The Federal Government has ordered the Nigerian Communication Commission(NCC) to work out modalities that will reduce costs of data for Nigerians.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, gave the directive yesterday in Abuja, shortly after the new Executive Commissioner (Stakeholders Management) of the NCC, Barrister Adeleke Adewolu, was administered the oath of office.
Pantami said his office has been inundated with complaints from concerned Nigerians about the high cost of data being charged by telecommunication companies.
He told the management of the NCC led by its Board Chairman, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, to work out the modalities with other stakeholders that would lead to reduction in data cost in the next five working days.
The Minister said: “ I am urging the management of NCC to work towards reducing the price of data in Nigeria. It is too costly and people are complaining everyday.
“If you go to other countries, even countries that are not as largely populated as Nigeria, data prices are not this high. I am also a victim of some of the infractions that are so common in the industry. You load your data, but you barely used 20 per cent of it and the entire data is wiped off.
“The last time I commented on the issues of illegal data deduction, this is one of the issues that worries me badly today. Eng Wakil making a presentation on behalf of EVC, he tried to defend the operators on one hand and the commission on the other, but I was not fully convinced with the explanation.
“Please go, sit down and review that issue. It is very important and I want to get your feedback with that report in the next five working days with the decision on it because the complaint from Nigerians is beyond what I can handle. As it is today, people are complaining. And it happened to me I recharged my data line and used it, and I believe that what I used was not up to 20 per cent of what I purchased when it was wiped off, so that is an issue that is very important .
“I directed NCC to reduce the price of data downward as well, it is very important, go and look at other African countries that do not have population like ours, even 20 per cent of our population, go and see the price of data there. As a regulator, the main agenda of NCC is to protect the customers, our priority should be the interest of Nigerians.”
The Minister commended the NCC leadership for its achievements in the areas of five per cent broadband penetration and the de-activation of pre-registered and unregistered SIM cards, stating that they should go a step further by ensuring that penetration of 3G and 4G are expanded in Nigeria.
He urged the new board member to key into the programmes of President Muhammadu Buhari, which are anchored on fighting insecurity and corruption and lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty as soon as possible.
Caution Your Men Against Attacks On Traders, Association Tells CP
Traders at the Slaughter Market, Port Harcourt, have called on the Rivers State Police Commissioner, Mustapha Dandaura, to caution his men attached to the Rivers State Task Force on Street Trading, Illegal Markets and Motor Parks against unnecessary attacks on traders.
The Secretary, Meat Sellers Association, Slaughter Market chapter, Mr ThankGod Amadi, made the call while reacting to the destruction of some vehicles around the slaughter axis of the state by persons suspected to be members of the task force, last Saturday.
According to him, some men donning the task force vest stormed the park situated at the market last Saturday and unleashed terror on vehicles parked within.
“I’m calling on the Commissioner of Police of Rivers State Command, to call his men to order. If you watch these men in task force, some of them have cutlasses, some of them carry other offensive weapons. We understand offensive weapon is not permitted by any human apart from the law enforcement agency, but these boys use offensive weapons in the name of task force,” he said.
Some commercial drivers on the Slaughter/Woji/Artillery route alleged that an official of the Slaughter branch of the task force, Mr Uzoma Julius, led policemen to the park at the Slaughter Market last Saturday and destroyed the wind shields of more than 36 vehicles parked within the park.
They complained that the task force has refused to show them designated areas where commercial drivers could pick and drop passengers, but only derive joy in chasing them away.
Amadi said, “we’re not expecting all this. The chairman of the task force, Julius Uzoma, while we were just sitting here, we saw him with boys carrying machetes; so for our safety purpose,we just ran away, we don’t know what happened”.
However, the state coordinator of the taskforce, Mr Bright Amaewhule, in a chat with newsmen, denied that his men destroyed vehicles around the slaughter axis of Port Harcourt at the weekend.
He stated that the vehicles were destroyed by hoodlums who attacked officials of the task force around slaughter.
“Last weekend to be precise, while my men were on operation within Trans Amadi axis, some hoodlums and cult members who operate within that Trans Amadi roundabout axis, on sighting our task force boys went after them and they had to resist their attacks. They now ran into that area where stones were being used to attack them.
“Even our own vehicle was vandalised, some of the vehicles which were parked around that area were now attacked, their wind screens were now hit by the stones. That is what my zonal leaders in that area informed me about”, Amaewhule said.
SON To Establish Laboratories In Six Geo-Political Zones
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) says it has concluded plans to establish laboratories in the six geo-opolitical zones for testing products and ensuring standardisation in the country.
The Special Assistant to the Director-General of SON, Mr Bola Fashina, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen, yesterday in Abuja.
According to Fashina, the organisation already has in its 2020 budget, plans to establish laboratories in the six zones to ensure that products met required standards for certification.
He said SON would ensure that products within each region could easily be tested at the regionally laboratories, instead of sending them to its laboratories in Lagos, Kaduna or Enugu.
“In the last four to five years, we have had a new laboratory complex consisting of about 36 laboratories in Ogba Industrial Estate in Lagos.
“A lot of laboratories there have already attained international accreditation.
“This is to ensure that the result of whatever test that is carried out there is acceptable globally,’’ he said.
Fashina noted that the establishment of the laboratories was aimed at supporting government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) to ensure that Nigerian products and produce were easily exported without rejection.
“Apart from these ones, we have other laboratories, namely textile and leather laboratory located in Kaduna, engineering laboratory in Enugu, and another laboratory in our operational headquarters in Lekki, Lagos.
The Head, Public Relations, SON, further said that a national centre was being constructed to take care of Nigeria and West African Metrology Institute to support industrialisation.
He explained that the centre would ensure accuracy of measurement in length, volume or mass, among others to ensure that manufacturing and trading were done with accuracy.
Fashina said that the centre would also ensure that machines used in manufacturing in the country were calibrated from time to time to ensure accuracy.
“It is an ongoing thing because laboratories evolve with technology as taste of people change all over the world and in view of the fact that standards now are not static.
“Standards all over the world are being harmonised at regional, international and continental levels, often times standards in food are usually coded standards.
“It is only in cases where such standards do not exist that you find new standards being developed for products that are just emerging.
“Once they are developed, it makes trading across borders very easy,’’ he said.
Fashina expressed SON’s commitment to continue to invest in developing laboratories in view of the implementation of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Rivers Fishermen Decry Illegal Bunkering, Want Govt’s Support
Worried by the negative impacts of illegal bunkering on the aquatic life in rural areas and the incessant attack on fishermen by sea pirates, the fishing folks in Rivers State have called on the state government to come to their rescue.
The call was made during an interview with some fishermen on Monday, in Port Harcourt.
Speaking to The Tide, a fisherman, Ene Dimabo, said that since the advent of illegal bunkering in the state, the aquatic life had never been the same.
According to him, “I am a fisherman and that is my traditional occupation. I have been in it for about two decades, what we are catching now as fishermen cannot be compared to what we used to in the yester years. Formerly, we used to catch assorted fish species like snapper, tilapia, sardine, mullet and others, but today most of these species have gone into extinction due to the activities of illegal bunkering.
“The fisherman today is faced with the impact of illegal bunkering and the violent act of the sea pirates on fishermen. We are passing through a very critical condition to be able to fish. It is life and death, the sea pirates who are so heartless will not spare even the last piece of fish in your boat, that is if you are not abducted.
“I am therefore, calling on the state government to give priority attention to fishing sector because that is what our parents at home used in surviving. Illegal bunkering and sea pirates should be checked”.
Another fisherman, Ibibo Dango said, “the major challenge fishermen are facing in the state is lack of government support and attention. The fishing implements and gears are not easily accessible and to make a fisherman fully independent and self reliant, one has to be fully equipped with the fishing gadgets which are cost intensive. We therefore, call on government to support the fishing sub-sector if we must achieve the state government’s policy thrust on agriculture.
“The issue of illegal bunkering and its attendant negative environmental impact is beyond lip service it rather need scheck on the big time sponsors”.
A fish seller, Felicia Dokubo told The Tide that before now, her mother in the village used to pick periwinkle, oyster, shrimp and other sea foods at the swamps close to them, but noted that, since the bunkering activities started in the state, most of the seafood had disappeared.
She said, “my mother at home can no more practice her traditional occupation of fishing, due to pollution and the little you manage to catch, the sea pirates will surrender you, brutalise you, at times kill or abduct you and collect all the fishes in your possession. Government should do something to help us”.
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