Tag Archives: Nigerian Communications Commission

NCC launches Podcast Channel

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has launched the Global Connect Podcast Channel, aimed at reflecting the body’s core values of innovation and excellence and also expanding the frontiers of its social media platforms.

The move was announced by minister of communications and digital economy Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami during the unveiling of the NCC’s new Strategic Vision (Implementation) Plan (SVP) which took place at the Communications & Digital Economy Complex in Mbora, Abuja.

“In keeping with our commitment to ensuring a well-informed telecommunications sector, the Nigerian Communications Commission has expanded its level of social media engagement by providing another avenue for informing the public of its regulatory initiatives through the NCC Global Connect Podcast Channel.

“The Podcast Channel offers you a whole new experience on our social media engagement to stay up to date with our regulatory initiatives,” the Commission said on its Instagram page.

The NCC Global Connect Podcast is available on multiple directories including Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music and Google Podcasts.

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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 to partner Nigerian universities

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has pledged to work closer with universities in the country in order to transform Nigeria into a knowledge-based economy.

Adeolu Akande

Adeolu Akande, chair of the NCC board, made the vow during a visit by the board to Sagir Abbas, vice chancellor of Bayero University (BUK) in Kano state.

Ikechukwu Adinde, the NCC’s director of public affairs, said: “The NCC superintends a sector that is knowledge-driven and, therefore, it can only achieve its mandate with enhanced collaboration with institutions such as BUK. In the absence of the citadels of learning, one could only imagine what would have become of the communications industry.

“So, if we come to Kano, we need to come to the prime centre of learning in Kano and other universities across the state.”

Abbas said that the BUK’s management had been happy to cancel all of its engagements to receive the board as it demonstrated the university’s high regard for the NCC.

“NCC’s executive vice-chairman, Umar Danbatta, has served the university diligently, as lecturer, head of department, dean and director, and he was also a former VC at Kano University of Science & Technology. But wherever he goes, you’ll find him relating to his base. We hold him in very high esteem and we are always happy to see him and his team discharging the national assignment he is entrusted with,” said Abbas.

He noted that the university had received donations of computers, iPads and other benefits such as professorial endowments from the NCC, which have had positive impacts on the university’s academic programmes.

Abbas also appealed for more digital assistance from the commission to support the university in its efforts to provide virtual learning during the pandemic.

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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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Danbatta, NCC honoured at NTITA

Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice-chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has been awarded the Broadband Oxygenator of the Year award.

Umar Garba Danbatta

Receiving the honour as part of the Nigeria Tech Innovation & Telecoms Awards (NTITA) in Abuja, Danbatta was recognised for his commitment to the development of Nigeria’s broadband infrastructure to support the country’s digital economy drive.

In addition, the NCC received the Outstanding Contribution to Driving Greater Broadband Penetration award, while other industry stakeholders, including the minister of communications and digital economy Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, received other awards.

NCC and Danbatta’s awards come after the telecoms sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s GDP increased from 8.5% in 2015 to 14.3% as of the second quarter of 2020, translating to N2.272 trillion (US$5.9bn) in financial value.

Olusola Teniola, president of Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria, one of the organisations behind the NTITA, said: “Our thinking is that if we decide to ignore the contribution that our sector has made to the development of Nigeria by not recognising the actors that made it possible, what we are saying invariably is that we are unappreciative of their concerted efforts in changing the story of our industry.”

Teniola added that he hoped the awards would spur the Nigerian government to pay more attention to the sector and encourage state governments to continue to support the efforts of the industry to transform their various states into digital cities.

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NCC boss receives award

Umar Garba Danbatta, the executive vice-chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has been awarded a National Service Excellence Award.

Umar Danbatta

National Association of State Assembly Legislators (NASAL) honoured Danbatta with the award in recognition of his transformational leadership in deepening access to telecommunications services across Nigeria in the last five years.

NASAL director general Uchechukwu Chukwuma, who led a five-member delegation to the commission to present the award in Abuja, said the award also recognised Danbatta’s role as a change agent, a catalyst for national development and a great Nigerian patriot.

“Danbatta’s efforts have manifested in enhanced access to the internet by our people, which has given them the opportunity to participate and ventilate their views constructively,” Chukwuma said.

“As you know, citizens’ participation in political activities is one of the attributes of an ideal democracy, and Professor Danbatta has helped to promote this ideal.

“The NASAL’s award to Danbatta is justified by the statistics from the commission, which showed that when Danbatta came on board five years ago, 217 access gap clusters were identified in the country, with 40 million Nigerians excluded from access to telecoms services. Five years after, however, the access gaps have reduced to 114 clusters, with additional 15 million Nigerians now connected.”

NCC director of public affairs Ikechukwu Adinde, who accepted the award on behalf of Danbatta, said: “It is heartwarming that NASAL has found our EVC and CEO deserving of this award. The award is an acknowledgement that his accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. We at the NCC value this gesture, which writes the history of Professor Danbatta’s achievements in a very distinctive and enduring way.

“From the recent industry statistics and other relevant macro indicators, the telecoms sector, under Danbatta, has recorded positive growth in terms of active voice subscriptions, internet subscriptions, teledensity, broadband penetration and contribution to the gross domestic product.”

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Senate confirms Danbatta’s reappointment

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.

Umar Danbatta

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.

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Senate set to confirm regulator’s job

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.

Umar Garba Danbatta

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.

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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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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’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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NCC named regulator of the year

Henry Nkemadu (right) receives the NCC’s award

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.

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Power supply issues ‘could slow 5G’

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.”

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NCC’s Danbatta picks up GAGE gong

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.

Umar Danbatta

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.

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Akande inaugurated as NCC chairman

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.

Adeolu Akande

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.”

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Facebook to partner NCC

The NCC’s Faceook conference

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.

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NCC set for mobile 5G trial

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed it is ready to roll out fifth-generation (5G) mobile broadband licensing.

Umar Garba Danbatta

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.”

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NCC, NigComSat told to get ISO certified

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.

Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami

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.

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TV, radio licensing stirs mixed feelings

The recent move by Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari to license radio and television stations has sparked a mixed reaction.

Lai Mohammed

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.

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