MOBILEBy BiztechAfrica - May 3, 2012, 10:06 a.m.
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
The deputy president of Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber, the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has flayed the recent ‘crude’ show of power by two agencies of the Federal Government, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA).
He argued that it was unnecessary and promised that the National Assembly would do something about the relevant laws that set up the agencies.
NESREA had sealed the premises of MTN’s base transmission station (BTS) at EFAB Estate, Mbora District in Abuja. NCC unsealed the station, after which NESREA went back to seal the infrastructure again, also slamming a fine of N5 million on the telco for reopening its base station.
The senator who spoke at the weekend in Lagos at the Beacon of ICT Distinguished Lecture/Awards Series held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, lamented that Nigeria, as a nation is not yet where it ought to be in the ICT development pyramid despite the huge progress recorded in the last one decade of liberalizing the telecoms sector.
“ We as a nation are no longer where we used to be in terms of ICT development; while we have made tremendous progress far beyond what was imaginable even ten years ago, the truth remains that we are nowhere near where we ought to be, given our abundant potential, especially in terms of human resources.”
“We just have to redouble our efforts at ICT development to be able to reap bountifully from its potential,” he said.
Ekweremadu said efforts must be all-encompassing to galvanize Nigeria’s ICT resources and create favourable environment for the industry to flourish, adding that challenges such “as multiple taxation and unlawful levies, environmental concerns, infrastructural deficits, anti-competition conducts, teledensity/urban-rural dichotomy in ICT penetration, cybercrime, and data protection/right to privacy concerns” must be collectively confronted headlong by all well meaning patriots.
The lawmaker also identified weak regulation as a major challenge confronting the industry. “There is also the major issue of weak regulation, including inter-agency regulatory overlap/multiple regulation, which has left Nigerians short-changed even as it brews confusion and bad blood among the regulatory agencies.”
“In the telecoms sub-sector, for instance, there has been inter-agency rivalry between the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and the National Environmental Standards and Regulatory Enforcement Agency (NASREA) over the regulation of telecoms infrastructure.”
“Indeed such issues should not arise and should be checked. You can be rest assured that the National Assembly is taking note of this and other challenges and will continue to provide the necessary legislative framework to strengthen the Nigerian ICT industry,” the deputy Senate president assured.
Speaking on ICT, he said its role in the society is as overwhelming as it is all-encompassing, stressing that it has not only had extensive social impacts, oiling social relations, it has proved to be Nigeria’s hope of economic survival, providing jobs, direct foreign investments, among others. Importantly, he added, it has become a tool of governance, political communication, and advocacy for change and development.
“In fact, from the role of ICT in the Arab Spring or uprising outside the shores of Nigeria to the socio-economic and political impacts it has registered in Nigeria, ICT has shown that it practically rules the modern world and will do so for a very long time to come,” Ekweremadu said.
According to him, while ICT plays great roles in the security of lives and property, it has proven to be a very bad servant when it enters the wrong hands urging stakeholders and the government to ensure that ICT is used profitably in security terms.
“In particular, at a time like this (with Boko Haram’s multiple bombings), those doing business in the industry have a task to ensure we deploy ICT effectively and rapidly towards bursting the terror and crime syndicates menacing the nation,” he said.
He disclosed that members of the National Assembly are also making efforts to ensure that ICT knowledge and use permeates even the remotest corners of the country, arguing that besides attracting ICT projects like computer centres to his own constituency as a senator, the Ikeoha Foundation, which is his constituency outreach platform, is undertaking robust ICT training programmes for graduates from the South East of Nigeria.
“We have resolved to train some graduates in rudimentary and advanced ICT applications, depending on their current level of ICT knowledge and field of study. This is to boost their chances of employment and also enable them to set up their own ICT businesses,” he said.
MORE MOBILE NEWS
tn mobile rolls out 4G LTE prepaidtn mobile, the mobile division of Telecom Namibia, reports that it is the first operator in Namibia to offer 4G LTE prepaid broadband service to consumers. Read More
Do you have an effective mobile strategy?How does mobility impact your business, asks PBT Group. Read More
Arusha ‘gets reason to Smile’Smile Communications has extended its 4G LTE services to Arusha, taking high speed mobile internet to the region. Read More
Safaricom buys naming rights to Moi International Sports CentreSSMB and Safaricom have signed a two year partnership worth KES 55 million for the naming and branding rights for the Moi International Sports Centre. Read More
Beware updatesWhether it’s a firmware or an operating system upgrade, updates tend to be extremely data hungry, says MIP Holdings. Read More
Econet in wind power projectEconet Wireless has joined an initiative led by Danish wind energy group Vestas to build small wind power generators across Africa. Read More
BYOD: 1bn consumer-owned mobile devices at work by 2018The BYOD trend will drive the number of consumer-owned devices up to 1 billion by 2018, says Juniper Research. Read More
Ghana’s First Lady commends MTN Ghana FoundationGhana’s first lady, Lordina Mahama, has commended Ghana’s mobile telecom giant MTN Ghana and the MTN Foundation for taking the initiative to assist the Akropong School for the Blind. Read More
Africa well positioned for leap to 4G LTEAfrica’s mobile network sector is well positioned to drive the explosion in service offerings on the back of 4G LTE implementations, says Gemalto. Read More
FEATURED STORYGaming app introduces investors to trading
A new virtual stock market app is equipping would-be investors with the skills they need to trade.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHCorporate cyber security threats of the year
91% of organisations polled suffered a cyber-attack at least once in the past year, says Kaspersky Lab in its security review of 2013.