Tag Archives: NCC

NCC’s Danbatta to receive Zik Prize award

Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice-chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), is to be honoured with the prestigious Zik Prize Professional Leadership award in Lagos.

Umar Garba Danbatta

The award ceremony will take place on December 6 at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos and will be presented by the Public Policy Research & Analysis Centre.

Danbatta and other prominent personalities were selected for their contributions to national development. According to the organisers, he has led the charge to drive Nigeria’s industrial revolution and knowledge-based economy leveraging telecommunications.

“Telecommunications’ contribution to the gross domestic productof Nigeria has grown by 70% from 2015 to 2020, while broadband penetration has increased significantly to over 45%,” said the organisers.

“Danbatta’s leadership has enhanced transparency and innovation in the sector, such that recently NCC was acknowledged by the International Telecommunication Union as one of Africa’s foremost regulators.

“The NCC boss has transformed the commission into a regulator of global acclaim and the establishment and implementation of the NCC’s auspicious strategic Eight-Point Agenda under Danbatta has given the direction to the activities of the commission.”

This year’s event also coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Zik Prize series, which will be chaired by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, while the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, will function as the royal father of the day.

The organisers also noted that the sector’s improved contribution to GDP, as well as improvements in quality of service delivery, broadband infrastructural development, broadband penetration, effective spectrum utilisation, consumer empowerment and technology innovation have been phenomenal under Danbatta’s leadership.

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NCC tops ethical compliance rankings

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has emerged the country’s most ethically compliant regulatory agency, according to the Independent Corrupt Practice & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

The ranking is based on the ICPC’s report, which measures how ministries, department and agencies (MDAs) of the federal government comply with ethical, integrity, statutory, regulatory and policy standards and requirements.

The report found that the NCC came first with a score of 81.15%, far above 25 other regulatory agencies assessed in the anti-graft agency’s Ethics Compliance and Integrity Scorecards for this year.

The report reads: “NCC’s ranking on the 2020 Scorecard may not be unconnected with the critical role it has played as a member of the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit [ACTU], which is the federal government’s vanguard for promoting ethics and ensuring compliance with ethical codes within the Nigerian public sector.

“The scorecard, which was deployed between July and September 2020 in 352 MDAs, is a testament to the ethical culture and high standards of integrity, which characterise the operations and regulatory activities of the commission. As the internal anti-corruption and transparency mechanism put in place within the commission to improve the integrity of internal processes for better service delivery, the ACTU has been instrumental to the implementation of ICPC’s framework for promoting an ethical environment.

“The ranking by ICPC, in addition to demonstrating NCC’s commitment to the orderly growth and development of the Nigerian telecommunications industry, underscores the commission’s strategic role as a key enabler of positive change within Nigeria’s socio-economic landscape.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria Communications Satellite (NigComsat) had a score of 31.9%.

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NCC forms digital economy unit

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has created a digital economy department responsible for implementing digital programmes and the federal government’s policies.

Umar Danbatta
The initiative was approved by the governing board of the NCC and is in line with its strategy to create a team dedicated to promoting the digital economy.

Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman (EVC) of the NCC, said: “Placing the newly created department under the office of the EVC also underscores the importance the commission places on the need to successfully drive the overall national digital economy strategy of the government through ensuring its effective monitoring and supervision.

“The broadband implementation unit in the commission, as well as the workers in the unit, have been moved to the newly created digital economy department while an assistant director in the special duties department, Babagana Digima, has been moved and designated as the pioneer head of the new department.”

Danbatta said the commission would play a significant role in the implementation of the digital economy policy and strategy and the new department would focus on working with the eight pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), as well as overseeing the implementation of the National Broadband Plan 2020-2025.

The NDEPS is a national policy document unveiled by Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, in November 2019 to add impetus to the government’s Economy Recovery and Growth Plan.

“Apart from infusing new dynamism into the existing digital economy function, the creation of the new department amplifies the commission’s regulatory excellence, which is one of the five pillars of its Strategic Management Plan 2020-2024,” he said.

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Pantami urges digital economy progress

Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy, has told the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to increase its efforts to ensure the government’s digital economy agenda is realised.

Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami

Pantami’s call for action comes after Umar Garba Danbatta’s recent reappointment as executive vice-chairman of the NCC.

“The proactive decision to recommend Danbatta’s reappointment to the president for approval was to ensure stability in the telecommunications industry and consolidate on the gains and successes already recorded in the industry in the last five years of Danbatta’s leadership as the EVC of NCC,” Pantami said.

The minister urged Danbatta to work effectively with the ministry and agencies to ensure the thorough implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) as well as the new National Broadband Plan (NBP) for 2020 to2025.

With the Covid-19 pandemic seeing many individuals and organisations relying more on digital platforms for work and collaboration, Pantami said President Muhammadu Buhari was currently focusing on boosting the digital economy.

“The success of the commission is our collective responsibility,” he continued. “While we, as a ministry, do our best to formulate general industry policy and supervise the activities of the commission, I will urge the NCC family to be united, remove all lines of demarcation, ensure justice, fairness in all decisions and, above all, ensure harmonious relationships. This task lies on the table of the EVC.

“So, we expect the NCC, as the telecoms regulator, to take the issue of digital economy very seriously and give it all the attention it deserves within the commission.”

In response, Danbatta said: “I consider my reappointment as the EVC of NCC for another five years as an honour and a show of the confidence the honourable minister and the president have in our efforts at NCC in the last five years.

“We would like to assure the honourable minister of our commitment, as a commission, to work with the ministry and other agencies under the ministry’s supervision towards advancing the frontiers of digital economy in Nigeria.”

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Danbatta reappointed to NCC

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has reappointed Umar Danbatta as executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Umar Danbatta

The appointment was based on the recommendation of the honourable minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.

Danbatta, who was appointed in 2015, will continue serving as NCC vice chairman and CEO for another five years, in an effort to consolidate the gains made in the telecoms sector in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy.

In a statement, Danbatta was urged to improve on the overall performance of the commission as well as ensure mechanisms are put in place to allow the implementation of government policies.

“Furthermore, the honourable minister enjoined him to ensure the interest of telecommunication consumers, Nigerians and investors are adequately protected,” the statement reads.

Danbatta obtained his BEng and MSc degrees from the Technical University of Wroclaw in Poland and his PhD from the University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology in the UK.

He also served as a telecoms lecturer in the department of electrical engineering, faculty of technology at Bayero University in Kano for 28 years. He was Dean of Faculty, head of department, deputy and acting dean of students, and later the director of the centre for information technology.

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NCC to build ICT parks around Nigeria

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) plans to build six information and communication technology parks in each of the six geo-political zones across the country.

Umar Danbatta

The project involves the construction and equipping of fully functional tier-four digital industrial complexes in four ICT parks, one each in Abeokuta for the south-west; Enugu for the south-east, Maiduguri for the north-east and Kano for the north-west, while the parks for the north-central and south-south regions will be established soon.

Aimed at promoting socio-economic transformation in Nigeria, the ICT parks have been designed to have fast internet services and constant power supplies.

They will provide innovation labs and digital fabrication laboratories for use by ICT innovators and entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into products and prototypes, as well as a commercial hub for ICT capacity building and digital skills, create employment and entrepreneurial activities and facilitate smart city deployment across the complex.

The move will also support the government’s ICT–related policies by facilitating the availability and accessibility of ICT services across the country and promote their usage across all sectors.

Umar Danbatta, the executive vice chairman of NCC, said: “The whole idea of putting these two things – skill acquisition and innovation – at the forefront of this very important initiative is to produce youths that can be self-reliant, generate employment for themselves and for other Nigerians.

“The NCC ICT parks project is another move by the leadership of the commission to boost youth digital skills acquisition, promote innovations, provide jobs for Nigerian youth and ultimately support the overall digital economy agenda of the federal government.

“Going forward, we hope to see software development, incubation and hardware development coming out from the ICT parks. We also hope to see innovative applications that will leverage the broadband network, which the commission is deepening in order to socially and economically transform our communities and societies,” he added.

He urged young people to be prepared to use the initiative in order to be empowered both socially and economically.

“I would like to send out a very important message to our youths, especially those who are currently occupied with various innovative applications, those who have acquired the skills but are looking for where to put the skills to fruitful engagements, by incubating them, commercialising them, or giving publicity to these excellent initiatives, to be ready to leverage this facilities,” he said.

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NCC dismises 5G, Covid-19 fears

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has moved to assure the public that there is no correlation between 5G technology and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Henry Nkemadu

Despite a lack of evidence, rumours and conspiracy theories have spread online in Nigeria and other countries linking the deployment of 5G with the outbreak.

NCC public affairs director Henry Nkemadu said 5G was merely an advancement on today’s 4G technology, designed to transform the world positively.

“The NCC, back in November 2019, approved trial test for 5G for a period of three months, and the trial has been concluded and installation decommissioned,” he said. “The trial, among others, was to study and observe any health or security challenges the 5G network might present. Relevant stakeholders, including members of the security agencies, were invited to participate during the trial.”

Nkemadu added that the NCC would continue to maintain its policy of technology neutrality and to encourage service providers to deploy the best technology to meet the needs of society in a secure and friendly manner.

In same vein, the minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim, confirmed in a press statement that no licence has been issued for the deployment of 5G network services in Nigeria.

“The National Frequency Management Council, of which I am the chairman, has not deliberated on or released any bulk frequency spectrum for the deployment of 5G. No licence has been issued for the deployment of 5G in the country,” the statement read.

“As part of the study trial process, I directed the Nigerian Communications Commission to ensure that a team of experts, security agencies and other stakeholders fully participate in the trial process and my office also invited these agencies to participate in the trial; and the trial process has been concluded and the study and reporting process is currently ongoing.

“Our desire for technological advancement will never be at the expense of the health and welfare of our citizens. The federal government will not act on the speculations only, but rather we will take an informed decision on 5G after due consultation with experts and the public.

“We advise you all to remain rest assured that government will always take the welfare, health and security of the public into account while considering the deployment of any technology.”

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NCC’s Onwuegbuchulam steps down

Felicia Ngozi Onwuegbuchulam has retired from her position as director, Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Felicia Onwuegbuchulam with her husband Chief Charles Onwuegbuchulam (left) and Umar Danbatta

Her professionalism and contribution to the NCC’s corporate governance process bolstered the regulatory efforts of the commission, according to Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman and chief executive of NCC.

Onwuegbuchulam was one of the commission’s most innovative management staff, said Danbatta. She introduced many innovations to ensure effective delivery of the commission’s mandate, especially to strengthen consumer protection in the telecoms industry.

Danbatta said: “We will greatly miss her as she retires from the service of the commission. She introduced a lot of innovations in all the departments where she had the privilege to serve while in the commission, and she has really advanced the delivery of NCC’s regulatory mandates.”

Onwuegbuchulan is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, fellow of the West African Society for Communication and Administration and a member of the Association of Business Managers and Administration of Nigeria.

She worked in the finance services department, audit department and the Universal Service Provision Fund before her deployment to the CAB, where she became director in March 2018.

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Illegal broadcast stations shut down

The Nigerian Copyright Commission and the Department of State Services (DSS) have shut down three stations in Abia state for pirating the broadcast signals of rights owners including StarTimes and MultiChoice.

John Asein

NCC Rivers state office coordinator Ifeoma Ezinma said raids on Popular Broadcasting Service (PBS) and Modern Communication Limited (MCL)’s  premises uncovered equipment including broadcasting decoders for Ben Sports and Canal+, and those for the retransmission of StarTimes, Communications Trends Nigeria Limited TV and MultiChoice Nigeria content.

Ezinma said: “Based on intelligence and surveillance reports, the broadcast facilities of PBS and MCL being used for copyright infringement activities were confiscated on Thursday March 12, while employees engaged in broadcast piracy were arrested during joint-enforcement operations by three separate teams of NCC and DSS operatives.

“Following months of surveillance and intelligence-gathering, the illicit broadcast operations at the three facilities located in Aba and Umuahia in Abia state were interrupted when copyright inspectors from NCC and DSS operatives raided the facilities.”

NCC director-general John Asein added: “The joint operation is a demonstration of a common objective of relevant agencies to ensure that the laudable economic policies being introduced by government are not thwarted by the illegal activities of unscrupulous persons.”

Asein also appealed to the public to desist from patronising copyright pirates and urged them to report suspected copyright violations to the commission.

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