Belgian officials announced Monday they had broken up a cocaine smuggling gang, arresting 27 people in a series of raids during which they seized drugs, guns and luxury goods — including horses.
Prosecutors suspect the gang had already brought in more than 15 tonnes of cocaine via the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam, and suspect a Colombian link. At the request of the Belgian investigating magistrate, police arrested another suspect in Spain.
Most of the Belgian police raids, in which around 300 officers were involved, were carried out at 23 separate addresses in the eastern Liege region, said a statement from federal prosecutors.
While the network is based in the eastern, French-speaking part of Belgium, it was also active in the Dutch-speaking part of the country as well as in Spain and the Netherlands said prosecutors.
Among the places police raided were a drugs lab where cocaine was being processed, a storage facility for the chemicals they were using, and nearly 600 kilos of cocaine.
“The presence of Colombian suspects working in different places has been confirmed,” said the prosecutors office, though they did not say whether any Colombians were among those arrested.
Police also seized firearms, cars, encrypted mobile phones, luxury watches and even horses. The loose cocaine they seized added up to more than 1.6 tonnes worth an estimated 80 million euros ($93 billion), prosecutors added.
Investigators think the same network was also active in the growth and sale of cannabis, using encrypted communications sent on Sky ECC devices sold by Canada-based firm Sky Global.
Belgian police seized cocaine worth more than a billion euros back in April after a two-year investigation during which they managed to cracked the system’s encrypted communications — part of a Europe-wide operation.
Belgium and the Netherlands have become the main hubs of cocaine trafficking in Europe, replacing Spain, according to a report by Europol in September.
In 2020, cocaine seizures at the port of Antwerp came to 65.6 tonnes, a new record. The top three countries supplying the drug are Colombia, Brazil and Ecuador.
Source Credit: TheGuardian
In the increasingly competitive energy sector, operational efficiency and better utilisation of resources are keys to growth. For one of Southern Africa’s leading energy utilities, a move to a next-generation business suite has creates the opportunity to unlock new capacity for innovation and improved productivity, which will drive the organisation’s performance.
“Our corporate strategy and business plan for 2019-2023 set an ambitious goal to focus on technology advances in our product offering, to allow us to meet the future demands and expectations of our customers and employees,” says Isac Tjombonde, Divisional Manager: Information Services at NamPower. “As an organisation, it was important for us to also be efficient in our operations. We embarked on a mission to deliver this promise through implementing SAP S/4HANA, the next-generation go-to business suite for building an intelligent enterprise.”
NamPower is Namibia’s national power utility. The state-owned enterprise was formed in 1996 and supplies bulk electricity to Regional Electricity Distributors (REDs), mines, farms and local authorities (where REDs are not operational) throughout Namibia.
Isac Tjombonde and their team opted for an on-premise implementation, which involved converting its current SAP ECC solution into the S/4HANA platform. “This gave us the unique ability to utilise our talent pool and the current processes as the foundation, which translated intoa fast implementation window, while giving us the ability to adapt the new functionality in the S/4HANA suite. After we considered the benefits, costs and practicalities for each of the three S/4HANA Move options, we opted for a system conversion implementation. This decision was critical to seamless business process migration and business continuity.”
S/4HANA move unlocks business value, innovation potential
NamPower has been an SAP customer for nearly two decades, using solutions such as SAP ERP Central Component, Business Warehouse, SAP Business Intelligence and SAP Fiori applications.
“From our perspective, the possibility of increased business value and opportunity for changing our business processes for better business outcomes was clear. We wanted to move to S/4HANA to have access to new innovations, such as embedded real-time analytics, improved user experiences, faster response times and better performance with HANA database, as well as the possibility to adopt new technologies such as machine learning and IoT in our business processes.”
The implementation team commenced the discovery phase of the project in September 2019, working towards a four-day go-live period in October 2020. To achieve the afore-mentioned, the team had to overcome some challenges along the way.
NamPower’s existing ERP was running on an operating system that wasn’t supported by S/4HANA, and the team had to work carefully to move the SAP database to the supported operating system prior to the conversion to S/4HANA.
“We have been using SAP ERP for 18 years, and had a number of additional add-ons installed,” says Mr Tjombonde. “One of our previous add-on modules was no longer supported in the S/4HANA environment. As a result, we had to navigate the complexity of removing the unsupported add-on.”
Ease of implementation reduces go-live time
Isac Tjombonde initially planned for a four-day go-live. However, thanks to the efforts of the team this was reduced to two days. “Having gone through the implementation using our internal resources, we can testify that the SAP tools for system implementation have improved to the point where customers can manage a successful project using their internal resources. We ended up completing the go-live in a mere two days, with minimal disruption to our business productivity, while ensuring seamless migration and business continuity.”
Since the go-live, NamPower expects to generate business value out of S/4HANA along multiple value drivers, including:
“We will also leverage the Innovation Management Module within S/4HANA for a transition to using IoT in the operation of our energy plants, which will integrate to the digital core ERP data,” says Isac Tjombonde. “We hope to address other areas for innovation and improvement through S/4HANA such as the inclusion of call centre optimisation to put us on the path to better customer experiences; an even faster billing process; reduced invoice error rates; customer self-service; improved analytics; and achieving operational excellence through Intelligent Asset Management.”
Cameron Beveridge, Regional Director for Southern Africa at SAP, notes NamPower’s clear path to value for its latest S/4HANA deployment as an area of excellence. “With a team rich in experience using SAP technology to drive business performance, NamPower has achieved an outstanding implementation. With its new digital core and the embedded ability to integrate next-generation technologies such as IoT and machine learning, NamPower has set itself on a path toward becoming an intelligent enterprise, one that can adapt to changing customer and market needs.”
Companies wishing to transform their operations through digital technologies often face a hard choice: stay with a legacy system and make the best of a legacy investment, or transition to a new digital platform but risk causing disruption in the lives of customers, partners and employees.
For one African pharmaceutical company, neither option was suitable, and so an exemplary digital transformation project was initiated that would completely transform its systems without any disruption to the business or its customers.
Kiara Health (Pty) Ltd is an African pharmaceutical manufacturing and healthcare solutions company headquartered in Johannesburg. It serves as a the local, non-exclusive manufacturing partner for a global top five pharmaceutical company and as a commercial partner for several global pharmaceutical and medical technology companies.
The acquisition by Kiara Health of a multinational pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, sold to fulfil a need for transformation in the local pharmaceutical sector, sees the dawn of a new type of pharmaceutical company that offers an end-to-end solution along the patient journey. Kiara Health, a 100% black-owned company, purchased this plant together with twenty-five marketing authorisations.
Kiara Health’s leadership was left with a vital decision: keep to the highly-customised SAP ECC system of the outgoing multinational company (with cost-prohibitive separation terms), or invest in a standalone cloud-based digital platform to streamline operations. They chose a turn-key ERP system by SAP to support its operations.
Dr Skhumbuzo Ngozwana, CEO and President of Kiara Health, says that the driving force behind the leadership team’s decision was to ensure that their customers do not suffer due to a transition to the new system. “We partnered with Seidor Westrocon and adopted SAP S/4HANA to simplify and automate our end-to-end processes, from product ordering through to production, packaging and distribution. We achieved go-live in four months, and within budget, with no disruption to our business. This implementation is potentially unprecedented in an organisation of similar size and type.”
This decision has proven to be a success story as the transition from the old multinational modified system to the implementation of an off-the-shelf SAP offering ensured that the production facility remained operational throughout the SARS-CoV-2 lockdown period. Without any teething problems that would halt manufacturing, no employee jobs were put at risk due to the lockdown.
“This decision was taken by an extremely agile and highly qualified team of experts within Kiara Health and fully supports President Cyril Ramaphosa’s South African Economic Recovery Plan to generate 800,000 jobs,” says Dr Ngozwana. “Kiara Health sees these executions as part of their mission to progress the health of all on the continent, underpinned by job creation and not ‘job saving’.”
The manufacturing site previously operated on a complex and expensive legacy enterprise resource planning system. However, with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, local manufacturing capability became more important than ever for new owners, Kiara Health. The company needed a system that could increase throughput by streamlining processes across business areas, and which could place greater control in the hands of the leadership team.
“We consolidated our operations on a standalone cloud-based digital platform with SAP S/4HANA Cloud,” says Dr Ngozwana. “This off-the-shelf solution gave us a flexible yet standardised system that is adaptable to our needs, allowing us to maintain best-practice. It has also future-proofed the digital foundation of our business, and enables our Industry 4.0 aspirations for the future.”
The implementation involved all Kiara Health stakeholders that are currently still involved in ensuring world-class manufacturing from the site. These experts worked in close collaboration with implementation partner Seidor Westrocon to develop a deep understanding of each department’s responsibilities, and how the SAP processes can support them.
“The transition from working in multinational company silos to operating as a team has improved our internal responsiveness and enabled significant value creation across our supply chain, procurement and manufacturing processes,” says Moosa Areff, Kiara Health Chief Operating Officer.
The implementation team streamlined Kiara Health’s procure-to-pay processes to shorten the time between order placement and goods receipt. Following the implementation, the company has reduced its days to close from eight days to one, greatly improving cash planning.
“We have tightly integrated and simplified on-time delivery processes to enable our team to get through work faster and troubleshoot with full visibility,” says Dr Ngozwana. “Each team member can diagnose any challenge to understand what is impacting production or the release of the end-product. The improved usability and support has helped us reduce the total cost of ownership by 10%, while our on-time and in-full delivery performance has improved from 80-85% to 100% – an outstanding achievement.”
Following the implementation, Kiara Health has enjoyed higher settlement discounts and improved brand reputation thanks to direct payment cycles. Costs are also contained due to greater visibility and through leveraging economies-of-scale in the procurement process.
“Our business is now more responsive as our planning and production teams are connected to our warehouse,” says Conrad Strydom, Kiara Health Head of Site . “We are also enjoying greater end-user sourcing compliance and increased savings in sourcing, in both direct and indirect spend. As a whole, the implementation of SAP S/4HANA has empowered our teams to make better decisions and improve the total performance of our business, setting us up for a bright future.”
On Kiara Health’s role in the implementation, Martin Van Wyk, Managing Director of Seidor Westrocon says the collaboration was first class. “The Kiara Health and Seidor Westrocon teams worked unwaveringly during the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa, and pulled off the project and go-live together. The contribution from the Kiara Health leadership team, with their deep understanding of their business operations, extensive process knowledge and SAP expertise, was a considerable game-changer, making this mammoth task achievable. A big thank you to this team.”
Cameron Beveridge, Regional Director for Southern Africa at SAP, says Kiara Health has reduced complexity in its environment through greater control across its operations. “By building its operations on the powerful S/4HANA digital platform, Kiara Health has achieved immediate business benefits while enabling greater future innovation and easing the process of integrating Industry 4.0 innovations. Transforming its total operations in a mere four months with no impact on product or service delivery is a great accomplishment by Kiara Health and its implementation partner Seidor Westrocon.”
The Federal Government has commissioned five Information Communication Technology (ICT) Centres in the country, in its quest to develop Nigeria into a digital economy by 2030.
Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, performed the ceremony virtually at the Communications and Digital Complex, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Pantami also launched digital capacity awareness programmes in three states -Ekiti, Anambra and Lagos State at the event.
He said the projects were in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s three priority areas of ensuring economic development, securing the country, and fighting corruption.
Pantami said that the ministry was mandated to develop a national digital economy policy for a digital Nigeria with eight pillars by the president.
He said that the eight pillars included developmental regulation, digital skills, solid infrastructure, service infrastructure, digital services, soft infrastructure, digital society and emerging technologies, indigenous content development and promotion.
“Today is batch seven of our commissioning of projects as it was earlier said, the projects are in alignment with the three priority areas of President Muhammadu Buhari that is, economic development, security and fighting corruption.
“These are the three priority areas of the President and we always try to ensure that the projects that we execute are directly related to these three priority areas,” he said.
Pantami said that globally, the traditional economy was being relegated by the digital economy starting from 2016.
“It is because of this that we feel it is necessary that we try to diversify our economy by focusing more on digital economy.
“However, let me clear it that we have projects in each and every state of the federation for example, 19 emergency communications centre are so far operational and we plan to continue completing the remaining by the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021.
“When it comes to smart agriculture, there is a project and training that is being conducted from one state to another, the same with a digital awareness programme for secondary schools.
“So, these projects are ongoing and we do hope that within the time frame that we have in office, we will be able to ensure that each and every state benefit from all these interventions.
“Furthermore, I want to re-emphasise here that if you look at the projects being executed by the ministry and the parastatals, you will discover that in each state, we have a minimum of four to five projects so far,” he said.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion and Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State said communication technology and digital infrastructure were very key to attaining Buhari’s vision for Nigeria.
“There’s no way we’re going to increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) there’s no way we’re going to improve the economy of Nigeria if you do not make giant stride in the area of digital economy.
“That has been proven if we were in any doubt before now but the COVID-19 pandemic and the difficulty we had to face with physical contact which resulted virtual meeting just like the one we are having here today.
“I would like to further commit myself and my colleagues in the Nigerian Governors Forum to supporting any and all of these initiatives that they have put on the agenda of transformation in the communications sector, ” Fayemi said.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr Adeleke Mamora, expressed delight with the achievements made, especially in the area of human capital development innovation in the ICT sector.
Mamora congratulated Pantami for a job well done.
“I am really honored and excited to be part of this. If you are talking of human capital development, you will be looking at health and education in particular.
“We know what COVID 19 has brought to the entire world and human race, we are in the age of the new normal,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that some of the projects were – Emergency Communication Centre (ECC ) Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA), Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State and School Knowledge Centre (SKC) ljaloke Grammar School Emure, Ekiti State.
Edited By: Ali Baba-Inuwa
The Nigerian Communication Commission Corporate Headquarters
News Analysis by ObikeUkoh, News Agency of Nigeria
Since the establishment of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), it has been consistent in deepening and protecting the rights of consumers.
Indeed, one of the core mandates of the NCC is to protect the rights of telecom consumers in Nigeria.
At an interactive session recently in Abuja, Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, enumerated the efforts of the commission in the protection of the rights of telecom consumers.
Danbatta who was appointed NCC Executive Vice Chairman in November 2015 , and reappointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in June 2020 and confirmed by the Senate on July 21, 2020, reiterated the commitment of NCC to protect Nigeria’s telecom consumers.
“The consumer is king; hence our consumer-centric regulatory initiatives to ensure consumer protection; information and education have continued to top our agenda.
“To further empower consumers, in 2016 we introduced the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 Short Code, which gave consumers the power to opt-in or out of unsolicited messages on their respective networks.’’
The executive vice chairman said that it was because of the importance attached to consumer protection that the NCC declared 2017 as “ The Year of the Consumer,’’ and set out with various projects to bring telecom consumers closer to the commission and their various network operators.
“The commission also upgraded the NCC-Free number 522 as secondary complaints mechanism to further empower and resolve consumer complaints.
“We also issued directives on data roll-over and another on forceful subscription of data services and value-added services (VAS).
“The two directives have ensured effective protection of telecom consumers, Danbatta said.
He recalled that in 2019, the commission revised the NCC Consumer Complaints and Services Legal Agreement (s) with the operators in order to ensure prompt response to consumer complaints, and also reviewed the Consumer Code of Practice Regulations at a Public Inquiry.
“We initiated the Mobile Services Management Systems, in collaboration with other agencies aimed at protecting consumers from the negative effect of substandard devices on the networks and the health of telecom consumers.
“The Mobile Services Management Systems project, when fully implemented, will help in combating the proliferation of fake, counterfeit and cloned communication devices in the telecommunications industry.
“Similarly, we have developed regulations on E-Waste,’’ Danbatta added.
According to him, the regulations will ensure that we are also able to rid our environment of indiscriminate disposal of malfunctioning and disused gadgets, which are capable of posing health risks to consumers.
“I also need to mention our commitment in protecting the lives and property of telecom consumers by getting rid of improperly registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards. We conduct periodic audit of the networks to ensure the MNOs do not harbour improperly registered SIM cards on their networks any further,’’ he emphasised.
Danbatta announced that 19 Emergency Communications Centres (ECC) have been activated across the country.
“ The 112 national emergency number allows Nigerians in distress to get help in emergencies.
“The 112 number has become a major channel of communication during this COVID-19 period as over 1,200 COVID-19 related calls were made to the 112 national emergency toll free number between March and June 2020 from the various ECCs across the country.
When Danbatta spoke at the 2017 Lagos International Trade Fair and Exhibition, he reiterated the commitment of the commission in its fight against the abuse of customers’ rights and privileges.
He emphasised that consumers of telecommunications services deserved to get value for their money and be treated as very important stakeholders in the scheme of things as far as service delivery is concerned.
Danbatta maintained that his administration is fighting to protect consumers from unfair practices through availability of information and education to make informed choices in the use of ICT services.
“Our objective is to engage, empower, educate and inform the consumers about their rights and responsibilities, opportunities and solutions that are available in the industry.
“The essence of this is to reassure the consumers that the issue of protecting them from unfair practices is no mere talk.
“We have put the service providers on special notice about our current monitoring of user experience on issues of poor reception, wrong billings and deductions, automatic roll over among other issues, and if they fail to improve services to the detriment of the consumers, will face appropriate regulatory actions and sanctions,” he said.
The performance of NCC has not gone unnoticed, as Yahaya Garba, Commissioner for Federal Capital Territory of the Public Complaints Commission (PCC), during a visit in July 2019 to NCC headquarters in Abuja, commended the commission for effective protection of telecom consumers’ rights.
“For us at PCC, we would like to commend the NCC in recognition of its efforts in implementing the National Telecommunications Policy, regulating the telecom sector and protecting the rights of consumers and operating companies alike,” he said during the visit.
Garba particularly stated that PCC initiated the visit to get familiarised with the NCC’s functions and operations with regards to telecom consumer protection, deepen areas of collaboration and solicit ICT capacity building for PCC staff by the telecom regulator.
The NCC Executive Vice Chairman Danbatta, emerged the winner of the 2019 Zik Prize, in the professional leadership category.
Prof. Pat Utomi, member, Advisory Board of the Award, via a webinar on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, said that Danbatta and Mr Kennedy Uzoka, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of United Bank for Africa (UBA) are the winners in that category.
“Prof Umar Garba Danbatta is a square peg in a square hole. An academic professor, Danbatta has, through the NCC, led the charge to drive Nigeria’s industrial revolution and knowledge-based economy leveraging telecommunications,” he explained.
According to Prof. Utomi, telecom contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria has grown by 70 per cent from 2015 to 2020, whilst broadband penetration has leaped from 8 per cent to 42 per cent, in the same period.
“His leadership has enhanced transparency and innovation in the sector, such that recently, NCC was acknowledged by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), as one of Africa’s foremost regulator,” he observed.
In a letter of nomination in July 2020, jointly signed by the Chairman of the Board, Sen. Jubril Aminu and Utomi, the NCC boss was described as “an outstanding public servant, whose initiatives and reforms had contributed to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) playing a leading role in the socio-economic development of Nigeria.”
Zik Prize was set up in 1994 in honour of Nigeria’s first President, late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.
Besides deepening the protection of consumers’ rights, the NCC has also deepened the purse of the nation.
Danbatta, who spoke at the interactive session, said that the revenue was realised through spectrum fees and operating surplus, which he noted helped to boost the revenue generation drive of the present administration.
Danbatta also said that NCC had continued to collaborate with academics to support the development of the innovative services and life-changing solutions with the use of information and communications technologies to promote indigenous content.
“ The commission has so far released N336.4 million as research grants to the academia and has endowed professional chairs in two Nigerian universities.
“More importantly, we have empowered the Nigerian youth by promoting their ingenuity and innovation in the development of locally-relevant technology solutions.
“ The latest of such was the 2020 NCC Virtual Hackathon, where we gave N9 million in grant to three top promising tech startups for solutions, aimed at addressing the impact of COVID-19 and diseases in thematic areas of health, community, productivity, economy and transportation.’’
Danbatta, however, restated the commitment of the NCC to continue to protect consumers and ensure they have value for their money, and appealed to consumers to report any infraction by mobile network operators to NCC (NANFeatures)
**If used, please credit the writer as well as News Agency of Nigeria
The state Coordinator of ECC, Fatima Ibrahim, stated this at the inauguration of a five-day training programme for teachers, in Kano on Monday.
Ibrahim said that the exercise was designed to expose teachers to the ‘Radio in Media Child-centred methodology to aid teaching and learning in the early stage.
She said that the training was also aimed at meeting up with the one-year preprimary education curriculum, in line with the ‘Radio Chart’ methodology,
The coordinator added that participants at the exercise were drawn from Dambatta, Sumaila, Kano Municipal, Nasarawa, Gwale and Ungogo local government areas of the state.
“The training will improve skills to enable teachers improvise low cost materials to aid learning.
“ECC is to use propagation to educate the child through effective utilisation of improvised learning materials,” she said.
Ibrahim added that the training exercise was organised in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Two of the participants, Magajiya Usman and Hindatu Sani, commended the board and UNICEF for organising the training, saying that it would go a long way in enhancing teaching and learning process in the state.
Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq
The Ilorin and Calabar Emergency Communications Centres (ECCs), built by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), are ready to be put to judicious use.
The ECCs were inaugurated by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami alongside other nine projects under the Ministry scattered across the country on Tuesday in Abuja.
The ECC projects made it possible and easier for people of Ilorin and Calabar to dial 112 Emergency Number to get help during emergencies from appropriate emergency response agencies.
Over 19 of the ECCs had been activated while efforts were ongoing to extend it to other states.
They include: Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centre (TIKC), Delta State University, Abaraka; Virtual Examination Centre, University of Maiduguri: Information Technology Innovation Centre, Kogi State University; and Information Technology Capacity Building Centre, College of Education, Jigawa.
The others are: Information Technology Capacity Building Centre, FUTO, Imo State; e-Health/Data Sharing Centre, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Bauchi; New Neighborhood Post Office, Delta State and Remodeled National Mail Exchange Centre, Mbiama, Bayelsa State.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the projects are aimed at supporting the Federal Government’s agenda of enhancing security of lives and property in the country.
Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)
The 36 governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) have pledged to use all relevant data to ensure that palliatives distribution get to the most vulnerable persons in the most effective and efficient manner.
The forum gave the assurance in a communiqué issued on Thursday after its 4th teleconference meeting, which was signed by its Chairman and Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.
The communiqué noted that the governors at the meeting deliberated on the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and resolved as follows:
“The NGF Chairman briefed State Governors on ongoing COVID-
19 coordination efforts between the Forum and various organisations, including the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Coalition Against Covid (CACOVID) and MTN.
“The Forum received update from the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, on the response of his ministry to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The update include support to state governments to help them
identify vulnerable persons through a data mining study coordinated by the Nigerian Communications Commission with the support of telecommunications providers in the country.
“The Forum commended the Minister for taking a functional role in the COVID-19 response and assured him of their resolve to use all relevant data available to target palliatives to the most vulnerable persons in the most effective and efficient manner.”
It added that the governors were taking necessary measures to strengthen operations in their Emergency Communication Centres (ECCs).
The measures, according to the communiqué, were to improve the communication response between distressed citizens and Emergency Response Agencies (ERAs), including the State Emergency Agency, Ambulance, Police, Fire Service and the Federal Road Safety Corps.
It added that the operators would be resident in the ECCs to process distress calls and contact relevant ERAs.
The governors also resolved to adopt a new data on vulnerability profile of all states to strengthen the distribution of palliatives put in place and support from various organisations and persons.
This, according to the communiqué, followed an update from Olubayo Adekanmbi, Chief Transformation Officer, MTNNigeria, on ongoing work with the NGF Secretariat to estimate the vulnerability profile of all states.
“The vulnerability profile of all States based on their population age risk, international travel profile, population density and state contiguity, epidemiological metrics and spending patterns,” it stated.
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Muhammad Suleiman Tola
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, said that the digital economy plan launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday aimed at extending broadband penetration to 90 per cent of Nigerians in five years.
“This plan aims at providing broadband for 90 per cent of Nigerians over the next five years at download rates of 25Mbps in urban areas and 10 Mbps in rural areas.
“The plan aims for a maximum price of N390 per gigabyte of data,” he explained.
This was at the inauguration of four projects of the ministry, including the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) Annex, at Mbora district of Abuja by President Buhari.
Pantami said the project of digitisation was imminent at the instance of corona virus outbreak in Nigeria.
Pantami said that the projects were in line with the revised mandate of the ministry as a result of its redesignation, adding that they also aligned with the priorities of the Federal Government.
He said that the implementation of the broadband would support the diversification efforts of the government.
He further explained that digital economy was heavily reliant on the availability of cost effective broadband, among others.
“The unfortunate realities of the COVID-19 has made it imperative to build and depend on a sector of the economy that is more resilient to global economic shocks than the oil sector,” he said.
On his part, Executive vice chairman, NCC , Prof. Umar Danbatta reiterate that with the Federal Government’s support, increasing broadband penetration would facilitate the efficiency of the Emergency Communication centre (ECC) and development of digital innovation.
Danbatta described the launch of the projects as a reflection of growth and development in the Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector.
He said that the projects commenced with the National Telecom Policy and the full liberalisation of the telecommunications industry.
According to him, the NCC has also facilitated the establishment of the Emergency Communications Centres (ECC) across the Country.
“The establishment of the ECCs is in line with the Commission’s mandate under section 107 of NCA 2003, to promote and enhance public safety through the use of a particular number designed as the universal safety.
“Consequently, the NCC allocated the Toll-Free 3-digit number ‘112’ as the Universal Emergency Communications telephone number in Nigeria.
“Through this dedicated number, members of the public can conveniently access help when in distress by simply dialling 112 from any of the networks at no cost.
“This toll-free number can help distressed persons access help from the Police, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Fire and Ambulance Services, National Emergency Management Agency.”
Nigeria News Agency reports that the projects include: unveiling of Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025, official commissioning of the communications centre and 112 toll-free number,
There was also the flag off of the digital inovation and entrepreneurship training.
NAN also reports that the ministry has commenced the establishment of an Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) in each of the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) .
Edited By: Donald Ugwu
The African Union (AU), the UN and three other international organisations, have called for immediate ceasefire by belligerents in the Central African Republic (CAR), voicing deep concern over the security situation the conflict-torn country.
The five organisations, in a joint statement issued by the UN Department of Information, “condemned the acts of violence by armed groups that had exasperated an already alarming humanitarian situation”.
“Violence perpetrated by the Front populaire pour la Renaissance de Centrafrique and its allies, as well as Mouvement pour l’Unité et la Paix en Centrafrique caused heavy civilian casualties as well as significant population displacement,” they said.
The organisations regretted that the incident was adding to the humanitarian woes in the region.
Demanding that the belligerents cease hostilities immediately, the organisations emphasised that “all attacks against the civilian population, UN and humanitarian personnel may be subject to judicial prosecution, in line with the national legislation and international law”.
They, however, expressed deep appreciation for the “robust action” taken by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA) to protect civilians and help to put an end to violence in the areas threatened by the belligerents and encouraged the mission to continue its efforts.
The the organisations also welcomed the measures put in place for the operationalisation of the Special Criminal Court.
They underlined that only dialogue, in strict adherence with the constitutional and democratic order, would allow the concerned stakeholders in the country to find the appropriate and sustainable responses to legitimate grievances.
“In this regard, we reiterate the importance of the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation led by the AU, ECCAS and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and supported by Angola, the Republic of Congo and Chad,” they added in the joint statement.
They expressed commitment to work together for the success of the Initiative, in support of the efforts of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra aimed at sustainably promoting reconciliation and inclusive governance in line with the conclusions of the Bangui Forum.
The five-partner organisations underscored that those armed groups that engaged in new violent acts ran the risk of excluding themselves from the African Initiative and exposing themselves to additional international sanctions.
Clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, which is mostly Christian, plunged the country of 4.5 million people into civil conflict in 2013.
In spite of the significant progress and successful elections, CAR has remained in the grip of instability and sporadic unrest.
Edited by: Abdullahi Yusuf