Minister of Communications, Omobola Johnson

The Lagos Campus project of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) will be fully ready by next year; this was disclosed during the House of Representatives Committee on Communications’ visit to the site going by the current level of work.
The committee reassured this on Monday on the ongoing project, as part of its oversight functions
The committee, who was led by its chairman, Oyetunde Ojo, articulated satisfaction with the level of work carried so far on the project while assured Nigerians, the benefits of the institute, when it becomes operational by next year.
Ojo revealed that Federal Government had spent N51 billion for the entire project adding that the committee had to visit the site to see the level of work, and to find out if the money appropriated was well used on the said the project.
We are pleased with the level of work that is near completion, the committee members said, “they were much satisfied with the quality of work, and with the quality of materials used for the project”.
DBI is a training institute that is open to the public for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) training, and it is managed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
“As part of our oversight function to inspect government projects under our jurisdiction, we decided to visit the proposed Lagos Campus of the Digital Bridge Institute to see the level of work done on site. Because we want to take them unawares, we gave them just four days notice, and what we saw showed that work has been ongoing and the money appropriated for the project is well spent,” Ojo said.
According to him, the institute would serve as a world-class training institute for human capacity development in the area of communications technology.
“It will bring about the much needed transformation plan of the Federal Government and it will boost employment among Nigerians,” the Reps Committee Chairman on Communications said.
The Director, Public Affairs of NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo during his welcoming address told the committee members that the commission established three Digital Bridge Institutes in the country locates in Lagos, Kano, with Abuja as its head quarters, also said that the commission would establish more digital campuses in all six geopolitical areas of the country.
Due to the level of work carried out so far, Ojobo reassured the committee members that the project would be completed by next year, with plans to admit its first set of students next year.
Ojobo said the location of the Lagos Campus of DBI in Oshodi area was as s result land acquired from the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), for it about four years ago, for this purposes.

Airtel logo
A Lagos High Court Thursday dismissed an application by Bharti Airtel to set aside an award made by an international commercial arbitration tribunal in favour of Econet Wireless.
The judgment may have paved the way for the matter to be referred back to the international tribunal to set the quantum of damages and compensation that Bharti must pay to Econet Wireless.
In the court papers, Econet said it is submitting a claim valued in excess of $3 billion.
The international tribunal (comprising senior Nigerian and English lawyers) found multiple breaches of a shareholders’ agreement by both the selling shareholders and Celtel Nigeria, now Bharti Airtel Nigeria, ordering them to pay damages/equitable compensation to Econet (in an amount to be determined in a further round of the arbitration).
The ruling, further explained that the purchase of a 65 per cent shareholding in Nigeria’s second largest cell phone company, by Celtel, was violated the pre-emption rights of existing shareholder, Econet Wireless.
Celtel’s parent company, former Zain of Kuwait sold the controlling stake to Bharti Airtel, the Indian telecoms operator.
The international tribunal’s award was handed down in December last year.
In an extensive judgment, the Lagos High Court found that the international tribunal had been correctly constituted, had jurisdiction and acted correctly on all accounts.
It would be recalled that a Federal High Court had ordered Bharti Airtel, to revert to its former name, Econet Wireless Limited.
In addition, the court ordered the Bharti Airtel to reinstate Econet Wireless’s five per cent shareholding in Airtel Nigeria.
Econet Wireless, an early investor in the company, is an international company domiciled in the United Kingdom.
The company had opposed Zain’s decision to sell the Nigerian business to Bharti Airtel, claiming its right of first refusal.
Zain, however, went ahead to sell its African mobile business including Nigeria to Bharti in 2010 for $10.7 billion.
The summary of the judgment delivered by the Justice Mohammed Shuaib, stated that Econet is a shareholder of Bharti Airtel Nigeria Limited and holds five per cent of the issued shares of the company.
Due to above ruling, the court ordered that all actions, and resolutions taken by the company, since October 2003, at which Econet was entitled to be notified, and to participate in, as a shareholder, but was prohibited, were null and void.
This includes decisions to sell shares, issue shares and transfer shares to third parties.
In the same vein, the court ordered the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to cancel any certificate previously issued for the company’s change of the name of the company and restore its name to Econet Wireless Nigeria Limited.

ABUJA, September 21, (THEWILL) – President Goodluck Jonathan has inaugurated a 14-man Presidential Committee on Broadband Penetration Project, which will work for three months, and is to be jointly chaired by Engr. Ernest Ndukwe, the immediate past executive vice chairman of National Communications Commission (NCC), and Mr. Jim Ovia, the chairman of Zenith Bank.

The president also mandated the Ministry of Education to include Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in national education curricular from primary school to the highest level so that young Nigerians can have early exposure to the global information highway.

Jonathan handed down the directives at the inauguration ceremony of the high-profile committee, which held at the State House, Abuja, explaining that the move is a historical landmark in his administration’s attempt to build 21st century economy out of the country.

“We must therefore start exposing our children to ICTs to encourage in them familiarity with new technologies and the desire to develop software programmes and applications, “he said.

“It is important to start thinking of how to build a digital economy, particularly in this era of the knowledge economy. The critical factor here is that we are in the middle of a digital revolution that has seen ICT transform the global economy.

“ICTs have changed the way we live, work and learn. In some countries around the world, including Nigeria, ICTs have even transformed the way citizens participate in governance. To achieve this lofty goal, it becomes imperative that a proper and feasible plan is articulated. Hence, government has constituted this committee to develop a comprehensive broadband roadmap for the country.”

Articulation of acceptable definitions and perspectives of broadband and related issues that are current and dynamic for the country, evaluation and analysis of the current position of broadband infrastructure and service delivery in the country, definition of broadband service in the country and articulation of an agenda for bridging the gap between the privileged and the underprivileged in the country top the committee’s terms of reference.

Other terms include the expansion and detailing of additional strategic and tactical approaches for reinventing the country as broadband-rich digital haven capable of supporting electronic and mobile architecture for commerce and trade, consideration and articulation of the role of different levels of government, in ensuring the timely achievement of the roadmap, consideration and articulation of other related and reasonably connected relevant plans and agenda that are incidental to broadband development in the country, and production of a comprehensive National Broadband Road Map for Nigeria.

Speaking after the committee’s inauguration, Minister of Information Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, reinforced the president’s promises, saying that government would create the enabling environment to attract investments in ICT in the country.

Managing Director BOI, Evelyn Oputu
The Federal Government to extend a funding line to Information and Communications Technology entrepreneurs in the country
This was disclosed by Evelyn Oputu, the Managing Director of the Bank of Industry at an event in Lagos.
Oputu said: “We do not have sector specific for ICT. As situation arises, we give loans to ICT firms that have shown willingness to do business and achieve results. We take seriously every sector that has impact on the people. ICT is one of those sectors, though its yet to realise its potentials in the country.
“At the Bank of Industry, we reject any aspect of the economy that do not impact on the country’s Gross Domestic Product. We lay emphasis on value added creations. We have a lot of schemes in the bank. That is why we are coming out with a unique way of lending to businesses. However, the funds would be given to only the serious ICT entrepreneurs who have shown a lot of commitments to his/her businesses. I wants you to be rest assured that you have a banker that would support you, may be at a single-digit rate or very close.
“Our responsibility is to support any transactions you are bringing, but would vet them and see whether they are qualified for loans. Once you are coming with your technology and capacity , we would give you funds to scale up your operations. What we are trying to do is to get those funds out there back to BoI, for onward lending to entrepreneurs in the ICT industry at a single-digit rate,“

President Goodluck Jonathan
The ICT Publishers Alliance, publishers of technology-based magazines has commended the Federal Government on its recent reform agenda on the power sector.
Chairman of the Alliance, Mr. Aaron Ukodie noted in a statement that the recent improvements in the power sector is a testimony that the President Goodluck Jonathan administration has the political will to carry through its reforms roadmap for the industry.
The company further stated that the current improvements confirmed that only a complete deregulation and liberalisation of the power sector as was the case in the telecommunication sector can achieve a complete and holistic turn around in the sector.
Full measures in the implementation of the power reform roadmap is what the Jonathan administration requires to achieve the sort of achievement that was recorded in the telecommunication sector during the years of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Alliance said.
According to the Alliance during the years of the implementation of the telecommunication reform roadmaps, the government of the day ensured that there was no political interference in the implementation of the process. The political will was demonstrated as Obasanjo warned all those who made efforts to truncate the process to stay off.
The Alliance said President Jonathan must be determined and should demonstrate a strong will in ensuring that no one comes the way of the reforms.
Participants in the privatisation process as was the case in the telecommunication sector should not only be those with financial muscle, as they must demonstrate that they have the technical knowhow to run the business, the publishing firm added.
The Alliance said it was concerned that the power reforms were successful as it would positively impact on the telecommunication sector, both in the quality of service offered and in price offerings.
The Alliance had already called on the federal government to enact a law that makes telecommunication infrastructure as critical national assets to stem the current tide of insecurity around telecommunication facilities.

SFG, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim.
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has secured the approval of Federal Government to clear all locally made information systems before they are purchased by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The approval, which was granted recently, also directed all MDAs to patronise locally made Personal Computers (PCs) that were cleared by NITDA or face sanctions.
According to thisady, In a circular titled Guidelines for the Purchase of Locally Assembled Computers, dated July 17, 2012 sent to all MDAs, the federal government said the objective was to give effect to the government policy on the procurement of Made-in-Nigeria Information Systems.
The guidelines were signed by Secretary to the Federal Government, Anyim Pius Anyim.
Government warned that any breach of the guidelines which were issued in accordance with the provisions of the NITDA Act of 2007, would be seen as a breach of the Act.
The guidelines which were approved during the Federal Executive Council meeting in April 2012 was expected to assist all MDAs to be appropriately guided on the minimum specifications and standards in procurement of locally assembled information systems.
Government also aims to achieve the development of an indigenous Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry, wealth and job creation, expansion of the domestic market for Nigeria information technology products and acceleration of Information Technology (IT) penetration and adoption in Nigeria.
It is also governments hope that the policy will enhance Universal Access to IT in accordance with Section 6 of the IT Development Act of 2007.
According to the government circular the product under the guidelines include all Made-in-Nigeria information System components certified by NITDA and which meet a specified minimum standard. The guidelines however do not apply to high-end products such as server, routers, operating systems and data base software.
Under the guidelines, all MDAs are expected to obtain a technical advice from NITDA on the configuration of the Information System suitable for the purpose intended, 15 days to issuance of tenders by the MDAs.
They will also be expected to incorporate the specifications and configurations advised by NITDA in their bid and tender documents.
Agencies of government empowered to enforce government guidelines include, the organs and offices of government which exercise threshold responsibilities in public procurement process, the Bureau of Public Procurement, accounting officers of MDAs, ICT officers of MDAs and institutions legally mandated to undertake oversight function in the development and deployment of ICT in the country.
NITDA shall monitor compliance, according to the circular, which stated that all Local Original Equipment Manufacturers ( LOEMs) shall be required to submit to periodic assessment and facility visits by NITDA to ensure that the product and process standard are maintained.
Certification of all LOEMs products and processes shall be bi-annual with effect from 2012, while a consumer reporting interface and dedicated telephone lines already launched shall be maintained for the purpose of receiving report of breach of standard on the one hand and non-observance of the local content Policy on the other hand.