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Pantami decries several ‘threats’ to life over NIN policy implementation

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…Says FG has increased National Identity Database by 150% in two years

By Ogaga Ariemu

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami has revealed that he received several threats from some citizens following the National Identity Policy Implementation.

Also, Pantami disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has increased National Identity Database by 150 per cent in two years.

Pantami made this disclosure in his remarks at this year’s National Identity Day commemoration titled, ‘Institutions as Critical Stakeholders for Citizens’ Mobilisation,’ in Abuja during the weekend.

He lauded the success story of the policy despite stiff opposition.

He added that, the Digital Economy sector remitted more money to the Federal Government’s confers more than any other sector in Nigeria.

Explaining the importance of digital identity to development, he explained that, “According to World Bank, one billion people don’t have any legal identification specially in Africa. That is why we have uncountable challenges in Africa, because we don’t have data to plan for our citizenry.”

He emphasized that Nigeria has captured more citizens into her National Identity Database than other African countries.

The Minister said that the essence of the event is to remind citizens why digital identity is important.

“We can get only get our digital economy right when we continue to improve and encourage our citizens to enrol in our national data base. By the time I took supervision of NIMC, the total number of registration centres were not up to 1,000 but today, we have over 5,000.

“Today our national data base is on auto drive. We have established over 19 national policies and all of them are being implemented. This has never happened in the history of Nigeria. When we commenced the process, many people turned against me,” he said.

“My life was threatened because of the introduction of NIN and sim registration on BBC radio and many more and I resisted believing that nobody can control my life in this world only Almighty God. We resisted and now the process is working. Sometimes I can sleep for one month without speaking to NIMC and there is no any problem and most of our citizens that were fighting at least are now silent,” he revealed.

Earlier, the Director General/CEO, NIMC reiterated commitment to partner traditional rulers, religious leaders and other stakeholders to ensure that majority in rural communities are captured.

He further added that the Commission has achieved tremendous infrastructural development resulting to increased NIN enrolment across the country in the last three years.

“NIMC has made great strides on so many fronts in the last three years. From just over 1,000 enrolment centres and 2,000 enrolment devices across the country, NIMC in partnership with its licensed enrolment partners now has over 15,000 enrolment centres and over 29,000 enrolment devices deployed nationwide. This is one of the reasons enrolments have increased tremendously with over 89 million NINs generated successfully.

“On the international level, NIMC today has diaspora enrolment centres in over 40 countries, with more centres and countries scheduled to be added in the coming months. This gives Nigerians in the Diaspora opportunities to enrol and have their national identity even while outside the shores of Nigeria,” he stated.

Chairman, National Population Commission(NPC), Nasir Kwarra, Executive Chairman of the ID4Africa, Dr. Joseph Atick,  Representatives of National Information Technology Development Agency, Director IT Infrastructure Solutions, Dr Usman Abdullahi, Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC), other agencies were presence.

Recall that in April Buhari directed that Implementation of NIN-SIM Policy and ordered Telephone companies (Telcos) to bar all outgoing calls on unlinked cell phone lines. Subsequently Government agencies such as Nigeria Immigration Service(NIS), Federal Road Safety Corp(FRSC) and others made NIN mandatory.

In 2019, the Federal Government of Nigeria approved the recognition and observance of September 16 of every year as National Identity Day.

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FAAN: We are working on strategies, innovation to improve airport operations — Director

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on Monday said that it had charted strategies to bring about innovations and upgrades that would lead to improvement in airport operations and management.

Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, FAAN, Mrs Obiageli Orah, said this  when she received the new executives of the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) in Lagos.

Orah said FAAN had gone through changes with the upgrade in the Directorate of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, creation of Special Duty and the Cargo Development Services, among others.

She said that the changes were all geared toward meeting global standards in the management of airports under FAAN.

According to her, the vision of President Bola Tinubu is encapsulated in the Renewed Hope Agenda.

She said that this underscored the vision of the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), to create new directorates that would ensure that travellers are offered the best services across airports in the country.

“FAAN has gone through tremendous changes in the past few months.

“We have added some new directorates to the existing ones; I will start with my directorate which is public affairs and consumer protection.

“It is relatively a new one because we had corporate affairs but now christened public affairs and consumer protection.

“We also added a directorate of cargo development and services which deals with everything regarding cargo and hajj operations.

“We also have a special duty directorate, one I will describe as an interventionist directorate that helps the agency intervene in any situation as the case may be,” she said.

According to her, the authority’s Managing Director and other directors are all poised to ensure Nigerians get the best.

She commended the Minister’s vision for FAAN, noting that it would engender the desired growth and global competitiveness the industry strived to achieve.

Orah said that passengers passing through the airports deserved better, after paying taxes, buying tickets and all that.

“We feel and know that they deserve the best. So, that is why security, safety and comfort of all our passengers are paramount to our operations,” she said.

Orah also assured pilgrims that there would be changes in how FAAN handled hajj operations in the airports.

She said that a new system would be employed to ease movement of passengers and goods and address long queues that pilgrims experienced in the past.

The newly elected LAAC Chairman, Mr Suleiman Idris, who led the new team, pledged the support of the association in achieving the vision of the new administration.

He said that they would play their part in turning the fortunes of the country’s aviation industry around

Idris said that LAAC would continue to play its role in holding the leadership of the sector accountable to the people.

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NASENI, NIPSS to collaborate on enhancing digital economy, job creation

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The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Plateau State are set to collaborate on enhancing Nigeria’s digital economy footprints, empowering and creating jobs for millions of youths.

The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO),  NASENI, Mr. Khalil Suleiman Halilu, disclosed this while welcoming participants of the Senior Executive Course (SEC) 46 of NIPSS who were at the Agency on Strategic Institution Study tour on Monday, 15th April, 2024.

Halilu said he was elated that NASENI was identified as one of the federal government’s agencies that have all it takes to empower and create job opportunities for Nigerian youths, and make the country self-reliant in manufacturing and digital economy.

Halilu said strengthening the capacity of key stakeholders in Nigeria to access, adopt and scale up technologies is an essential outcome of such cooperation and collaborations currently being undertaken by the Agency and “must be supported by the relevant offline conditions, such as an enabling policy environment, access to finance, appropriate incentives and innovation capacities.”

The Director-General of NIPSS, Prof. Ayo Omotayo, who led the delegation, said Nigerian youths can be empowered through translation of NASENI innovations to finished products and to strengthen the collaboration between the two organisations.

According to him, various groups from the institute have been sent to different agencies to study how policies for national development can be developed, adding that the Group in NASENI will do a deep study on NASENI on how the Agency can help in creating job opportunities for Nigerian youths using some of its technological innovations.

He said, “Nigeria cannot have good manufacturing without infrastructures and NASENI is very important in all the sectors in the country, especially in manufacturing industries.

“We need an Agency like NASENI to live up to expectations, we can work together with you to find means of transferring your innovations to effective job creation and youth empowerment.”

He noted that the Course 46 participants from NIPSS wanted to know the vision, mission and roles of NASENI and how they can be translated to job creation for youths in a digital economy.

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FG unveils plans for inland waterways, coastal services

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By Seun Ibiyemi

The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, on Sunday, said that it would soon unveil its plans for the Inland Waterways and Coastal Services in the industry.

Its Minister, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, was quoted to have disclosed this in a statement issued in Lagos by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Zoe Maritime, Mrs Tosan Edodo-Moore.

The minister will unveil the plans at the forthcoming Maritime Business Roundtable Breakfast Meeting.

Edodo-Moore said that the federal government, through its Renewed Agenda, was committed to increasing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, by increasing the revenue generated by the ministry.

“We are pleased to announce the Maritime Business Roundtable Breakfast Meeting (MBRBM) on Security and New Technologies in Inland Waterways Transportation, scheduled for April 18 in Lagos.

“The highlight of the meeting was the intervention of Madam Yan Yuqing, the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China.

“Yuqing will share the Sino-Nigeria Maritime Relationship and lessons to be learnt from China, which has the largest Inland Waterways Network in the World.

“Also, the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, will unveil the administration’s plans for Inland Waterways and Coastal Services.

“The subject will be dissected by a panel, comprising industry stakeholders, regulatory authorities and security agencies,” she said.

Edodo-Moore said that the panellists would include Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Dr Dayo Mobereola, the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Others are Alhaji Munirudeen Oyebamiji, the Managing Director National Inland Waterways Authority, [NIWA] Lokoja and Mr Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, the General Manager of Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA).

It will also include Mr Oluseyi Oluyede, the Managing Director, Niger Benue Transport Co Ltd. and AIG Rhoda Olofu, the Maritime Police Command.

According to her, expected participants are port users, maritime stakeholders, government agencies, banks (with maritime desk), Insurance companies, ship-owners, boat operators, logistics companies, freight forwarders, Oil and Gas companies and foreign entities

Edodo-Moore said that the benefits of the Maritime Breakfast Roundtable include visibility, growth, networking, impartation and exchange of knowledge.

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