THERE are indications that Nigeria may, very soon, have first Information and Communications Technology, ICT University in the country, to underscore the rapid growth and pervasive diversified business culture technology has engendered in the nation.
Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu dropped the hint exclusively to Hi-Tech when he visited the corporate headquarters of Vanguard media limited, recently in Lagos.
Level of infrastructure
Establishing the university, according to the minister, became imperative after evaluating the level of infrastructure and facilities at the Digital Bridge Institute, DBI, located in Oshodi, Lagos, during a recent visit.
He noted that the DBI which is currently a Nigerian International Centre for Information and Communications Studies, could be converted to a full blown ICT university since such centres now lack patronage.
The Minister said that after his tour of the facilities, it became obvious to him that the country was sitting on gold mine, describing the facilities he saw as low hanging technology fruits that needed exploiting. “The centre will be converted to ICT University where people will be trained in the Information Communication Technology development. ICT goes beyond Computer as a course. There is hidden treasure in the DBI which government is not exploiting. The state of ICT facilities in the centre is strong.”
Sanction looms on nsolicited messages: The Minister also promised to have a meeting with the Nigerian mobile operators on issues bordering on drop calls, unsolicited text messages, exploitative data bundle pricing among others.
Expressing frustration at several complaints from scores of telecoms consumers on dropped calls and other network related issues, the Minister revealed that his Ministry may have to resort to sanctions on mobile operators who fail to address these issues.
For him, broadband infrastructure is key to continued sustenance of the economy and so, his Ministry will engage the operators to invest on broadband development in the country.
The Minister also disclosed that the country needed additional two communications satellites to serve as a backup to the existing one.
“The existing satellite is not optimally used. If the one we have now collapses, the country will lose a lot of data. There is need to have alternative for backup. I will initiate policy that will make agencies to patronize the satellite. That is the only way to promote and encourage government effort.
Meanwhile, true to his promise, Shittu also stormed Lagos Monday in what he described as “visit to seek collaboration on policy, infrastructural development and patronage of indigenous companies.”
Local content policy: The visit was to MainOne, MTN and Globacom and after inspection of their respective facilities and closed door meetings that followed, Shittu challenged the operators to commit more to the growth sustenance of the ICT sector, promising that government will protect their businesses.
Level of ICT dependency
According to him, “my main aim of being here is to support all Nigerian enterprises to grow and with the help of government, we want to ensure that Nigeria achieves the highest level of ICT dependency which will also translate to self sufficiency. I am therefore seeking collaboration on policy, infrastructural development and patronage of indigenous companies. We need to patronize our local companies our patronage of foreign companies, will only encourage capital flight.
On our part, we will ensure that policies that will enable proper patronage of indigenous companies are put in place.”
Minister commends Glo: At Globacom the minister commended company on its several laudable contributions to the growth of many sectors of the economy including, sports, banking, oil and Gas, entertainment and the telecommunications sector among others.
He said:”I am very grateful for the opportunity to be in Globacom today. I have been in Lagos close to six times since I assumed office as the minister but today is my first time to visit the major telecommunication giants in the country.
Per seconds billing
Glo is a proudly Nigerian company owned by a Nigerian who believes in himself and who knows that there is nothing anybody does to succeed that he can not do.
Before Glo came on board, communication was a very big problem in the country; people paid a lot to communicate. But the company came to the rescue of Nigerians, giving an average Nigerian an opportunity to communicate freely on phone. What seems to be impossible in the area of per seconds billing, Glo made it possible. Therefore every Nigerian deserves to respect and appreciate the company.
“When I saw how much Glo spends in sponsoring football award last year, I was shocked. And as a leader, I know what many Nigerian pass through in the hands of sickness and diseases therefore, I am pleading with the company to diversify its Corporate Social Responsibility to extend to health where lives of many Nigerians could be touched by improving the healthcare services.