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UK Govt Builds Sustainable, Inclusive Digital Access

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The  United Kingdom government via the Foreign Commonwealth Development OrganIsation (FCDO), and the Policy Innovation Centre (PIC) of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, are driving the digital access project implementation in Nigeria.
PIC and its UK partner held a workshop that brought together stakeholders in the public and private sectors to drive digital transformation in Nigeria, in Abuja recently.
The Tide’s source  reports that in 2019, the Federal Government launched the Nigerian Digital Economy Policy and Strategy to drive the implementation of the digital economy.
The Deputy Director at the centre, Dr. Osasuyo Dirisu, in an interview with the press, on the sideline of the event  recently,  said their intention was to drive inclusive and sustainable digital transformation in Nigeria.
Dirisu, represented by the PIC’s Senior Policy Specialist,  MR. Mayokun Adeiran, said the gap in digital divide was overwhelming.
According to him, to achieve digital transformation in Nigeria by 2030, public and private stakeholders must come together.
“Government cannot do it alone, there has to be this collaboration because the sector that drives the economy is the private sector,” he  said.
Chris Abhulimen, Government Sector Specialist for the PIC and FCDO project in Nigeria said in the majority of civilised climes, it is the private sector that takes the lead in creating innovation and projects that drive the digital economy.
“Nigeria not wanting to be left out, this project now seeks to strengthen the capacity of the stakeholders in the digital economy to be able to drive the implementation plan of 2020 to 2030.
“The FCDO and PIC will build sustainability in the digital economy by empowering the private sector ecosystem and stakeholders.
“This allows them to be able to take the initiative to aid and engage the government through favourable policies.
“These policies will unlock opportunities out of the digital economy and also create opportunities for Nigerian Start-Ups to be able to thrive and create innovation that would create more opportunities,’’  he said.
He emphasised that the private sector needed to take ownership of the project as the government alone cannot digitally transform the society.
According to Abhulimen, the true measure of success in a digital economy would be that the government would be fully digitally transformed which would facilitate numerous services offered by the government.
He explained that Nigerians would also be able to participate in a digital economy by leveraging on digital policies and services launched by the government for consumption of various products and services.

“The true measure of a digital economy is in the companies that are unicorns, which have been created out of these opportunities.
“When I mentioned unicorn, which means a billion dollar company and currently Nigeria is not doing so bad, imagine the country having five unicorns, five billion dollar companies already without effort from the government.
“Imagine what would happen if the public and private sector come together and create the enabling environment for innovation to thrive,’’ he said.
Oswald Osaretin, Senior Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Digital Transformation and the Nigerian Start-Up Bill (NSB)Lead,  said the bill was waiting for the president’s assent.
Represented by Tracy Okoro, the NSB State ADOPTION Lead, Osaretin said, “the Start-Up Bill is a set of regulations and legislations that have been put together to create an enabling environment and a thriving economy for tech enabled companies.
“This is because the president decided that young people are the largest assets of the economy and it is important to harness these potentials and use them to develop the country,’’ he said.

 

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Firm Launches Citizens’ Demand Website To Deepen OGP

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A Kaduna-based Information Technology organisation, Ihifix Technologies, has inaugurated a citizens’ demand website and mobile application to deepen Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Kaduna State.
The application website, https://citizensdemand.org/ was inaugurated in Kaduna, during the Ihifix Digital Summit for Development, with the theme, “Leveraging Digital Technologies for Sustaining the Gains of OGP”.
The Tide Source  reports that the summit was organised in collaboration with Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development (CALPED) and OGP Technical Working Group on Citizens Engagement.
The event was supported by the Partnership to Engage Reform and Learn, a governance programme of the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
The Ihifix Team Lead, Mr Emmanuel Adikpe, explained that the website and mobile application were designed in partnership with CALPED to enable citizens to upload their needs with a view to inform the budget.
Adikpe said applications developed in line with the principle of OGP, were intended to deepen citizens engagement in governance by ensuring that their voices were heard, and needs captured in the state budget.
According to him, citizen participation is critical in ensuring transparency and accountability in governance and a key attribute of good governance, critical to Nigeria’s development.
He also explained that the effort was to deploy digital technology to deepen citizens’ engagement in the governance process, particularly the Community Development Charter (CDC).

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NIGCOMSAT Set To Deploy 5G Satellite

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Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT) says  plans are underway to deploy 5G,  using a new satellite known as NIGCOMSAT 2.
It also said the NIGCOMSAT 2  would be launched into orbit by the first quarter of 2023 to enhance coverage.
Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT,  Dr Ambibola Alale, made this known at a stakeholders engagement forum organised by the agency in Lagos recently.
He informed that the satellite would backhaul the services of 5G once telecom operators deploy the fifth generation network services.
In his view, the backhauling meant getting data to a point which could be distributed via the optic fibre or network.
Alale also disclosed that the government planned to provide 70 per cent broadband by 2025, and that NIGCOMSAT would keep working with other technology providers to be able to deliver broadband services to all Nigerians.
The Deputy General Manager, Satellite Control and Operations, NIGCOMSAT, Dr. Anthony Orjinta, during a panel discussion,  said satellite had always been supporting all GSM operators.
“Satelite has always been serving areas that are underserved, because we all know that the cost of deploying terrestrial sites is quite expensive, but fibre deployment is even more costly due to our environment.
“As the 2G, 3G, 4G technologies are evolving, so also are the technologies in the satellite industry.The enhanced capacities that are available in other technologies are also coming along in the satellite space”, he said.
Orjinta stated that originally when the telecom industry started, Nigeria only had voice calls but with evolution, things changed.
He explained that NIGCOMSAT was in the process of launching a new satelite which would be one of the first in Africa and a deal breaker .
Accordingly,  he  has revealed that the satellite would provide back haul services for all 5G operations, while simultaneously delivering services of the same comparative capacity to underserved areas and dark spots that were not economically viable for terrestrial operators.
He also hinted that terrestrial operators would not want to deploy 5G in areas that are not profitable.
“We have had situations where companies put in terrestrial traffic data locations and actually took them off because they were not making enough money”, he said.
The theme of the event was “NIGCOMSAT: The Roadmap for Enhanced Service Delivery”.

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Don Invents Tool For Hardenability Determination

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A University Teacher, Don, Prof. Jacob Aweda,  of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Technology, University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), has designed and evaluated  what he called the ‘Jominy End Quencher’ apparatus for the determination of hardenability of steel materials.
Aweda  disclosed this during his paper presentations at the 217th inaugural lecture of the institution titled, “Engineering Technology and Manipulation of Process Parameters”, in Illorin recently.
According to the Don, Hardenability of steel was the property of material that determines the depth of the hardness of material when cooled in a desirable quenchant from its austenising temperature.
The scholar, who lectures in  the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, explained that this was measured through the determination of the depth of hardness of the standard size and the shape of the steel in a controlled standardised environment, which the apparatus was used for.
He noted that in many research centres and tertiary institutions, appropriate testing equipment were either not easily available or obsolete.
“Added to this is the cost of testing, which is enormous, charges are high where necessary equipment are available.This may probably be due to high initial cost of procurement and high cost of maintenance of such equipment.
“If access to research equipment is readily available and at  an affordable cost, the risk of travelling long distances and paying so much for material evaluation will reduce.
“Currently, due to the  non-availability of required laboratory equipment, many researchers  send  test samples outside the country resulting in the reduction of the number of samples required for testing, which may not be a good representative of the overall result,” he said.

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