of OTT (over-the-top) services in the country. This was contained in a report by the Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis Department of the commission titled: An Overview of Provision Of Over-The-Top [OTT] Services.  

According to the report, the issuance of guidelines on International Gateway Access and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for the Nigerian Telecommunications Industry by the Nigerian Communications Commission is in line with one of its mandate of issuing communications licenses for the operation and provision of communication services, and to determine the eligibility criteria and other general terms and conditions of licenses.

“It is the expectation of the Commission that the networks of licensees operating under Full Gateway and International Data Access Licenses may convey data, voice and video signals either in their natural forms or in digitized formats. Operators of these gateways may also inter-work and exchange information by using appropriate protocol and signalling conversion devices. The IDA License is issued as a standalone license and is not be tied to any specific transmission medium for the purpose of conveying out-bound or in- bound traffic hence grants automatic authorization”.

The report further states, while this license is meant to cover provision of VoIP services, it does explicitly address the current challenges and threats pose by the growth and uptake of these services over the traditional telephone networks.

The commission in providing recommendations on the provision of OTT services across the country stated that:

  • The Commission should conduct a stakeholder’s consultative forum on the provision of over-the-top services in Nigeria to determine if regulation is required for such services and its impact on the growth of the Nigerian Telecoms industry.
  • Following the consultations, the Commission should review its Guidelines on the provision of International Gateway and Voice over Internet Service and also consider an appropriate Framework for Provision and Regulation of over-the-top services in the Nigerian Telecoms market.
  • The Commission must ensure that it does not stifle innovation since internet penetration is still evolving, access speeds are still low and there is limited coverage of high speed broadband in Nigeria.
  • The Commission should encourage network providers in Nigeria to innovate and explore more efficient business models that would enable them compete favorably with OTT service providers. Network providers can also take advantage of the internet protocol technology in the design for their network upgrades.  

Hon. Saheed Akinade-Fijabi (Chairman, House Committee on Telecommunications,) assures on legislative support for telecom stakeholders

Rating the Nigerian telecoms market

I think I’ll rate it well above average; it is an industry that is still growing. At least out of the GDP of Nigeria for the year, telecoms contributed 9 per cent which is an increase from last year and I think with the level of innovation in the industry there’s still room for improvement.

Now that we want the country to diversify, I think this is another sector we can look to, to create a lot of employment and other opportunities. Even in education, farming and the likes, telecom is needed. I can see the industry growing from where it is now to the highest point you can think of.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has again expressed worries over multiple taxations imposed on telecom service providers in Nigeria. According to the Commission, the service providers are suffering untold hardship in the country as a result of imposition of multiple taxes and levies.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, said this in his message at the Special Day of the Commission at the 27th Enugu International Trade Fair.

"Apart from the taxes and levies, the service providers are further burdened with regulations that restrict right of way to deploy or expand services. Even when the service providers are willing to make services available, we as members of government at various levels and communities put bottlenecks on their way".

The EVC who was represented by the Director Public Affairs of the Commission, Mr Tony Ojobo, said that, for the service providers to make services available to consumers, they have to build base stations, masts and towers, which are some of challenges they are faced with.

The NCC boss said that the Commission had continued to engage states in the South-East to discourage multiple taxations and regulations.

Danbatta expressed regrets that vandalisation of telecom infrastructure was very high in the South-East of the country which also contributes to the challenges faced by service providers.

He explained that MTN was fined because of failure to register some SIM cards, pointing out that it was not a punitive measure but a way to reduce rate of crimes, like kidnapping and armed robbery.

In his speech, the President of the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Rev. Ugochukwu Chime, commended NCC for its regular participation at the fair.

Chime explained that the role of NCC as a regulatory agency was to ensure best practices, efficient and effective service delivery by operators in the sector.

He urged NCC to do more, especially in regulating operators in the sector and protecting vulnerable customers.

(NAN)


Honourable Minister of Communication Technology
Barrister Adebayo Shittu

Given the pace Nigeria’s ICT sector is growing and in view of the prevailing potentials, the Federal Government is targeting additional Foreign Direct Investment in the sector in excess of N4trillion ($15billion). Speaking at the maiden edition of the communications sector retreat for all ICT stakeholders in Ibadan, the Minister of Communications Technology, Adebayo Shittu said the plan for such investment was an outcome of his recent trip to China where he held discussions with Chinese investors. The investment, he said, would further open and deepen the sector to automatically become the beautiful bride thereby accelerating its contribution to the nation’s GDP. Investment in the telecoms sector alone currently tops $32 billion.

The minister identified five steps to achieving digital economy. They are building on ICT sector growth, policy on innovative continuity, migration to a digitally smart Nigeria, increasing revenue and reducing waste as well as smart government to deliver ICT and broadband penetration. He added that the first step to addressing this is to reduce both the public and private infrastructure deficit in Nigeria’s ICT sector for substantial improvement in quality of service.

“Inadequate ICT infrastructure is the bane of ICT development in the country and a leading cause of quality of service deficiencies. From broadband penetration to last mile fibre optic connectivity, this infrastructure deficit is preventing all Nigerians from gaining affordable and reliable access. Lack of affordability, due in part, to the proliferation of taxes, fees, levies and associated costs further inhibits investment in infrastructure required to support and grow our boisterous ICT market”, he said.

The minister said that Nigeria has a lot to learn from Rwanda, despite its size (12 million population). “As the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria is already a regional hub for West African countries. We must now become the preferred destination for vendors to set up operations that cover the entire West African sub region. This will provide opportunities for the country to act as a supply hub for training, skills transfer, technology leadership and investment.

“We as a government will offer every support to ensure that our local ICT firms (service providers and manufacturers) have a qualitative competitive advantage over others. We need to work together to seize this window of opportunity to deliver the potential this sector promises by agreeing on and implementing a roadmap. If we do so, Nigeria’s Information and Communications Technology sector will attract international investors”, he said.

"No matter the criticisms of public office holders, there are still role models". With these opening remarks, the 51-member countries African Students Union Parliament (ASUP) recently honoured the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Dr. Eugene Ikemefuna Juwah with the Pan-African Servant Leadership Award for his hard work and dedication to national service.

The event which took place in Abuja was described by the students who were led by the Speaker of the Parliament, Mr Larota Chekibe (University Du Kokodi, Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire), Mr. Abotik Kwame Paul (University of Ghana, Legon), Mr Nse Udoh Donald (Nasarawa State University, Keffi), Miss Oyewoga Bilikis (Federal University of Technology, Minna), Mr. Nwankwo Henry Nkem (Nassarawa State University, Keffi) and Miss Titana Angel Ngume (University of Duala, Cameroun) as one of its finest moments.

The speaker who made the presentation on behalf of his colleagues, spoke in French, saying the Parliament took time to scrutinize Juwah who has committed himself to service for the common good of the people in accordance with the Pan-African Ideology by using his good office as CEO of NCC to implement policies that have;

  • Provided a level playing field for telecom providers in Nigeria;
  • Made the telecom industry in Nigeria one of the best in Africa and around the world;
  • Protected the consumers without compromising the rights and interests of service providers; and
  • Protected and promoted the interests of consumers against unfair practices such as tariff among others.

The Speaker said the youths and students of Africa wish to humbly request that the "brains here in NCC shouldn’t channel their intellectual ability and effort towards the development of the telecoms industry in Nigeria alone, but should extend same to other African countries through exchange programmes and regional conferences because the challenges facing the continent are similar and for us to build the Africa of our collective dreams, we must learn to imbibe and embrace the Pan-African ideology if we view our challenges as the same".

The Speaker said the youths need role models whose dedication to duty is exemplary, and Juwah fits perfectly into this bill. "All men were born equal but destiny makes the difference. While some privileged few bask in the euphoria of contentment and hedonism, rare kinds like Juwah have chosen a path that mitigate the adverse effect of the economic imbalance, astute dedication to effective service delivery and Spartan Patriotism".

Describing Juwah as "detribalised Nigerian, lover of students/youths, a charismatic personality with credible credentials of efficient service delivery, high administrative acumen, financial prudence and community service", the students said "these are unsung realities that mark him as an iconic patriot in our African Society worthy of emulation".

The students recalled that the decision to name Juwah for this award was applauded by all the members of Parliament at a conference held at the University of Livingstonia, Malawi.

Receiving the award, a visibly touched Juwah, said "this award has raised the stakes for higher commitment and dedication to service delivery in our usual transparent and robust regulation of the telecoms sector in Nigeria".

Juwah who received the award in the presence of NCC Director, Human Capital and infrastructure Group, Mr. Fidelis Onah, Director, Finance Services, Mrs Abigail Sholanke, Director, Policy Competition and Economic Analysis, Ms Josephine Amuwa, Head, Public Relations, Mr. Reuben Muoka, Special Assistant (Media) to the EVC, Mr. Okoh Aihe and Head, Media Management, Mr Sonny Aragba-Akpore among others told the students that in 2014 alone, "We at the Commission also went out of our way to intervene in spreading digital penetration in Nigeria which is our core mandate. I am happy you mentioned scholarships to students because last year alone the Commission expended the sum of N1bn (One Billion Naira) for various projects in Nigerian Universities and Secondary Schools through the provision of laptops, desktops, digital content as well as internet access".

"This year, we shall empower a number of Universities and Polytechnics with 1000 tablets each as learning tools so that when the students graduate, they will be digitally empowered to excel anywhere in the world.

The Commission is among other things mandated to ensure tariffs are fair as well as ensure the consumers benefit from the quality of services put out by operators.

The Commission has also been a major contributor to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) through extended intervention and aiding the Federal Government to increase funding to Universities.

USPF has also intervened by linking up university campuses with fibre so that modern teaching methods will be brought into our universities.

"Within our mandate, we have assisted the youth to achieve digital education lifestyle and they now have educational experience".

The EVC in his closing remarks said he was impressed by the level of spread of the Parliament and said he was humbled and excited to do more by this award.

edit-003-politicsArmed with documents including correspondences between it and political parties, letters to GSM operators and Value Added Service (VAS) providers, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has come out strongly to fault the claims of Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola that it deliberately banned the All Progressives Congress, APC, from using telecommunications service providers’ networks to raise money for the campaign of its presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammed Buhari. The commission said that Fashola has enjoyed such service in 2011 which he got through due process.

Spokesman for the commission, Tony Ojobo, displayed a letter from the NCC dated February 17, 2011 and addressed to Awareness Connect Limited, a VAS operator acting on behalf of Fashola. The VAS operator had applied for permission to use a short code for Fashola’s campaign in a letter dated February 15, 2011. That request was expeditiously granted.

According to the NCC, the ban came as a result of the APC breaching the commission’s laid down rules and regulations. Ojobo, in a press briefing clarified that there are stipulated rules and regulations for allocating short codes to VAS providers Such code, he stressed, must be used solely for the purpose intended as contained in its guidelines.

This according to the NCC was totally ignored by the APC Fund raising platform initiators. Ojobo said section 3 of the commission’s guideline provides that “ the commission shall receive written notification from the licensees for all advertisements for goods and services within the a minimum of seven (7) days of the proposed or planned publication of an advertisement, in order to ensure such advertisements meet the following minimum standards and requirements.”

The commission however said it has no problems with any political platform using the short code services for whatever purpose, but its challenge is with the telecommunication networks that flaunted it regulations which states that: “Network operators and content aggregators will be primarily responsible for the contravention of any of the provision of these Guidelines and will face appropriate sanctions where applicable.

“Network operators and content aggregators must ensure that service providers give the highest level of service to the consumer and those consumers: “A. Have sufficient information to enable them make informed decisions about using Short Codes.” To this, the NCC said it will deal appropriately with defaulting networks. Ojobo did not fail to mention that the mobile Fund raising platforms are not new especially to the APC and PDP alike, since the governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola, who is the APC campaign funds director, is familiar with the process of acquiring short codes.

“You are allowed to raise money, but you must conform to the rules of NCC. We didn’t make these rules looking at elections. We made these rules for the interest of development of telecommunications in Nigeria and we would keep those rules whether there are elections or not.” Ojobo reiterated.

In a letter dated Thursday, February 17, 2011, with the title “SHORT CODE ALLOCATION (35815)” the commission approved the same code despite the fact that there were no concrete existing regulations to back it. “the commission is currently in the process of developing regulatory guidelines for the operations and administration of short code in Nigeria, however, in the commissions spirit of supporting innovations and development in the telecommunications industry, we wish to inform you that you may temporarily use the short code 35815 for a maximum period of 90 days with effect from the date on this letter. Please note that this code must be used solely for the purpose of creating awareness and support for governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state campaign platform for April 2011 campaign as stated in your request.

“Please note that the commission reserves the right to withdraw this resource when necessary,” the letter read. The commission said the ban was not instigated by the government as it is been reported, but that it has continued to maintain a responsible independent regulatory agency and its independence has never been in doubt and that it remains non-partisan to any political party. Ojobo said the NCC is ready to lift the ban as long as the due process is followed strictly.

To buttress the level of fairness of the commission, Ojobo produced a letter which conveyed approval of the short code to Fashola through an agency for the same purpose during the 2011 election. Ojobo explained that in the case of the 2015 election, the VAS operator that the APC used did not apply and hence was not issued a short code for the purpose of raising funds. The Commission blamed the VAS operator for engaging in illegality and urged Fashola and other politicians to ensure that the VAS operators they intend to use are legally empowered by NCC to undertake such service with a duly signed approval letter.

INNOVATION THROUGH BROADBAND

We, the delegates at the 11th Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) Annual Forum held in Abuja, Nigeria on 7th-8th October, 2013 on the theme of Innovation through Broadband,

  • Conscious of the need to ensure ubiquitous and safe access to internet for all;
  • Aware of the advances in Broadband globally and the benefits it has brought to people and communities;
  • Also concerned with the persisting wide gaps in global broadband affordability;
  • Recognizing that universal affordable broadband access will be best achieved through forward looking policies, facilitating regulations and innovative partnerships;

Resolve to;

  1. Further develop, adopt and implement policies, and establish regulatory environments that encourage investments in affordable, safe and equitable broadband;
  2. Promote local initiatives and innovation to advance entrepreneurship;
  3. Commit to work with regional and international organizations to ensure continued harmonization of national regulatory frameworks;
  4. Facilitate research for solutions and applications on the adoption and use of the internet to unleash the transformational power of Broadband;
  5. Create particular Broadband services and applications for women in order to bridge the gender gap;
  6. Actively promote the use of specific Broadband services and applications to support youth.

Following a Direction to the telecommunications service providers in the country, the operators, with effect from July 1, 2016, activated the DO NOT DISTURB facility which gives subscribers the freedom to choose what messages to receive from the various networks. With this Direction the operators have been mandated to dedicate a common Short Code (2442) which will enable subscribers take informed decisions.

Mr. Tony Ojobo, Director of Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in a statement, said this action was taken in order to protect subscribers from the nuisance of unsolicited texts, and therefore a direct regulatory response to the yearnings of the subscribers. By this action, he explained, the Commission has invoked a regulatory provision which had hitherto been overlooked by the operators.

Taking cognizance of the broad range of services which include: Banking/Insurance/ Financial Products, Real Estate, Education, Health, Consumer Goods and Automobiles, Communication/ Broadcasting/ Entertainment/ IT, Tourism and leisure, Sports, Religion(Christianity, Islam, others), the Commission directed the operators to give the necessary instructions and clarifications that will enable subscribers subscribe to a particular service/services /none at all. In fact, a Full DND which is SMS “STOP” to 2442 does not allow the subscriber to receive any unsolicited message from the operators at all.

Below are the various options;

  • “SMS 1” for receiving SMS relating to Banking? Insurance/ Financial products to 2442
  • “SMS 2” for receiving |SMS relating to real Estate to 2442
  • “SMS 3” for receiving SMS relating to Education to 2442
  • “SMS 4” for receiving SMS relating to Health to 2442
  • “SMS 5” for receiving SMS relating to Consumer goods and Automobiles to 2442”
  • “SMS 6” for receiving SMS relating to Communication/ Broadcasting Entertainment/IT to 2442
  • “SMS 7” for receiving SMS relating to Tourism and leisure to 2442
  • “SMS 8” for receiving SMS relating to Sports to 2442
  • “SMS 9” for receiving SMS relating to Religion to 2442

Mr. Tony Ojobo highlighted that the decision of the Commission does not affect personal messages or person to person messages which are private communication by individuals. He urged the operators to comply immediately with the Direction issued by the Commission and never again harass subscribers with unwanted messages.

 

Data availability through robust broadband is a key element to building a digital economy, says Director Public Affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo

He stated this in a keynote address he delivered at a critical segment of the 2017 Digital PayEXPO in Lagos tagged DATA FIESTA.

The segment which came up for the first time at the 17-year-old event, was to demonstrate the importance of data and broadband infrastructure in the implementation of smart payment systems in the country.

One area that data availability and ease-of-access has played major role is e-commerce. He noted the significance of the value of data with regard to e-commerce explains the massive sales by Nigerian-based online malls such as Yudala, Jumia and Konga among others.

As part of efforts to ensure that Nigerian telecom consumers get value for their money, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has advised telecoms service providers to improve the quality of their services dished out to consumers. The Commission says it stands with consumers in their demand for better quality of service.

The regulatory agency said it is aware of the challenges being faced by Nigerians in telecom sector, warning that it will not hesitate to impose stiffer sanctions against operators cheating the system through poor network and arbitrary charges .

The NCC Director in charge of Consumer Affairs Bureau, Alhaji Abdullahi Maikano, made the statement in Oye, Ekiti State, recently, during a Consumer Town Hall meeting, where issues bordering on ‘Information and Education as a Catalyst for Consumer Protection’ were discussed.

In keeping with its Corporate Governance Code which has become fully active for the telecom industry, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it is regularly conducting health-checks on the financial wellness of all telecommunication companies in the country. The measure is to avert a recurrence of the kind of financial storm that rocked the Etisalat which forced the exit of its UAE component.

In an interview with Bloomberg, the CEO and Executive Vice-Chairman of the NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, said the commission is assessing the health of MTN Nigeria, Bharti Airtel and Globacom to ensure that they all do not fall into the same pit.  And if they have “issues that can be addressed”, we will try and resolve them.

2013q4-editorials CATCO logoAfrican Telecommunication Regulators and other key industry stakeholders, among them telecommunication consumers, legislators, operators, for the first time met in Lagos, Nigeria on October 17-18 2013 to discuss ways of “Harnessing Regulatory Policies to Protect Telecom Consumers in Africa;” being the Theme of the Conference.

The Conference was held under the auspices of the Consumer Affairs Bureau of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) which hosted it.

It drew participants from over 15 African countries including Angola, Niger, Uganda, Sudan, Liberia, Malawi, Rwanda, Ghana, South Africa, Cameroun, Benin Republic and Nigeria, the host country, and African Telecommunications Union who provided varying and fresh perspectives to issues affecting telecommunication service delivery to consumers across Africa.

The conference noted that:

  • Deregulation of the telecoms industry has dismantled the monopoly structure and its attendant bottlenecks associated with customers’ frustrations and enhanced competitiveness among operators thus increasing value propositions for the customers.
  • Despite the laudable achievements in the telecoms industry across Africa, the challenges faced by consumers include Quality of Service (QoS), billing, adequate education on services, consumer and issues pertaining to seeking redress
  • The scope and complexity of telecom regulatory activities on the continent has not only shifted from licensing to consumer obligations, it has also increased in dimension and quantum.
  • Convergence and emerging technologies have placed new challenges before African regulators, made regulation more complex and has brought about the need for converged regulation
  • Multiple- taxations and multiple-regulations are major challenges in most African countries as they inhibit both operators ability to meet service obligations and full experience of consumers through service affordability and availability
  • In the telecoms space everyone is a stakeholder and the impact of the transformation in the industry has rubbed off in every sphere of lives of the people and also led to increased teledensity such that un-served and underserved areas in the continent are increasingly experiencing service provisioning.
  • The trajectory for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the telecoms industry is upwards, leading to exponential economic growth which has been manifested in direct and indirect jobs creation across the continent.
  • Countries on the continent have experienced general and peculiar challenges based on the culture, values, market principles, business model as well as laws and regulations specific to each regulatory jurisdiction.
  • There is need for a sustainable and veritable platform for regulators on the continent to engage in peer review mechanism that will give them ample opportunity to critically focus on the consumer interests in the different climes.
  • In order to deepen telecommunications services, regulators need to be responsive to the needs of the telecoms environment by being proactive. A number of regulatory initiatives such as the ones undertaken by the Nigerian regulators are germane including:
    1. The need for collaboration among other regulatory bodies in order to harmonise the existing policies in such a way that consumer interest is ultimately protected from multi taxation and multi-regulations.
    2. A strong need to establish compliant resolution mechanism that can effectively address challenges between the service providers and consumers as well as issues arising between operators that could impact on the quality of service delivery to the consumers.
  • Consumer is always King and pivotal to the growth of the telecoms industry, as such must be protected
  • With the frequent changes in the technology space and the need for the stakeholders to catch up with the evolving trends in the technology space, there is strong emphasis on regulators to focus on trainings and developmental plans
  • The regulatory issues concerning land locked states should be given urgent review in order to make such states benefit from the experiences of other African countries.
  • Despite the glut of undersea cable into some African nations, only single points of landing have been prevalent in most countries. There is a need for landing points to be diversified to other states for redundancy sake.
  • African regulators should come up with robust broadband model for national and regional strategies that would ensure strategic deployment and collaboration across the regions
  • Stakeholders across Africa need to work assiduously in collaboration to consummate on roaming agreements that will facilitate lower costs of service delivery to the people on the continent.
  • African regulators are encouraged to come together under a common platform to fine tune the standards, processes and procedures for dealing with regulatory issues on the continent
  • African Telecommunications Union should take over the conference and make it a fully continental affair, thereby rotating it among African countries, based on request by interested countries to host.
  • Universal Service Provision Funds (USPFs) play key roles in driving access to the underserved and the un-served.
  • There is need for comprehensive legislations to cater for the needs of physically challenged and people with special needs as equal stakeholders and consumers of telecom services on the continent
  • The Nigerian regulator, NCC, was commended for its exemplary role in telecommunication regulation in Africa
  • The near death of CDMA operation in some African countries is due to multiple regulation and taxation

The Delegates thus resolved:

  • To advocate for service neutral licensing that will enable an operator provide telephony, Internet and broadcast services on a single license in the converged ecosystem.
  • That telecoms infrastructure should be declared as critical national infrastructure and calls on legislators to pass enabling laws.
  • To canvass for a single regional license that will enable an operator in a particular country to operate in any other country within a region once it has a valid operating license from one of the countries in the region.
  • To push for equitable access to undersea cable by nations in the continent, particularly the land locked nations on the continent who by reasons of geographical location do not have direct access to the undersea cables
  • To encourage regional bodies including national and regional regulators, ATU, African Union Commission, Regional Economic Communities, States Policy Makers to work together to achieve harmonised regulatory document,
  • To continuously collaborate to ensure that regulators give priority to protecting consumers of ICT services; and to work with the ATU so as to provide the framework for regulators and all other stakeholders to advance consumers’ interest
  • That the first Conference of African Telecom Regulators is one good example of the collective efforts by Africans to establish unity, solidarity, collective self-reliance amongst African countries in building on the principle of pan-Africanism within the ICT space for Consumers
  • That effective regulatory framework must have the following key features i.e. independent power of the regulatory authority, decision and rule-making power, accountability, consumer protection, dispute resolution and enforcement powers.
  • That International and Regional Mobile Roaming Services can be best resolved through transnational cooperation between African governments and providers through appropriate bilateral, regional and/or international agreements.
  • To ensure that regulators ceaselessly motivate, sustain and improve competition within their jurisdictions using tools such as MNP and Determination of Dominance in the market-space.
  • That spectrum is universally recognised as a scarce resource and it is evidently being underutilised on the continent, and since spectrum is also borderless, therefore African countries must co-operate in this area to ensure that the dividends of the digital age is available to citizens
  • To encourage balanced regulation in order for citizens to enjoy the benefits of the New Media, and authorities should adopt suitable regulatory tools in response to new trends in the industry and the growing need for consumer protection.
  • As a result of the increasing challenges of cyber security and e-commerce, authorities must come up with regulation that must protect operator systems and information from cyber-attacks and cybercrimes.
  • To enjoin African states to enact legislation to protect minors and other vulnerable people within the society from cybercrimes, pornography and other illicit activities perpetuated over the internet.
  • That regional commitment is critical to liberalization and harmonization of regulatory frameworks; and collaboration across the region will also ensure uniformity of standards which will reduce transaction costs, enhance demand and competition.
  • That technology cannot be regulated, rather regulators should find efficient ways of regulating the services being proferred by technology.
  • The 2nd Conference of African Telecom Regulators on Consumer Affairs will be announced and made known to delegates later.

by Clement Inyambe (CP&S)

PART 1
Introduction

solar-panel-mastOne of the greatest challenges of the Nigerian telecoms industry is the high cost of energy. Electric power is considered a major driver of economic development growth, and has remained in the front burner of all government initiatives. The seven point agenda of the Yar’Adua’s government and the vision 20:02:20 all made copious references to the need to guarantee adequate, sustained and steady power supply. A target generation of 6000 megawatt was set to be attained in 2009 and 10000 in 2010, but all of these failed to materialize.

While the government is making frantic effort in fixing the problem of the power sector, almost all business organizations have had to depend on alternative sources to meet their power needs. From inception, all the telecom operators depend largely on generators to power their Base Transceiver Stations (BTS), a situation that has increased significantly their capital expenditures (CAPEX) and operating expenditures (OPEX).

Culled from cnn.com September 14, 2012
By Tolu Ogunlesi, Special to CNN and Stephanie Busari, CNN

broadband-picA little over a decade ago there were about 100,000 phone lines in Nigeria, mostly landlines run by the state-owned telecoms behemoth, NITEL. Today NITEL is dead, and Nigeria has close to 100 million mobile phone lines, making it Africa's largest telecoms market, according to statistics by the Nigerian Communications Commission. Across the rest of the continent the trends are similar: between 2000 and 2010, Kenyan mobile phone firm Safaricom saw its subscriber base increase in excess of 500-fold. In 2010 alone the number of mobile phone users in Rwanda grew by 50%, figures from the country's regulatory agency show.

During the early years of mobile in Africa, the Short Messaging Service (SMS) was at the heart of the revolution. Today the next frontier for mobile use in Africa is the internet. "Mobile is fast becoming the PC of Africa," says Osibo Imhoitsike, market coordinator for Sub-Saharan Africa at Norwegian firm Opera, whose mobile browser is enjoying an impressive uptake on the continent. "In fact there isn't really anything more personal than a mobile phone nowadays. "Last October, for the first time ever, the number of Nigerians accessing the internet via their mobiles surpassed the number of desktop internet users, figures from Statcounter show. The trend has continued since then. Most of those devices will be low-end Nokia phones, tens of millions of which have already been sold on the continent. The more expensive "smart phones" are however also increasing in popularity, as prices drop. Blackberry's market share has been rising in the developing world, bucking the trend in Europe and North America.

Google, for its part, plans to sell 200 million of its Android phones in Africa andit is estimated that by 2016 there will be a billion mobile phones on the continent. In 2007, President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, said: "In 10 short years, what was once an object of luxury and privilege, the mobile phone, has become a basic necessity in Africa."

critical national infrastructureThe Federal Government of Nigeria recently sponsored a bill before the National Assembly which when passed into Law would ensure that Telecoms Infrastructure all around the country is protected and identified as an important national asset. Some of the challenges facing the industry in the country include: Man-made national disasters, criminal vandalism of infrastructure, theft & digging up of cables for sale in the black market or for other purposes, destruction of telecom facilities due to road construction, community interference and oversight functions from other governmental agencies.

In the USA and the EU, Telecommunications infrastructure is covered by Acts because of the important role the ICT industry plays in National Security and the Economy as a whole, which is why this bill before the National Assembly is very important and needs to be signed into Law as soon as possible.

Critical Infrastructure Protection in the USA has been in place since 1996. The Patriot Act of 2001 defines Critical Infrastructure as those systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of these matters. (Wikipedia)

The NCC on its own part has been making use of various avenues such as the Consumer Outreach Programme (COP), Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) as well its most recent project, a TV programme entitled “Telecom Today” to educate Nigerians as well as to create awareness about the dangers associated with vandalism of Telecom infrastructure and this is due to the fact that without these infrastructures there will be no telecom services.

In Nigeria, the systems and structures that make up these infrastructures are often taken for granted to the point that certain state governments and government agencies move in with their agents to shut down BTS sites thereby causing disruptions to network services and in the process affecting Quality of Service (QoS) delivery in areas linked with those masts.

Cases of vandalism by criminals and terrorists as well as denial of access to overhaul or upgrade BTS sites by local residents demanding levies, have had dire consequences on the industry, affecting other sectors like banking & finance, emergency services, air traffic controls and local businesses.

There is no area in the Nigerian society that can be productive or perform optimally without telecoms services either directly or indirectly and it is our duty as Nigerians to protect these infrastructures if this nation is to make progress and compete with first world countries.

The Commission, Ministry of Communication Technology and Telecom Operators are working together to achieve the goal of ensuring the Telecoms Industry is well managed and our telecoms infrastructure remain secure and resilient. The Critical Infrastructure Protection bill when passed into law in Nigeria will recognize Telecoms infrastructure as critical to national and economic security of the country as well as its citizens and this will make the destruction or theft of telecom facilities a criminal offence.

With investments in the fast-growing Nigerian telecommunications sector standing at $68b as at July, 2016, the highest by volume in Africa, Nigeria by the rating of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) must be doing many things right. The catalysts for such phenomenal growth are hinged on regulatory excellence and strict adherence to global best practices.

In recent years, Nigeria has remained on the cutting edge of world telecoms as one of the markets with the highest returns on investments. The fact that out of this figure, $35b comes from Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) fittingly illustrates the global confidence on the market.

Hamadoun Toure, who as keynote speaker at the Nigerian Telecoms Investment Forum at the ITU Telecom World 2016, Bangkok, Thailand said these figures recorded so far in Nigeria point to the fact that “the country is certainly a preferred destination for telecommunications investors in Africa”.

by Emeka Mojekwu (Consumer Affairs)

mastsFollowing the liberalization of telecoms sector in Nigeria and the successful auction of GSM licenses in 2001, it was observed by mobile operators that the existing infrastructure in the country could not support their operations. When compared with other countries, it was observed that Nigeria lacked the necessary infrastructure required for the deployment of telecommunications services. Operators therefore embarked on the accelerated roll-out of core telecoms network which comprised of the infrastructure needed to support their operations in the country.

It is also worthy of note that, with just over 15,000 base station sites currently on ground to service a population of over 160 million people, there is still not enough telephony towers and masts sufficient to meet Nigeria's communication needs. It is pertinent to note that network service cannot be provided in an area if telecommunications infrastructure (Mast) isn't located in that area or at least within its proximity. NCC has however taken laudable steps to ensure that telecom Consumers are adequately provided for especially with regards to erection of telecom masts and health hazards involved below are some of the challenges faced in the telecom industry:

edit-002-mainone-ihs

It is official. The winners for the advertised bid for licensing of Infracos have emerged, with MainOne Cable winning for the Lagos area and IHS grabbing the licence for the North Central. This was disclosed recently in Lagos by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah at the 4th ICT Industry Stakeholders Forum. Juwah said the NCC is currently working out the details of the issuance and that the winners would get their letters to that effect shortly.

The choice of MainOne and IHS seems to sit well with industry watchers as it was welcomed with an applause from a cross section of the stakeholders. Both are major players in the provision of infrastructure in the nation’s telecom industry.

Licensing of Infracos (telecom companies that would provide infrastructure) is a major precursor to the soon-to-evolve broadband revolution in the country. The commission had initiated a broadband plan which was later adopted as a national broadband roadmap endorsed by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Nigeria has done very well in voice telephony, ranking as one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world. Indeed, Nigeria was at a time adjudged by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as the fastest growing mobile market for five consecutive years. The ubiquitous deployment of broadband will not only crash cost of telecom services, it will improve massively the quality of service for voice, video and data transmission.

In an earlier interview with The Communicator, Juwah had explained his unflinching commitment to broadband thus: “To give effect to the broadband initiative, the NCC adopted the Open Access model for broadband deployment and rollout. According to Juwah, “the model is the leading model in the world, it encompasses the good things about access. It encompasses sharing of infrastructure, sharing of ownership. It encompasses competition because it structures the industry into primarily two layers; the wholesalers and retailers. If you're a wholesaler you cannot do retail. But most importantly it provides open access to everybody at the same conditions, so whether you're the biggest or smallest, you all have access to infrastructure. In Nigeria we've added one more; we said that all this environment is going to be regulated price-wise by the regulator. These make sure that our teeming publics get broadband at value for money.

“Right from the time I came into the communications industry I saw that the trend is changing from voice to data and data in the good form must be broadband. That's why you have good internet, good video service and a plethora of services coming out of broadband. Apart from that, broadband is a development product, a product that is capable of increasing the GDP of Nigeria, it is also capable of taking Nigeria into the knowledge-based economy that the world is pursuing, it is a product that is capable of increasing the efficiency of our younger generation; this is how we see broadband, and we see that it something that we have to do for Nigeria to enter the 21st century properly, and if we don’t do it then we've failed. We've taken the issue of increasing broadband penetration as a priority. To start off that program is not easy; you first of all have to convince the in-house people and the government that this is important and they have to support you. You have to tell the international audience what you want to do so that they'll get interested because you depend on them to bring in investment.

“It took some time for this ground work to be done, but we've started with a publication of our bid for the licensing of Infracos which is actually the major foundation of our broadband intervention. I can tell you that the response is quite interesting; response from inside and outside the country. I can tell you that the International Finance Corporation, IFC has endorsed it, they're supporting us and even helping us source for international investors. What we've done has not been in vain so we're keenly waiting for all these bids to come in and see the result of what we've done”.

The announcement of other winners for the other zones will come very soon, a top NCC source told our correspondent.

August 2017 makes it precisely 16 years since the Global System for Mobile, GSM, genre of communication was introduced into the Nigerian market. GSM in itself is not a new technology. It debuted in 1982 as a pan-European communication technology and had since spread beyond the frontiers of Europe to other jurisdictions including Africa. Nigeria, therefore, came late to the party.

The good news, however, is that though a late entrant into the GSM market, Nigeria has outpaced many countries across the globe in terms of market size and telephone penetration. The first GSM service rolled out in August 2001 following a successful Digital Mobile Licence, DML, auction conducted in January of the same year by the nation’s telecom regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC. That auction, the first in Africa, was adjudged transparent and world-class by both the World Bank and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The NCC had placed the asking price for each licence at a conservative $100 million. But at the end of the auction, each licensee paid as high as $285 million.

That exercise spurred what is today called ‘telecom revolution’. And it is a revolution when we compare certain indices. Prior to 2001, Nigeria could only boast of about 425,000 phone lines, mostly analogue. The country was then ranked among Afghanistan and other war-ravaged and economically strangled nations in terms of telecom development. Within the past 16 years, the number of active phone lines in the country has risen to over 150 million.

digital-graphThe above, in a nutshell, was how participants at the recent Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation (CTO) Broadband forum held in Abuja described the Nigerian broadband market. It was hosted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Nigeria is not only Africa’s largest economy, it is also Africa’s largest market. It is on record that Nigeria was ranked the fastest growing mobile market in the world for five consecutive years, a demonstration of the limitless capacity of its market. The NCC has effectively leveraged on this and has readied the market for the inevitable broadband revolution.

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah who was represented by Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management, Dr. Okechukwu Itanyi, noted that “the catalytic role and contribution of broadband services to an economy is well documented. Some of these are its positive impact on education delivery, health care provision, energy management, security, and information dissemination. For Nigeria, the lack of a robust fixed network infrastructure and the need to rapidly develop the infrastructure to provide universal broadband services required a coordinated national approach. This led to the crafting of a National Broadband Plan covering the period 2013 to 2018.”

ec-itanyi-iwg-multitaxThe successes recorded by the telecommunications industry in the last 10 years have reinforced the internationally acknowledged perception that communication is a powerful, progressive tool of socio-economic development. The continued boost to development (e.g. in terms of job creation, security, social cohesion), the impact upon culture and quality of life and the contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are gains which have been recorded by the industry as a direct result of the advent of mobile telephony in Nigeria.

Unfortunately, while the sector has been a major catalyst for socio-economic development, it has become apparent that majority of our national stakeholders have failed to recognize the pivotal role played by mobile telecommunications to the long term socio-economic development of this nation. These sections of stakeholders instead continue to perceive the successes of the industry as an opportunity to generate short term and other immediate pecuniary benefits. This skewed perception results in undue interference in the operations of communications networks by various strata of society and particularly agencies of government.

Mr. Chidi Ibisi of Broadbased Communication Limited commends NCC for professionalism, makes case for special funds for ICT at ITU Telecom World 2016.

Impression on Nigeria's participation at the ITU

This is my first time of participating in this particular event with the Nigerian delegation. We as an organisation are impressed with the level of professionalism exhibited by the NCC led by the EVC, Professor Umar Danbatta. The staff have conducted themselves in a very professional manner. What we are doing in telecoms makes me very proud to be a Nigerian and the way NCC presented Nigeria to the global community is absolutely heart-warming.

It was a show worth every time and money. The maiden NCC Tennis League, the first ever league format tennis championship in Nigeria kept the nation’s tennis fraternity on edge for months. Mouths gaped, jaws dropped. What with the high velocity serves, the come-backs and the upsets. At the end, Team Tombim, walked away with the prize money.

But it was only just a matter of time before they were crowned champions. From their first game at the inaugural Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Tennis League, Team Tombim showed that they had the flair, skill and guts to become champions of Nigerian tennis and they achieved it on Saturday, December 4, 2016 at the centre court of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan. But it was not a stroll in the park.

Playing against a Team Civil Defence that has some of the most experienced players in the Nigerian circuit, the Abuja-based Team Tombim made their youthfulness count in their 4-2 victory that won them the N5 million prize money.

Team Tombim, made up of the new generation of players, has Christian Paul, 22, ranked a lowly 27 in the current national rankings, to thank for their victory. Paul beat former number one, Abdulmumuni Babalola, in the first singles and before upstaging immediate past national champion, Christian Enosoregbe in the match that clinched the tie for his team.

Team Tombim had carried a 2-1 lead into the final day, but national ladies’ champion, Christie Agugbom, leveled the tie after shaking off a very nervous start to beat Sarah Adegoke 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.

The champions reestablished their lead when Moses Michael defeated Babalola 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the fifth rubber and Paul dashed hopes of a dramatic finish by winning the second reverse singles.

Team Civil Defence got the runner-up prize of N3 million. The grand finale attracted top-level dignitaries with the first vice president of Nigeria, Sir (Dr.) Alex Ekwueme and former External Affairs minister, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, attending as special guests of honour.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, represented by Mr. Tony Ojobo, Director of Public Affairs of the NCC said he was delighted at the high quality performance put up by the participants. He thanked the Championship organisers, the International Tennis Academy (ITA) for the grand show which was at the round robin stage played across the nation at centres in Asaba, Abeokuta, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kaduna, Onitsha and Owerri. The tournament has helped to foster national unity.

According to Professor Danbatta: “The main objective of the tournament is to raise the level of lawn tennis which is one of the most popular and lucrative sporting activities. Since Nigeria’s Nduka Odizor reached the Round of 16 in Wimbledon in 1983, Nigerian players have not made the desired impact in the world tennis circuit. We are witnesses to how tennis stars have brought fame and fortune to themselves and their nations, and we want to be identified to taking these talented players in Nigeria to the circuit.

“Part of our objective is to help in nurturing and exposing our talents through robust competition so as to help them perfect their skills. It is also promoting peace and friendship among the players as this has taken the game to various locations of the country where such competitions have not been held. So far, several matches have been played in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Asaba, Onitsha, Abeokuta, Kaduna, Abuja, and Enugu, with the finals scheduled for Lagos. Another objective of this tournament is so fruitfully engage the players, officials and the youth in some value-driven activities associated with this competition.

“The Commission is glad that most of the objectives of this project have been realized. We understand that most of the best Nigerian players are featuring in this year’s edition, which has made the quality of the competition to be very high. The cross section of the people that matter in Nigerian Lawn Tennis sport have honoured us with their presence in some of the tournaments, including Nduka Odizor that I spoke about. We are happy the way the tournament have been organized as shown by the huge turnout at this second semifinal.

“It is for this reason that I have come to join you today. From the reports that I have received, and from what I have seen, I am encouraged to promise that the Commission will continue to sponsor this tournament. We may also review the prize money to ensure that as many teams from different parts of the country, are attracted to participate in this tournament.

“Let me also invite other corporate bodies or agencies to support the NCC to make lawn tennis to count in our efforts to project the image of our nation and provide useful employment and engagements for our youths”, he said.

The EVC promised to increase the price money in subsequent edition.

In order to actualize and deepen the impact of Research and Development on the telecommunications sector, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently inaugurated 18-member inter-agency committee to achieve this.  The mandate of this committee is primarily to evaluate research submissions to aid the growth of the sector.  The committee whose membership is drawn from different professions including the academia is chaired by Prof. Muazu Mohammed Bashir of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.