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We are aiming to be lodestar of ICT in Africa — Tinubu

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President Bola Tinubu says his administration is sustaining investments in digital technology to enhance the sustainability of small businesses, expand opportunities across sectors, and propel Nigeria to become the lodestar of information and communications technology in Africa.

Speaking when he received a delegation from Meta Platforms Incorporated, led by Sir Nick Clegg, former UK Deputy Prime Minister and Meta’s President of Global Affairs, at the State House in Abuja on Thursday, the President said Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind in this age of technological advancements; hence, his administration is opening up channels of opportunities in information and communications technology, deepening capacity, and fostering partnerships.

In view of his administration’s 3MTT programme, which is training three million Nigerian youths in digital technology and essential skills before deploying them to innovation hubs across the nation, the President emphasised that Nigerian youths are the most critical asset in Nigeria’s arsenal as it moves to achieve digital economic expansion.

“For us in Nigeria, we have a vibrant, gifted and resourceful youth population. Recognising that the future is most likely to be AI-enabled, we have to prepare our youths and make them ready to compete and participate in the global economy.

“I can assure you that Nigeria is open for business. We want to lead the African continent in digital technology. Data is valuable to our development. We are ready to cooperate on technological advancements. It is the only way to go. We need a collaboration that will be a win-win for all,” President Tinubu said.

Emphasising the importance of technology in driving small businesses, the President said he is committed to ensuring that technology is deployed, adapted, enhanced, and used to catalyze growth across a vast majority of micro businesses, spurring mass prosperity down the line.

“What interests me is the use of technology in the development of small businesses. We need to make the business environment more conducive for you and more profitable for us as well. I hope we can collaborate and continue to promote our mutual interests,” President Tinubu told the delegation.

Earlier in his remarks, Sir Clegg thanked the President for an executive order he issued, which enabled the landing of the Meta-backed deep-sea cable in Nigeria.

“It is an extraordinary infrastructure project. When it comes on stream in the first quarter of 2025, it will be twice as much as the capacity of all subsea cables that exist. We buried the cable 50 percent deeper than any other subsea cables under the seabed. It is more powerful and more extensive in terms of its geographical connectivity. It could yield up to 37 billion dollars worth of increase in economic activity in the next two or three years across the African continent,” he said.

Sir Clegg also said Meta will introduce in June 2024 a feature on its Instagram app that will allow Nigerian creators to monetize their content to enable them to earn a living using the app.

“We have a lot to do with Nigeria to deepen partnerships,” he added.

Dr. ‘Bosun Tijani, Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, said Meta platforms are critical platforms in Nigeria, and as such opportunities for partnerships and engagement are essential to promoting development in the digital economy sector.

“We must continue to engage to create opportunities for our people so they can also share in global prosperity. Digital technology is an opportunity to connect Africa to contribute to the development of the world,” the Minister said.

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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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