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Groom innovators that will position Nigeria as a leader in digital economy — Communication Minister tells academia

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The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital economy, Dr Bosun Tijani has called on academic institutions to groom students who will become innovators and make Nigeria a leader in the digital economy.

The Honourable Minister Dr.Bosun Tijani gave this charge in his office in Abuja when he received in audience the Vice Chancellor of Veritas University, Reverend father, Professor Hyacinth Ichoku with the Management staff for the “Presentation of Africa Innovation Challenge 2023 Award.”

The charge is coming on the heels of Veritas University’s excellent performance in winning the 3rd Edition of the annual Africa Telecommunication Union (ATU) Africa Innovation Challenge 2023, with the theme “Innovating for Digital Inclusion: Solutions to Bridge the Digital Divide in Africa.”

According to the Minister, “You can almost see the direct quality of academic institutions to the quality of any nation.”

“Every nation relies on research and development to be able to progress.”

Dr. Bosun is of the view that no nation in the world can progress without a sound academic or tertiary institution churning out quality and dependable  innovations that can add value to its economy.

He said humanity is constantly in search of better ways to do things and improve significantly. The minister believed that can only come through useful research and development from academic institutions who are the sole custodians.

Speaking at the event, the minister disclosed that it is the responsibility of academic institutions to groom and train learners to become innovators that will innovate technical solutions for the country’s future development.

“The way we look at education or curriculum and how we train workforce for the future itself, is fast changing.Not only do we need to raise and groom strong people to be part of the workforce that will lift our nation and help the economy to prosper, we also need to understand that the world demands we have innovators,” he added.

Also, the minister further challenged Nigerian universities on training people who are creators and have the capabilities to solve problems and challenges in the society.

He cited the examples of borders being  melting, security crises  within or outside of the country that can affect nations  e.g, like covid 19 that emanated from China.  The minister believes that how to address such unprecedented challenges even before they come, can only come from innovation.

He mentioned that not just training  people, but having those that can drive the innovation that will bring about economic development.

He equally mentioned that the country is endowed with rich resources so the government needs people who are builders, innovators, entrepreneurs that will transform those resources for the greater good of the populace.

Dr. Bosun said that as a ministry, “While we encourage the private sector to invest, we need the academic sector to join us in coming up with groundbreaking research that will ensure that Nigeria is a true leader in the African continent.”

The highlight of the event was the presentation of the sum of $20,000 cash award to Veritas university for winning the ATU 2023 Innovation Challenge in Nairobi, Kenya recently.

The Minister on behalf of the federal government and the ministry commended Veritas University with a remark that the institution has become a model.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Engr. Faruk Yusuf Yabo also felicitates with the VC and the Management for a show of honour and how the institution represented the nation well.

In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of Veritas University Reverend Father Professor Hyacinth Ichoku talked about the challenge of getting industrialists and investors in turning those researches into products for commercialisation purposes

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War against piracy: NCC parades three seized containers of pirated book in Rivers

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… We’ll prosecute perpetrators, accomplices — DG

Barth Ndubuwah, Port Harcourt

The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has Friday conducted journalists round the three containers seized by the Commission in collaboration with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at Onne Port,Area 2, containing about 3,000 cartons of pirated books, estimated  over N100m at market value.

 Addressing the Press and other stakeholders in the book industry in Port Harcourt, the Director General (DG) of NCC, Dr John Asein said henceforth the Commission will not hesitate “to seal premises, go after the proceeds of crimes and deal with the suspected materials summarily,” courtesy of the stronger Copyright  Statute with stiffer penalties for criminal  infringement.

The DG added that “the Commission  will hold anyone found with copies of pirated books accountable and presumed to be complicit in crime of piracy either as primary or secondary suspects.”

He said the renewed commitment to tackle piracy in all sectors complements government’s high level policy intervention to turn around the economy and grow the country’s creative industry. This,the DG said is in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu led Federal Government of Nigeria.

He thanked the Nigeria Customs Service, the Department of  State Services (DSS) and other stakeholders whose  cooperation he said has made the seizures possible.

Dr Asein assured that henceforth NCC will be stepping up its enforcement  drive to decimate copyright piracy in Nigeria until it is reduced to a single digit number.

“With the support of partnering agencies and the cooperation of rights owners ,this is a task that must be accomplished. I invite landlords, transporters, warehouse owners, school proprietors,market authorities and the general public to report any suspicious activities in the book chain to the Nigerian Copyright Commission or any of the  partnering agencies,” the DG said.

Also speaking, the Area Comptroller of Customs, Onne Port, Babani Imam, who spoke through, CC Epundu said there is every need for  Federal Government Agencies to collaborate, noting that Customs Area 2 Onne has been intercepting drugs, arms and other contraband  products and handed them over to the appropriate agency handling such issue. He appealed for the  sustenance of the inter-agency partnership.

On his part, the President of Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA), Chief Uche Anoke, who was represented by his Vice and CEO of Africans First Publishers Plc, Austin Onwubiko lauded  NCC for the excellent job they have been doing in combating piracy. He pointed out that the fight no doubt will allow the patent right owners to enjoy the fruit of their labour. He urged NCC to sustain their collaborative activities with other agencies, for optimal results.

He lamented that Publishers struggle to produce books, but pirates would not allow them to reap from their sweat.

He called on the Federal Government to liaise with the Chinese Embassy to stop the unholy trade from that country.

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NITDA hosts stakeholders in Lagos on digital literacy awareness

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has held a stakeholders meeting in Lagos to create awareness to bridge the digital divide and empower Nigerians with essential digital skills.

The agency held the session in partnership with the GIZ/DTC.

The Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, in his opening remarks, emphasised the critical role of digital literacy skills in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape. He highlighted the NDLF as a comprehensive roadmap developed by NITDA, in collaboration with key stakeholders to equip Nigerians with the necessary digital skills to thrive in the digital age.

Inuwa, who was represented by Dr. Falilat Jimoh, of the Digital Inclusion Unit of the  Agency’s South West Zonal Office (SWZO), asserted that the collaborative efforts with the Ministry of Education were underscored, focusing on integrating the framework’s provisions into the national school curriculum.

“This initiative aims to equip students from a young age with foundational digital skills essential for future success,” he noted.

Furthermore, he mentioned that NITDA’s partnership with GIZ/DTC is fostered to establish robust standards for digital literacy content, ensuring high-quality and relevant learning materials aligned with NDLF’s objectives.

Inuwa stressed that NITDA’s commitment to digital inclusion extends beyond formal education, with ongoing digital literacy programs targeting women, artisans, and other underserved segments of the society.

He emphasised the importance of collaborative efforts, stating that the framework enables the implementation of NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP) 2.0, 2024–2027 pillars, “Fostering Digital Literacy and Cultivating Talents.”

The SRAP 2.0 is a living document that is being redrafted to align with the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy policy document “Accelerating Our Collective Responsibility,” which has Five strategic pillars namely, Knowledge, Policy, Infrastructure, Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Capital, and Trade.

According to the NITDA boss, these programs aim to empower individuals to participate meaningfully in the digital economy and access online opportunities.

“This resonates with the Knowledge pillar of the Ministry tailored to accelerate the collective responsibilities of all stakeholders towards achieving inclusivity in all its dimensions which supports the Renewed Hope Agenda that is focused on propelling the Nigerian economy and enhancing the welfare of its citizens,” he said.

Hence, he stated that the workshop goal is to create widespread awareness about the NDLF through interactive sessions and discussions, providing stakeholders with a deeper understanding of its components, target audiences, and potential impact on bridging the digital divide among Nigerians.

Additionally, the Director-General emphasised the importance of collective action in the successful implementation of the NDLF, expressing gratitude for the collaboration with partners and the participation of stakeholders. He affirmed that the significance of tailoring the framework to the specific needs of Nigeria’s diverse population is to achieve maximum effectiveness.

In conclusion, Inuwa expressed confidence that the NDLF, coupled with collaborative efforts, will play a pivotal role in empowering Nigerians with the digital skills necessary to actively participate in the digital economy, and access online information and opportunities while contributing to a more inclusive and prosperous society. He then urged participants to continue collaborations to unlock the full potential of Nigeria’s digital future.

Earlier, the Commission Manager GIZ/DTC Nigeria,  Dr. Thuweba Diwani in her opening remarks delivered by Olusegun Alimi, the Technical Advisor, GIZ/DTC Nigeria, anticipated that the awareness session would be an avenue to dialogue and come up with a “Participatory Policy Implementation Framework (PPIF)” he added, “for policies to be sustainable they need to be owned by the people.”

The Digital Transformation Centre Nigeria (DTC Nigeria) is a project funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft Fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). It focuses on digitalisation, innovation, and entrepreneurship in Nigeria, aiming to enhance the country’s digital innovation ecosystem and boost its capacity for adopting digital innovations for economic and societal growth.

Other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) at the dialogue were, the National Orientation Agency (NOA), National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Lagos Public Private Partnership (PPP), Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB), Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), also, the private sectors represented were MTN Foundation, CISCO, Tech4Dev, Faith Foundation among others.

The moderator, Mr. Tayo Olosunde an ecosystem industry enthusiast affirmed that the stakeholders’ sessions had also been held in Kano and Abuja.

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9mobile refreshes 9Konfam value offer

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Nigeria’s customer-centric company, 9mobile has spiced up its 9Konfam offerings as its customers are set to enjoy 9 times the value of recharge and more when they subscribe to this unique offering. This innovative plan, crafted with a focus on enhancing connectivity and value for its customers, promises to make connectivity with family and friends seamless and enjoyable.

The 9Konfam plan boasts unique benefits aimed at bringing families and friends closer while providing unparalleled value for money. Among its standout features, customers stand to enjoy an extraordinary 9 times the value on all recharges of N100 and above. This significant bonus is applicable for calls across all networks and SMS and data usage, catering to diverse communication needs.

In his comment, the Director of Product Innovation & Business Development at 9mobile, Kenechukwu Okonkwo said the company is committed to fostering connectivity and enriching customer experiences.

“At 9mobile, we understand the importance of staying connected with loved ones, and we are poised to offer a unique opportunity to make things seamless for our customer’s communications needs.”

He said that the 9Konfam plan is designed to offer incredible value on calls, data, and SMS.

“Whether you’re catching up with family, connecting with friends, or staying on top of business, 9Konfam ensures you get the most out of your mobile experience.”

Subscribers to the 9Konfam plan will enjoy a double dose of data delight during the initial six months of their subscription. This translates to a remarkable 100 percent data bonus on top of their purchased data bundles, ensuring an enhanced browsing, streaming, and chatting experience for all members of the 9Konfam family.

For those embarking on their journey with 9Konfam, the perks start when they activate their SIM cards. New subscribers are welcomed with a generous N1,000 welcome bonus, giving them a head start to enjoy the multitude of benefits offered by 9Konfam.

Transitioning to the 9Konfam plan has been streamlined for convenience. New customers can simply visit any 9mobile Experience Centre, or authorized retailers to activate their SIM cards or dial *1400# and commence enjoying the array of benefits offered by 9Konfam.

With 9Konfam, subscribers become valued members of a larger family, where connectivity is without limits, and they are assured of an experience that matches value and more.

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