Nigeria’s senate has confirmed the appointment of Umar Danbatta as executive vice-chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for a second term of five years.
The confirmation follows the release of a senate committee report on communications, presented by committee member Opeyemi Bamidele, who said Danbatta met the requirements expected of him.
Bamidele said: “The committee met and carried out the screening exercise and the nominee responded well. The senate does confirm the appointment of Umar Danbatta as the executive vice-chairman and chief executive officer.”
In his second term, Danbatta will look to consolidate some of the gains of the last five years. In February, the NCC announced a new national broadband plan targeting 70% broadband penetration in Nigeria and 90% 4G coverage by 2025.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)’s Umar Garba Danbatta is waiting for the Senate to confirm his reappointment as chief telecoms regulator for another five years.
Danbatta, executive vice chairman and CEO of the NCC, whose record was discussed recently during a Senate screening committee meeting, was applauded for his performance and leadership, which has helped accelerate the growth of the telecoms sector.
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari announced his intention to reappoint Danbatta last month, pending confirmation by the Senate.
According to committee member Ibrahim Oloriegbe, the screening and confirmation exercise is in accordance with the Nigerian Communications Commission Act (NCA) 2003.
Danbatta said the implementation of NCC’s strategic eight-point agenda, which he put in place when he assumed office in 2015, provided the basis for most of the commission’s achievements.
He thanked the lawmakers for their support and pledged his renewed commitment to further accelerate the growth of the telecoms industry as the key driver of the country’s digital economy vision over the next five years.
“As a commission, we are committed to challenging our current achievements. Consequently, we are poised to work more with the National Assembly and other necessary stakeholders in order to ensure we take Mr President’s digital agenda for the country to the next level in the next five years,” he said.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has created a digital economy department responsible for implementing digital programmes and the federal government’s policies.
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.
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has reappointed Umar Danbatta as executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
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.
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.
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.
Felicia Ngozi Onwuegbuchulam has retired from her position as director, Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
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.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been named outstanding regulator of the year.
Presented to the commission at a ceremony on Victoria Island, Lagos, the award was received by NCC public affairs director Henry Nkemadu on behalf of executive vice-chairman Umar Danbatta.
Nkemadu said: “The award is a testament to the untiring efforts of the commission in creating an enabling environment for all telecom stakeholders. It is also a call for the commission to do more for the consumers.”
He added that the NCC was committed to ensuring high-quality service for consumers and would put in place well-monitored measures toward protecting telecoms consumers and consolidating the gains of the Nigerian telecoms sector.
The Nigerian Communications Commission has revealed that poor power supply and insufficient fibre infrastructure would slow down the deployment of 5G network in Nigeria.
Bako Wakil, director, technical standards and network integrity at the NCC, gave the warning at a special session held by the commission about the benefits and challenges of deploying 5G, as part of Social Media Week Lagos.
According to Wakil, the commission does not have the ability to improve the power supply in the country and the poor state of the supply in the country needs to be addressed by other sectors of the economy.
He said that while the federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is coordinating the NCC, the National Frequency Management Council and the National Broadband Plan should address broadband infrastructure problems.
He said: “Power infrastructure is a major challenge we will witness in the deployment of 5G across the country. As it stands today, all the base stations in the country are running on 24-hour generators and this is not good for the deployment of 5G because it’s latency is very small.
“Also, fibre infrastructure in the country is not enough to deploy 5G in the country. We do not have fibre capacity across the country. These two major infrastructures are crucial impediments in the deployment of 5G in the country.”
Kenneth Uzoekwe, an assistant director in the spectrum administration department of the commission, said: “There is enough spectrum bands that have been identified and can be used for the deployment of 5G. Six spectrum bands have been identified, so I can say we have enough. All we need now is to finalise the re-planning and re-farming, so that those occupying certain spectra can be relocated to other bands.”
Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), received a special recognition award for his contribution to the growth of digital space in Nigeria at the 2020 GAGE Awards.
The awards ceremony, held at Eko Hotels, Victoria Island, Lagos, celebrates excellence in areas of entertainment, information, inspiration, innovation and business.
The convener of the GAGE Awards, Johnson Anorh, said the event was a comprehensive celebration of outstanding individuals and brands who had positively impacted lives by leveraging the power of the internet.
“GAGE Awards select from a wealth of talent and professionals within the Nigerian and African digital ecosystem annually. Africa’s digital science is emerging and celebrating digital ingenuity will only help raise the standard of how things are currently, which in turn will be beneficial and improve quality service delivery to all,” Anorh said.
“It will also fast-track the pace of development and attract new talent. These key points are the objective of the GAGE Awards as it seeks to make the African digital scene the focus of the world.”
According to Abraham Oshadami, NCC’s head of information technology, who represented Danbatta at the event, the commission would continue to improve in all areas of its services.
Adeolu Akande has been inaugurated as chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) board by Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the country’s minister of communications and digital economy.
Akande’s inauguration comes shortly after his appointment was confirmed by the senate, despite opposition by some members.
Pantami urged Akande to “hit the ground running,” adding: “You have a huge task ahead of you. The appointment should not be seen as a privilege, but as a responsibility, and the primary interest of the board should be the primary interest of Nigeria.”
The minister also advised NCC board members not to interfere with the management of the commission, noting that it is the management’s responsibility to run the NCC’s day-to-day affairs. “There should not be conflict; we should maintain our demarcations,” he added.
Akande said: “The board will achieve the objectives and its mandate. NCC has a huge role to play, majorly in the security of the country. I give you the commitment we will work in harmony.”
Social networking platform Facebook is set to partner with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to improve connectivity and infrastructure development.
At a conference held at the NCC, it was decided there was need for infrastructure expansion in the country as a result of the connectivity gap in Nigeria.
Ibrahim Ba, a delegate from the company, said: “Facebook has started two connectivity projects in Edo and Ogun involving 800km of fibre connecting institutions and operators towers.
“Good infrastructure is the bedrock of Facebook and WhatsApp, and Instagram’s robust connectivity.”
He encouraged the partnership with the NCC, saying it will aid the infrastructure expansion in fibre connectivity and increase the ease of doing business in the country.
Edoyemi Ogoh, NCC’s deputy director of technical standards and network integrity, confirmed NCC’s commitment to aid the expansion of telecoms services in the country.
He said: “NCC’s stance is signalled in its adoption of the open-access model and the licensing of infrastructure companies to cascade fibre to the hinterland of Nigeria.”
He added that the commission was finalising processes to institute the Dig Once policy, which will encourage key players in infrastructure to have better partnerships in the laying of fibre as it relates to the upcoming 2020-2025 national broadband plan.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed it is ready to roll out fifth-generation (5G) mobile broadband licensing.
Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the NCC, told the International Telecommunication Union’s Telecom World event in Budapest, Hungary, that the 26, 38 and 42GHz spectrum frequencies have been reserved for 5G.
“We are waiting in anticipation for the standardisation process to be completed at the World Radio Communication in Egypt and then we can see how we can go forward with licensing process in the three frequencies,” he said.
“The other important step that African countries are taking is to address new forms of social anxiety occasioned by this emerging technology, 5G. There’s also the regulatory anxiety. Therefore, to do that, because of the practice we had in the past, every service we deploy is normally preceded by proof-of-concept trials. And 5G is not an exception.
“This is ongoing in Nigeria. The steps we are taking during the trials will involve the security agencies, who have a say on the security dimension of this new technology when it’s eventually rolled out. So we want to ensure they are fully involved.”
The NCC boss said the 5G roll-out will enhance broadband mobile services in various countries as well as address the anxiety of citizens by giving information about this important new technology.
“Whether all African countries will be ready by 2020 for the roll-out of commercial 5G services is something I cannot answer immediately, but I know our state of readiness is such that spectrum is being reserved in many countries and many are also doing trials. Nigeria is getting ready to do this trial.
“In Nigeria, we have divided the country into seven zones, and each has been assigned an infrastructure company to deploy broadband infrastructure.”
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) have been directed by the federal government to achieve the International Standard Organisation (ISO) certification.
Speaking at a National Information and Technology Agency (NITDA) event in Abuja, communications minister Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami said the certification gives an organisation credibility and global recognition.
“The agencies under this ministry should stop the old ways of doing things and start taking their mandates to the next level. Heads of the agencies should make their staff understand that they could lose their jobs if they perform below standard,” he said.
“ISO certification changes the perception of staff of any agency that has received it. I saw this myself when I was in NITDA and it has been testified to by many people. I believe these is no single staff of NITDA that this certification has not changed significantly.”
Pantami added that he was glad more companies and public institutions in Africa were getting ISO certifications.
The recent move by Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari to license radio and television stations has sparked a mixed reaction.
While some commentators support the development, saying it will sanitise the online space and stop incendiary web-broadcast sites from fanning the embers of hate and division, others feel the move is inherently wrong.
Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, defended the move, which is part of wide-ranging reforms of the broadcasting industry. “Web TVs and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into Nigeria, will be licensed because we must bring sanity into this industry,” he said.
Online radio and television stations, known as over-the-top (OTT) services, are accessed by most internet users today. The Nigerian Communications Commission is under pressure about how and when to regulate OTT players, which have been described as a serious threat to traditional telecoms operators.
Although the NCC has repeatedly claimed that it will not regulate technology, stakeholders have called on the organisation to look for ways to curb the growing influence of OTT players such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, Wechat, Telegram, Viber, Skype and Imo.
Umar Danbatta, the NCC’s executive vice chairman and CEO, has urged mobile operators to restructure their business models to increase revenue in the face of challenges raised by OTT services.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has named an existing exec as its new director of public affairs.
Dr Henry Chukwudumeme Nkemadu’s appointment comes at a crucial time, with the regulator upping the ante in terms of its oversight of the Nigerian media industry, according to NCC executive vice-chairman Umar Garba Danbatta.
Nkemadu first joined the NCC in 2003 as its principal business development manager, handling proposals on capacity-building initiatives in liaison with international agencies.
He has worked in a variety of roles for the NCC, including a stint as head of special intervention projects. He also holds multiple degrees from universities in Nigeria and the US,.
“Dr Henry has had a rewarding opportunity of traversing the entire telecom regulatory ecosystem, which experience he will find handy as the new spokesman of the commission,” Danbatta said.