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Olubadan of Ibadan backs clamour for telecom infrastructure protection

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The advocacy for telecom infrastructure protection across the country by the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) has received royal blessings and support of the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Lekan Balogun, who has urged every citizen in Nigerian to take responsibility for the protection of these facilities for mutual benefit of all.

The monarch who spoke through  the Ayingun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Chief Ademola Odunade at the Village Square Dialogue (VSD) of NCC at the Mapo Hall, Ibadan, advised the Nigerian public  ” to .support NCC to achieve its objectives of protecting telecoms consumer because this should be seen as a collective responsibility.”

At the event which was presided over by the Chairman of the Board of the NCC, Prof. Adeolu Akande, was designed to discuss one of the most important issues affecting the operations of the telecom industry – the protection of telecoms infrastructure  to guaranty get improved quality of service for benefits of business and the consumers.

Prof Akande, in has address to guests at the forum that witnessed large turnout of traditional rulers, representative of telecom operators representatives, and consumers, asked  the consumers and other stakeholders to join hands in protecting telecoms infrastructure in their communities to ensure sustained connectivity.

Prof Akande said the objective of this novel consumer engagement was “to explore how we can all protect these infrastructures to continue to provide us with life-supporting services and we are happy to bring this programme to Oyo State to really sensitise telecom consumers and other critical stakeholders in this regard,” Akande said.

He noted that without telecom infrastructure, it will be difficult to communicate with family and friends over long distances while conducting banking, insurance, or access government services, education, entertainment and other essentials of life.

“This means that telecom infrastructures are important, and we must all ensure that we guard and protect this Critical National Infrastructure”, Akande said.

He listed such destabilising situations in the telecom sector to include the negative attitudes and actions of hostile communities; theft of diesel, batteries and power generators from base stations; digging up and cutting of fibre optic cables; sealing/locking up of Base Transceiver Station (BTS) sites and other disruptive activities which must be tackled decisively,” he stressed.

Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau of NCC, Mr. Efosa Idehen, who commended the consumers from the Ibadan axis for turning out in numbers, pledged the Commission’s commitment towards the care of the consumers. Idehen stated that NCC has the responsibility to protect, inform and educate the million of telecom consumers in the country.

“Therefore, part of activities to deliver on this mandate is this type of programme holding in Ibadan today. We value your feedback on all kind of services you receive in the telecoms sector but most importantly, we implore you to join hands in protecting telecom infrastructure in your areas,” he said.

He advised members of the public to report any suspected cases of threats to telecoms infrastructure to law enforcement agents in their areas for necessary interventions, and can call toll free numbers 112 in cases of emergencies or 622 to report complaints bordering on telecommunications services to the NCC.

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PalmPay unveils first set of winners in Eid mobile bonanza

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PalmPay has announced the first set of winners in its ongoing Eid campaign tagged PalmPay Eid Bonanza, which kicked off on April 10th and will run until April 30th, 2024.

Since the start of the bonanza on April 10th, 5 lucky winners have been emerging daily simply by performing tasks on the PalmPay App such as transferring funds, airtime and data purchases, bill payments, and savings.

Comfort Udoh from Lagos, one of the proud recipients of an iPhone 15 Pro, expressed her sheer delight. “I simply won by recharging my phone with airtime on the PalmPay app. I received the exciting news via a call from PalmPay Nigeria. I thank them for the generous reward of a brand new iPhone 15 pro”

Also, Mr. Abegurin Patrick Segun’s winning entry came about when he placed a N100 bet using his PalmPay app. It was a delightful surprise for him to receive a call from PalmPay Nigeria, informing him of his victory in the daily raffle draw, and he’s now the proud owner of an Infinix Hot 40i.

To participate in the remaining weeks of the campaign, download the PalmPay App from Google Play or App Store. Sign up for an account and include your BVN or NIN to complete the process and click on the Eid Bonanza Feature.

There are still numerous phones to be won daily, along with the added bonus of daily free transfers to any bank via the PalmPay App.

Enakeno Umuteme, the Head of Marketing and Communications at PalmPay Nigeria, notes that, “Our primary objective is to reward and acknowledge our loyal customers. This campaign stays true to its promise of appreciating Nigerians who are PalmPay users”

PalmPay offers an array of services including money transfers, bill payments, credit services, and savings on its app and via its mobile money agents. Since its inception in Nigeria in 2019 under a Mobile Money Operator license, the platform has amassed over 30 million app users as part of its cashless payment ecosystem.

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Minister announces groundbreaking partnerships with Cisco, others

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The Minister for Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani has announced strategic partnerships with Cisco, 21st Century Technologies like Awarri and DataDotOrg.

Tijani made the announcements while speaking at a dinner to mark the end of a four-day National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (NAIS) Workshop in Abuja.

The workshop was themed: “Developing the High-Level Strategy and Implementation Plan for a National Artificial Intelligence Strategy for Nigeria”.

He informed that the partnerships would drive technological innovation and boost Nigeria’s digital Economy.

Tijani said that the workshop was to formulate a strategy focused on addressing the needs of Nigerian citizens and communities.

He noted the increased attention on AI across the world and growth in investments in the technology in Nigeria saying: “Over one Petabyte of storage is already being allocated to AI projects in Nigeria by Galaxy Backbone Limited.

“The Pilot Compute Programme that we are undertaking, which is seeing 21st Century Technologies invest over 2 million dollars in Graphics Processing Unit (GPU).

“It is also going to put us in a position to start building and narrating the story for why we need to invest in our computing power as a nation.

“We all know that the strength of a network is determined by the value that each node on the network brings to it.

“If our world is truly connected, you are not helping Africa or Nigeria by ensuring that we can come to the table and participate.

“By partnering with us, you are only ensuring that our world is stronger because we have something significant to contribute to the network.”

The minister outlined a number of strategic partnerships and projects facilitated by the Ministry to fast-track Nigeria’s growth in the field of AI.

He listed them to include the National Centre for Al and Robotics (NCAIR) relaunch, Nigerian multilingual large language model, Nigeria’s computing infrastructure pilot and the AI collective, accordingly.

Tijani explained that the NCAIR relaunch of new and improved capacity was to better fulfill its mandate.

“The Centre is a special purpose vehicle created to promote research and development on emerging technologies and their practical application in the areas of Nigerian national interest.

“As a digital innovation and research facility, NCAIR focuses on Al, Robotics and Drones, Internet of Things (loT), and other emerging technologies, aimed at transforming the Nigerian digital economy.

“The capacity building imperative is undertaken with support from global technology company, Cisco.

”For the Nigerian multilingual large language model, Tijani said it aimed to build the most robust Nigerian large language model,” Tijani said.

He said in order to achieve this, the project would leverage the support of the 3 Million Technical Talent (3MTT) programme Fellows to collate high quality Nigerian language data and fuel the development of some of the most sophisticated AI models.

Tijani explained, “The project is developed by Awarri in partnership with NITDA and DataDotOrg.”

He explained that Nigeria’s computing infrastructure pilot would accelerate the development of Al projects of national interest.

According to him, Galaxy Backbone Limited will partner 21st Century Technologies to develop Nigeria’s national computer project.

“The Compute will be available to local researchers, startups, government entities working on critical Al projects that are of national interest.

“It will reside at the Galaxy Backbone Data Centre and be accessible through NCAIR,” the minister added.

Tijani said,”The AI Collective is a community of practice collaborating towards accelerating the nation’s collective prosperity through an inclusive Al Ecosystem.

“The collective will harness the power of Al to drive economic prosperity, accelerate innovation and social development, and position Nigeria as a leading force in AI for good globally.”

The minister expressed appreciation to all the stakeholders for making the workshop possible, while stating the benefits of adopting cutting-edge technologies.

They include Artificial Intelligence (AI) in raising the productivity of users for our collective prosperity.

The workshop was supported by local and international organisations such asq Luminate, Google, Meta, Microsoft, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR).

Others include Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Galaxy Backbone Limited, and Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF).

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to computer systems capable of performing complex tasks that historically only a human could do, such as reasoning, making decisions, or solving problems.

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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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