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Buhari cautions MDAs against breaching IT Policy

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President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday declared open the 2018 e-Nigeria International Conference and Exhibition, with a warning that the Federal Government would sanction public establishments found to have breached its IT Clearance policy.

The President gave the warning in Abuja at the e-Nigeria International Conference and Exhibition, organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) at the International Conference Centre (ICC).

It will be recalled that in April 2006, the Federal Government directed that all MDAs planning to embark on any IT project should obtain clearance from the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for proper guidelines on the purchase of local IT products and services.

NITDA, therefore, has a mandate to clear IT projects and procurement of IT products and services in MDAs for quality service delivery.

Buhari said that the warning became necessary in view of his administration’s determination not to fail in its quest to eliminate corruption in government businesses and in the wider society.

He noted that NITDA’s initiative focused on the Registration of IT Contractors and Service Providers in collaboration with other regulatory bodies with special emphasis on competencies.

According to him, this will ensure the delivery of quality IT projects, as well as facilitate the development of indigenous IT companies in line with global

“You may also recall the remark about NITDA’s efforts at enforcing Federal Government’s directive on ensuring that all ICT projects in the country are cleared by it before implementation.

“This will ensure that government’s ICT procurements: Are transparent; Aligned with government’s IT shared vision and policy; Lead to cost savings through promotion of shared services; avoid duplication; ensure compatibility of IT systems and improve efficiency in government business; enforce the patronage of indigenous companies where capacity exists and uphold the highest standards for service delivery.

“In this administration’s efforts at ensuring full realisation of these objectives, a new circular was issued in August this year, to reiterate this directive.

“NITDA is expected to work with all relevant government agencies to ensure full compliance with this directive. Defaulters of IT Clearance among the public establishments are to be reported to government.

“We are serious about fighting corruption. We must not fail in our quest to eliminate corruption in government businesses and in the wider society.’’

Cue out audio

The President lauded NITDA’s work on the Nigerian ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vision that focuses on the development of Digital Infrastructure, Education Reform, Skills Development and Research and Development as well as supporting the ecosystem.

He stressed the need for the public service to be highly competitive, innovative and digitally-enabled to deliver public services and effectively drive government programmes and policies.

Buhari observed that NITDA and other relevant government agencies had taken this up by creating the enabling environment through the development of policies, frameworks, standards and guidelines.

He said, “I am aware that some of these regulatory instruments have been subjected to critical scrutiny and revision through a series of stakeholder engagements.”

He, however, maintained that efforts should be intensified to make them public and to sensitise the public about the value of the regulatory instruments.

The President noted with delight the enforcement of the use of the policy on Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and the Bank Verification Number (BVN) and the impact they had made on the administration’s public financial management reforms.

Buhari added that the consolidation of accounts and elimination of ghost workers that resulted in a combined monthly savings of about N24.7 billion, the TSA facilitated the recovery of huge sums of money, including the N1.6 billion that was recently recovered from a single account.

He said the policy initiatives had reinforced his administration’s fight against corruption by ensuring transparency and accountability in government business transactions.

According to the President, the success of his administration’s Social Investment Programme, which is seen in many quarters as the largest and most ambitious social safety net programme in recent history, relies heavily on the application of ICT.

He observed that the components of programmes such as the N-Power, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP) and the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) all leverage on ICT.

He disclosed that the programmes had so far benefited over nine million Nigerians.

The president revealed that the NITDA, in collaboration with the National Social Investment Office (NSIO), was coordinating federal government’s initiative of establishing eight Innovation Hubs.

He added that the eight Innovation Hubs would be sited one in each of the six geo-political zones and one each in Lagos and Abuja.

President Buhari explained that the purpose of establishing these hubs was to facilitate digital capacity building for immediate employment, entrepreneurial skills development, job and wealth creation.

“All these are aimed at promoting the digital economy in an era of disruptive technology through effective regulations,’’ he said.

The president, therefore, enjoined the Conference to come up with “innovative ideas, workable and implementable recommendations that would help and enhance government’s efforts at creating the enabling environment for the promotion of the digital economy in an era of disruptive technologies, considering our peculiarities as a country.’’

In his remarks, the Director-General of NITDA, Dr Isa Pantami, lauded President Buhari for the issuance of the Presidential Executive Order 003 and 005.

The Executive Order 003 mandates all ministries, departments and agencies to give preference to locally manufactured goods and services in their procurement of information technology services, in order to strengthen its implementation as well as provide clear policy directions.

Presidential Executive Order 005 which was also issued in February, is part of the administration’s deliberate efforts and strong commitment at strengthening the role of Science, Technology and Innovation in the country’s socio-economic development.

Pantami disclosed that over N30billion had so far been saved by the federal government following the implementation of its IT and ICT policies and programme.

The conference has “Promoting Digital Economy in an Era of Disruptive Technologies through Effective Regulation” as its theme.

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Take Back The Tech Calls For Equal Power Relation Through Tech

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BY SARAUNIYA G USMAN, ABUJA

Take Back the Technology has called on all users of information and communications technologies (ICTs),especially girls and women to take control of technology and consciously use it to change unequal power relations.

The call was made during a press conference on the 16 Days of Activism of Take Back The Tech Campaign in Abuja yesterday.

According to ‘Take Back Tech’ the campaign offers safety roadmaps and information and provides an avenue for taking action.

‘Take Back the Tech’ has lead several campaigns at various points in the year.the
During campaigns, ‘Take Back the Tech’ announces actions that combine creative and strategic use of information and communication technology (ICT) with the issue of VAW.

During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, campaigners organise actions that respond to their local priorities, such as workshops on online safety, media monitoring on rape reporting, solidarity actions on the streets and in online spaces, and discussions on women’s right to privacy.

Speaking during the event,the Programme Officer, CITAD, Ms. Salma Abdulwaheed,said,
it is necessary to involve the Media, which is an important stakeholder in the quest of combating gender violence against women and girls online, empowering them with digital skills and protection of women and girls digital rights.

Salma called on the media to use their voices and medium to reach the larger society so that the society could fully understand the menace of online gender violence and also take action in countering it.

She said,”Together, we can make our society better and safer for all women and girls both online and offline. Remember, for our nation to become fully developed, we have to support women and girls who constitute 50% of the total population, to become self-empowered and or reliant. The nation can never progress if 50% of it’s population is dependent on the other half”.

“It is our right to shape, define, participate, use and share knowledge, information and technology, and to create digital spaces that are safe and equal”.

‘Take Back the Tech’ is a global and collaborative campaign for anyone using the Internet and technology to protest violence against women online (GBVO).

The campaign was initiated by Association for Progressive Communications’ women’s programme (APC WNSP), in 2006, and built by a diverse movement of individuals, organisations, collectives and communities.

The campaign is part of the UN-sanctioned 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence which begins on November 25 each year.

The campaign took turn on engaging students in different schools on the topic ‘Understanding GBVO, its effects on our society, as well as Countering Gender Violence Online towards a safer online space for young girls in Nigeria’. Other activities include discussion programmes on both radio and TV stations respectively.

The CITAD team also held twitter and Facebook campaigns as part of the online efforts.

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How GIS aided EEDC in mapping electricity network in S/East

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EEDC and Geographic Information System (GIS) technology

EEDC and Geographic Information System (GIS) technology

The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) says it has recently mapped the entire electricity network in South-East using Geographic Information System (GIS) to improve its operations.

The Manager of GIS in EEDC, Mr Uche Anyalewechi, said this on Saturday while speaking on activities by the EEDC to commemorate this year’s edition of GIS Day.

The GIS Day, observed every Nov. 14, is an annual event to celebrate the technology of Geographic Information System and its enormous benefits to modern development and science.

The theme for this year’s GIS Day at EEDC is: “Driving Efficiency in Power Distribution through GIS.”

Anyalewechi, therefore, explained how the company was taking advantage of the GIS technology to improve the reach of network within its service areas.

He said that “with the aid of GIS technology, we have efficiently mapped our entire electrical network system, updated our customer database and captured all electrical assets within our network with each part of the infrastructure registered on the map.

“The project is expected to improve decision making in the organisation’s operations.”

The manager recalled that EEDC commenced the GIS project early last year and the effort had attracted commendation from National Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC), noting that the commission described it as “benchmark which other Discos will be required to emulate.”

He explained that “the GIS project, which is of immense benefit to both EEDC and its customers, also aimed at facilitating comprehensive metering of electricity customers and for easy identification of electrical assets and their state.

“The project will also help in identification of existing customers and make adequate planning for potential customers and network expansion.

“Others benefits include: improved power supply and quick response to faults; effective power distribution and monitoring through remote sensing; prompt identification of damaged and non-functional equipment for replacement, as well as improved customer service delivery.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that activities lined up by the GIS Unit of EEDC to celebrate the GIS Day include a talk show on GIS and its benefits and a video presentation of network maps, emphasising how it supports the business and its operations.

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U.S. trains 187 Nigerian students on robotics

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U.S. trains 187 Nigerian students on robotics

U.S. trains 187 Nigerian students on robotics

U.S. trains 187 Nigerian students on robotics
By Florence Onuegbu

The United States Consulate General Lagos, in collaboration with RoboRAVE International, a U.S.-based robotics education academy, trained 187 Nigerian students on robotics.

Robotics deals with the design, construction, operation and use of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback and information processing.

These technologies are used to develop machines that can substitute for humans and replicate human actions.

Speaking during the robotics workshop on Saturday in Lagos, the U.S. Consulate Public Affairs Officer, Mr Russell Brooks, said that there was the need to acquire the required skills for the technology’s future.

Brooks said that the training was toward the U.S. Consulate’s mission to encourage good relationship between Nigeria and the U.S.

He said that the workshop was meant to boost technology education in Nigeria by engaging the participating students in hands-on robotics activities.

According to him, the training is to stimulate students’ interest in maths and sciences, as well as careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

“At some point in life, you are going to look for job to earn money to support your family.

“In order to do that, you are going to need to acquire the required skills.

“The future of technology is going to be based on Artificial Intelligence (AI), hence, the need for robotics training,’’ he said.

The Director, RoboRAVE Nigeria, Mr Kingsley Imade, said that the national event was the second edition in Nigeria and was to prepare students for the future.

Imade said that RoboRAVE would be having states training in schools in Ondo, Enugu, Asaba, Yenagoa and Osogbo.

He said that the third edition of the national robotics workshop would be held in October 2019.

The 187 students are from 29 primary and secondary schools across Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, and Edo States, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The workshop was facilitated by an international faculty, including RoboRAVE International Director of Global Programmes, Mr Russ Fisher-Ives and RoboRAVE North America Director, Mr Brian Montoya.

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