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Super User
DIGITAL NIGERIA: DR PANTAMI LAUNCH NIGERIA’S VIRTUAL ACADEMY PLATFORM
Super User Written by April 30, 2020

https://academy.nitda.gov.ng.

In line with the blueprint of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a digital Nigeria launched and unveiled on 28th November 2019 by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM today officially launched Nigeria's Virtual Academy Learning Platform (NITDA Academy).

The move is part of an effort to enhance Digital Literacy and Skills Development during the #COVID19 pandemic and beyond.

Dr Pantami, a strong advocate for skills development, upon assumption of office as the Honourable Minister, rallied stakeholders in the ICT industry to come up with the NDEPS which was endorsed and unveiled by His Excellency, President Buhari. It was on this backdrop that the NITDA virtual academy was conceptualized to serve as the foremost centre of excellence for research and development in emerging technologies and other related ICT fields of study.

In his virtual keynote address via Microsoft Teams, the Honourable Minister stated that the objective of the academy was to

1. Encourage continuous learning;

2. Enhance capacity development;

3. Empower Nigerians with the required digital skills and;

4. Bridge the gap between the academia and industry.

Pantami also reiterated the importance of digital skills to the social-economic development of Nigeria and further applauded Nigerian youths for embracing the IBM Digital Nigeria programme which was unlevied last month by the Ministry and can be accessed via https://digitalnigeria.gov.ng or "IBM Digital Nation Africa " App on Google Play Store.

 

Source: Mr Yusuf Abubakar, Personal Assistant (New Media) to The Honourable Minister

THE USE OF DATA IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19 WILL BE IN LINE WITH APPROPRIATE REGULATIONS
Super User Written by April 17, 2020

The attention of Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, Honourable Minister of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMoCDE), has been drawn to reports of devious schemes perpetrated by some unscrupulous persons claiming they have access to personal data of Nigerians such as SIM databases, bank verification numbers or any other personal records of Nigerians. The Ministry also notes the concerns of well-meaning stakeholders on the privacy implications of government’s legitimate use of private data to check the spread of COVID-19, provide palliatives to vulnerable members of society and prevent criminal activities accentuated by the global health crisis we are currently dealing with.

For the avoidance of doubt, neither the Ministry nor any organ of the Federal Government directed that any such database be shared to any person for any purpose other than the legitimate, statutory purpose they were collected for. The public is therefore urged to disregard any information from any group or individuals seeking to confirm or collect personal records for any purpose.  The Federal Government will never ask citizens to confirm their records via phone calls or digital means without an elaborate structure to ensure the safety of these records and effective communication to the public in this regard. To this end, I have directed the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) as the custodian of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), to issue a comprehensive framework to guide public institutions on the lawful processing of personal data for public and vital interests such as public health, welfare, security and related matters.

The Ministry notes the concerns of our well-meaning stakeholders on the possibility of privacy infringement in the use of private data to combat COVID-19. Government’s ultimate purpose in its fight against COVID-19 is to minimise direct and collateral damages. In the face of the threat to life arising from public health, hunger and security factors, Nigeria like every progressive society, is utilising its digital assets and infrastructure to tackle the pandemic and its effects. Every use of private data is strictly for the promotion of the security and welfare of Nigerians. Any unlawful disclosure, abuse or misuse of private data constitutes a criminal offence, punishable under the laws of Nigeria.

The Honourable Minister therefore use this medium to encourage all regulators or institutions that utilise personal data for public good to prioritise information and cyber security. Compliance with the NDPR and other laws relating to personal data processing is mandatory for public and private organisations. All data controlling organisations are further expected to provide a means for efficient public communication across all platforms available throughout this period to respond to public enquiries and comments.

The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is committed to ensuring that the use of data in the fight against COVID-19 complies with laid down regulations.

 

Dr Femi Adeluyi
Technical Assistant (Information Technology) to the
Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy

17th April 2020

A CALL FOR EXTRA VIGILANCE AS CYBERCRIMINALS EXPLOIT COVID-19
Super User Written by April 09, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly transformed how we interact as individuals. In particular, there has been an appreciable migration of several meetings, lectures and other form of interactions to online platforms.

Furthermore, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FNCS, FBCS, FIIM notes that the implicit requirement of social distancing has increased the adoption of online platforms and e-payment systems. This, no doubt, is a positive development that will support our implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria. However, this migration to home-based unsecure digital platforms, often with outdated security systems, can make users more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Our cybersecurity teams have intercepted following cases, amongst others:

i. Phishing attacks aimed at infecting systems or extracting sensitive information;

ii. Campaigns that defraud citizens by offering essential products and services at suspicious prices;

iii. Fake news and misinformation aimed at spreading panic, creating instability and promoting distrust; and

iv. Video-teleconferencing (VTC) hijacking (also called “Zoom-bombing”).

The Honourable Minister urges everyone to be extra-cautious and reinforce security measures while interacting online, especially when banking online. It is important to observe basic cyberspace rules such as:

i. Ignoring suspicious online offers;

ii. Being circumspect in sharing VTC details;

iii. Using complex passwords;

iv. Keeping software up to date; and

v. Refraining from sharing unverified information.

The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is committed to keeping Nigerians safe online. To this end, the Ministry and its parastatals will issue regular cybersecurity advisories.

 

Dr Femi Adeluyi
Technical Assistant (Information Technology) to the
Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy
9th of April 2020

COVID 19: DR PANTAMI HOLDS VIDEO CONFERENCE MEETING WITH WORLD BANK
Super User Written by April 09, 2020

In line with the Digital Nigeria drive, the Honourable Minister of Communications and
Digital Economy of Nigeria, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM today held a video conferencing meeting with the representative of the World Bank on "The Role of Digital Technologies in the Fight Against #COVID-19: Early Lessons from the Frontline".

In his remarks, the Nigerian Minister informed that Federal Government had deployed the use of data mining from data generated from the SIM card registration in Nigeria to identify the most vulnerable Nigerians that require the government urgent intervention.

Dr Pantami also informed that the government has been holding virtual meetings, sending bulk SMS to sensitize Nigerians through the telecommunications companies, creating and sharing digital posters on various social media platforms, encouraging the use of online channels to conduct business among others.

 

Source: Mr Yusuf Abubakar, Personal Assistant (New Media) to The Honourable Minister

NO LICENCE HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR 5G IN NIGERIA
Super User Written by April 04, 2020

The attention of my office has been drawn to the public concern about the health implications of the deployment of Fifth Generation Mobile Networks (5G) in Nigeria. Based on available records at my office and the earlier report received from the regulator, I would like to clarify as follows:

  1. The National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), of which I am the Chairman, has not deliberated on or released any bulk frequency spectrum for the deployment of 5G;
  2. No license has been issued for the deployment of 5G in the country;
  • A 3-month study trial commenced on the 25th of November, 2019 in order to critically review and study the health and security implications of deploying 5G in Nigeria;
  1. As part of the study trial process, I directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to ensure that a team of experts, security agencies and other stakeholders fully participate in the trial process and my office also invited these agencies to participate in the trial; and
  2. The trial process has been concluded and the study and reporting process is currently ongoing.

His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, places a premium on the welfare, health and security of Nigerians.  As such, our desire for technological advancement will never be at the expense of the health and welfare of our citizens.

Government will not act on the speculations only, but rather we will take an informed decision on 5G after due consultation with experts and the public.  I have also directed the NCC to engage citizens on any questions or concerns they may have regarding 5G.

I wish to thank the general public for reaching out to us on this issue.  We advise you all to remain rest assured that government will always take the welfare, health and security of the public into account while considering the deployment of any technology.

 

Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FNCS, FBCS, FIIM
Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy
4th of April 2020

Super User Written by April 02, 2020

At this critical stage of efforts to limit the spread of the COVID -19 in the country, the Federal Government is applying measures to safeguard its personnel by using Telepresence facilities deployed by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMoCDE), through the Galaxy Backbone (GBB) Limited, a parastatal under the ministry.

The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) FNCS, FBCS, FIIM has earlier directed GBB to utilize its highly secure Government-wide Telepresence and Collaboration facilities, to ensure government functions continue while maintaining social distancing. They have complied by positioning their Telepresence and Collaboration facilities to ensure productivity, enhance security and reduce the cost of communication during this period.

Video conferencing terminals have been installed at over 120 Federal Government institutions, including the offices of:

i. The Vice President;

ii. 26 Honourable Ministers

iii. 17 Ministers of State;

iv. Chief of Staff to the President;

v. Secretary to the Government of the Federation;

vi. Head of Civil Service of the Federation;

vii. 37 Federal Permanent Secretaries;

viii. Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC); and

ix. Other key Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government.
Calls and Conferences are secure with end to end encryption within GBB operated government network. GBB also has the capacity to provide both public and private sector organizations secure and reliable telepresence services from its State-of-the-Art Unified Communication Services (UCS) platform.

In this regard, Nigerians are to be rest assured that the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy will continue to use technology to ensure that there are no interruptions in crucial government meetings. Virtual meetings will go ahead with all relevant stakeholders in a secure and reliable manner as we collectively tackle this challenge to humanity.

 

Signed
Uwa Suleiman (Mrs)
Spokesperson to the Honourable Minister of Communications & Digital Economy
2nd April 2020

EMPOWERING NIGERIANS THROUGH THE DIGITAL NIGERIA PROGRAMME
Super User Written by April 02, 2020

His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, launched the Digital Nigeria Programme on the 19th of March, 2020 as "one of Federal Government’s key initiatives that will empower innovators and entrepreneurs with skills required to thrive in our emerging digital economy".

In furtherance to this, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, is promoting options for digital training for Nigerians. This is especially important at a time when the world stays home to combat the spread of ‪COVID-19.

The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is partnering with a number of institutions to enable Nigerians acquire cutting edge digital skills within the comfort of their homes.  One of such partnerships is based on the MoU signed with IBM on the 16th of January, 2020.  Through this partnership and as part of the IBM Digital Nation Africa programme, the Ministry will be providing Nigerians with over 280+ hours of free learning & 85+ courses on key emerging technologies like:

  1. Blockchain;
  2. Artificial Intelligence;
  • Big Data; and
  1. Cloud Computing.

Nigerians are encouraged to register today at https://idna.digitalnigeria.gov.ng. Users can also access the programme through the “IBM Digital Nation Africa” App on Google Play Store.

The Ministry will be sharing similar opportunities in the coming days on its social media pages, website and on www.digitalnigeria.gov.ng .  These programmes will include training courses provided as a result of our collaborations with the following partners:

  1. African Development Bank (Coding for Employment programme); and
  2. Huawei (ICT Academy Telecom and Information Technology Skills programme).

The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is committed to developing the capacity of Nigerians to use technology to solve problems. We will also deploy technology to limit the disruption to education and the economy caused by COVID-19. Through the Digital Nigeria programme we will empower Nigerians to develop skills and build innovative solutions to tackle challenges within our community.#DigitalNigeria

 

Dr Femi Adeluyi
Technical Assistant (Information Technology) to the
Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital
Economy
2nd of April 2020

 

USE OF VIDEO CONFERENCING AND VIDEO IP PHONES FACILITIES FOR ESSENTIAL MEETINGS DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK
Super User Written by March 24, 2020

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is highly recommended to exercise measures such as social distancing as a necessary precaution towards curbing the spread of the deadly and highly infectious virus.

With the disease known to spread primarily through contact with infected persons, surfaces or environments, there is a need for civil servants and the workforce in the country to minimize physical and face-to-face meetings.

In light of this, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, FNCS, FBCS, FIIM encourages MDAs and civil servants to use the Federal Government's Unified Communication Services (UCS) platform available to provide reliable and secure audio and video communication within the 1Gov network.

The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy through its parastatal Galaxy Backbone has provided video conferencing, telepresence and video IP phone facilities in most MDAs within its Abuja metro Fiber network, to provide a smart means of communication and collaboration within the public sector.

Platforms available to minimize the need for physical meetings while performing the day to day functions of government are:
• IP Voice and Video Telephony Services: About 16,000 unit have been deployed to provide users secure free voice & video communications over Galaxy’s network using physical handsets and software-based endpoints; and

• Video Conferencing/ telepresence Services: About 120 terminals have been deployed to provide real-time video conferencing for users to meet and collaborate with colleagues and partners across various locations nationwide and internationally.

The Honourable Minister, therefore, calls on all MDAs and public officers that have these services deployed to use them by hosting remote meetings and conferences which will help limit the spread of the virus.

Signed
Uwa Suleiman (Mrs)
Spokesperson to the Honourable Minister of Communications & Digital Economy
24th March 2020

INDISCIPLINE CANNOT BE TOLERATED UNDER THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND DIGITAL ECONOMY
Super User Written by March 23, 2020

Our attention has been drawn to a video clip, which is currently trending on Social Media, maliciously targeting the person and office of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, MCPN. The three minutes and one second video which was edited from the live coverage of the commissioning of key projects of the Ministry, by the President on Thursday, 19th March 2020 was accompanied by a write up from a faceless writer, which reeks of falsehood.

The President, attended the event on the invitation of the Honourable Minister, and it was paramount that His Excellency’s timing be strictly adhered to, as earlier agreed at the preparatory meeting in the Presidential Villa, that all speakers at the event will; Adhere to the time allocated to them and, limit their presentations to the responsibility(ies) assigned to them. The Honourable Minister regulated the speeches of both speakers namely, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

By this public notice, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, hereby disclaims all misleading information surrounding the video and the write up. In the same vein, the office of the Honourable Minister, strongly debunks the allegation that, he sent some pressmen out of the premises. It was not, and it is not his role, neither was he aware of the incident at the time it took place. The original statement from the affected parties confirms this. The leadership of Dr Pantami, has brought an unprecedented level of synergy amongst the Agencies and Parastatals under his purview, as remarked by the President himself, at the same event.

We therefore, urge all well meaning Nigerians, to disregard any information contrary to the true events as stated here, which took place before a crowded auditorium. The person and office of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, cannot be distracted with corrupt people that are not happy with sanitizing the sector and discipline that is being established.

Signed
Yusuf Abubakar
Personal Assistant (New Media)
to the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy
22nd March, 2020

 
Super User Written by March 21, 2020

President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, has directed the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM to work with all Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Parastatals of Government towards the protection of Critical National Infrastructure . The President gave the directive at the commissioning of several projects and programmes, of the Ministry in Abuja.

Addressing top government functionaries and captains of industry, at the unveiling of the National Broadband plan 2020-2025, the launching of the Emergency Communications Centre and Toll Free Number 112, the commissioning of the Communications and Digital Economy Complex and the flag off of the Digital Innovation and Entreprenuership Training, President Buhari expressed delight at the laudable developments which he noted “will enhance the development of our National Digital Economy and support our efforts in diversifying the economy”

Speaking further, the President emphasized that the commissioning of the Toll Free Number 112, which will soon be deployed nationwide, “further demonstrates our resolve to keep Nigerians safe. We have taken advantage of Digital Technologies to ensure that Nigerians in distress, are only a dial away from the relevant emergency response institutions in the country”.

He disclosed that the flag- off of the Digital Nigeria Training Programme, is an initiative, that will drive innovation and entreprenuership in emerging technologies, for economic empowerment and global competitiveness.

 He commended the efforts of the Honourable Minister and the Presidential Broadband Committee, for the successful development of a National Broadband Plan. He particularly commended the leadership quality of the Honourable Minister which has brought about a high level of synergy among the Parastatals under the Ministry’s purview.

In his remarks, the Chief Host and Chief Convener of the event, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami while thanking the President for the immense support enjoyed by the sector under his leadership, enjoined all Nigerians to support the digital economy Agenda of the Federal Government as a digital economy is an enabling platform capable of supporting the President’s three point Agenda of Security, Anti-corruption and Economic development, including the potential of lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty, citing the China, Imdonesia and Indian economies as examples. The Honourable Minister also commended members of the Presidential Broadband Plan Committee for being thorough, professional and timely with their assignment.

The high-powered event was attended by top government functionaries, captains of industry, members of the diplomatic corps and stakeholders including representatives of the leadership of the National Assembly, Ministers of FCT, Women Affairs, Defence, Police Affairs, Industry Trade and Investment, State Ministers of Education, Foreign Affairs, Education, FCT, Labour and Employment, Budget and Planning, Board Chairmen of Federal Parastatals, Service Chiefs, members of the Organised Private Sector, to mention but a few.

Signed

Uwa Suleiman (Mrs)

Spokesperson to the Honourable Minister of Communications & Digital Economy

20th March 2020