E- Nigeria: And The Evolving Role of ICT in a Digital Economy, By Ayo Akanji

Going digital is no longer an option, it is the default – Natarajan Chandrasekaran

Over the last decades, the great diffusion of information and communication technology (ICT) has caused a dramatic transformation of the world into an information society. Thanks to ICT infrastructure such as fixed-line telephones, mobile phones, Internet, and broadband, people, firms, and governments now have much better access to information, knowledge, and wisdom than before in terms of scale, scope, and speed.

The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry in Nigeria is one that has not fully exploded, but has a tremendous potential to provide jobs for million of Nigerians and spur the economy.

However, the little gains it has recorded is evident. According to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) stated that in Q2 of 2019, ICT contributed an impressive 13.85% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the 11.22% contribution it made in Q2 2018.

It is important to note that, the recent introduction of the Nigerian E-government Masterplan will further consolidate on the successes and increase interoperability among the different Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) of government and with a mandate to develop and implement a harmonized and well-coordinated digital economy policy and strategy for Nigeria.

The Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, who understand the role of ICT in the economy opined that. “The economy is driven by Data and Information. Therefore to survive in this disruptive world, you need to provide developmental regulations” Excitingly this regulatory instrument is the Nigerian Data Protection Regulations (NDPR).

An urgent need for synergy between relevant stakeholders and the provision of a platform where ICT problems and solutions will be offered.

This is what eNigeria, an annual summit by (NITDA) offers. In collaboration with key players in the ICT industry, the platform provides the requisite awareness in ICT sector, creation and implementation of the necessary framework and goals that will boost the country’s position in the global information society.

Conversely, Mr President in his open remarks on the strategic importance of ICT, notated that “Globally, the Digital Economy is expanding at a very fast pace. In just a few years, this platform has transitioned from being a luxury to an absolute necessity”. President Buhari disclosed that FG had saved over N16.8 billion through the activation of key digital assets – which strengthens the fight against corruption.

The theme for this year summit was “Achieving National Digital Economy” and for Nigeria to fully benefit from the cybersphere we need to strengthen our digital laws and protect critical digital infrastructural assets. It is reported that financial services, government agencies operational in Nigeria lost about $800 million in 2018 to cyber crime in a report conducted by the foremost Africa CyberSecurity report.

The report indicated that the country lost $649m to cyber-attacks in 2017, representing a 23% increase in cost, Nigeria has one of the highest levels of cybercrime in Africa and in the world, this indeed is alarming.

Every year, the summit takes on, with the support strategic partners like Oracle, MainOne Services, CyberDome, to mention a few brands. Strategic issues with the general aim of bettering the overall cyber experience of the average Nigerian and digital assets should be the crux of the partnership.

CyberDome is a cyber security company in Abuja with branches in the US and Isreal. It offers cyber security services like analysis, critical infrastructures, defense mechanisms, and other cyber solutions, to their various clienteles which cuts across government agencies and the private sector. Clients are offered platforms to easily spot out and respond quickly and effectively to cyber-attacks and data breaches. It maintains a database of threat intelligence from all over the world and the real-time discovery of cyber-attacks, this brand is leader in this field.

Some of the services Cyberdom offers which are in line with NITDA’s mandate includes; penetration testing, network access control, anti-phishing, anti-ddos, risk assessments, governance risk and compliance, digital forensics, next generation firewalls, web application firewalls, vulnerability management, cloud security, endpoint security, user behavior analytics and the provision of capacity building services to clients on cyber related issues and customizes these trainings to the client’s needs.

It is constantly adding Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovations to it’s working structure. It’s topnotch Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP), is the only facility in the country that offers a two-fold 247/365 security monitoring, advanced services on the prevention of data breaches, and a full service portfolio for all cyber security risks.

CyberDome emphasizes on the importance of collaboration in cybersecurity, as the best way of mitigating further attacks in line with NITDA directives and other industry eggheads. Collaborations thusly will be instrumental in lowering the levels of cybercrime in Nigeria. It will do a lot in reducing the number of unresolved cyber security incidences in the country.

Moreover, CyberDome is pushing for the emergence of a robust cyber policy laws for the Nigerian cyberspace. Awareness is an important part of cybersecurity, CyberDome’s Academy offers awareness trainings to workers at an organization to enable them come to full grasp with cyber policies and world best practices.

The Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami constantly emphasises on the importance of local contents in Nigeria’s cyberspace. CyberDome ticks that box effectively.

Furthermore, the clamour to diversify the country’s economy continues to hit new heights every day. ICT can provide a solid alternative to oil, making Nigeria a global player in the digital economy.

This can only happen when all stakeholders like NITDA, NCC, GalaxyBackbone, CSO’s and strategic partners like CyberDome collaborates.

Ayo Akanji is a businessman and cyber security enthusiast, he writes from Abuja.

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NITDA’s Kashifu Has A Mountain To Climb, Is He Up To The Task? By Ayo Akanji

The chief social function of technology is to create new possibilities for human activity– William Leiss

For Kashifu, it was always going to lead to this, one way or the other. A life marked by dedication and hard work will be rewarded with responsibilities and more responsibilities. This is the life of Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the new Director General of National Information and Technology Development Agency, NITDA.

NITDA was an unknown item before the appointment of the former DG and current Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, alongside the team he brought in, which included Kashifu, his then Technical Assistant.

They had come in with an unprecedented drive with transformational policies Dr Pantami championed, and they recorded immeasurable successes.

For the most part, Kashifu was placed in charge of strategy execution, which in turn led to a 13 percent increase of ICT contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product GDP. He was at the forefront of coordinating local content initiatives that increased ICT local production by more than 200% in 2017.

Recent figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS puts ICT contribution to the GDP at 13.8 percent as against petroleum, which stood at 8.8 percent.

His appointment came with so much buzz, especially on social media, most commentators were in awe of his age and stellar achievements. But Kashifu knows better that the journey has only begun, and all the achievements he has stocked like feathers to a cap were only preparing him for an assignment like this. This can be attested to by a tweet shared on twitter, between Dr. Joe Abah (@DrJoeAbah) former director-general of Bureau of Public Sector Reform (BPSR) and Kashifu (@KashifuInuwa) where he (Kashifu), in responding to Dr Abah’s congratulatory tweet noted that: “Congratulating me now is tantamount to congratulating a surgeon on his way to theatre. He deserves congratulation when he comes out of the theatre with smile of success.” It is clear he understands the enormity of the task ahead of him.

One of the numerous mandates of NITDA is to ensure that the citizenry are empowered with information technologies through the establishment of a workforce that is IT proficient and globally competitive. It is open knowledge that Internet penetration in Nigeria is expanding; according to Nigeria Communications Commission NCC’s data it is 115,938,255 million.

Interestingly, Nigeria via NITDA is investigating Trucaller, the Swedish call blocking app for privacy breaches against over 2.9 million Nigerians users, which contravene Nigeria’s Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) by collecting more information than it needs to provide for its primary service.

However and important to note, the NDPR bill is yet to be signed – NITDA’s new leadership needs to lobby more for the Presidential assent. It is earnestly required for the implementation of the strategic policies the regulation has in place. Its scope includes enthroning data rights and protection of Nigerians, Africa’s largest mobile market.

By the way, a precedent has been set in Ireland when the European Union fined Facebook $1.63 billion for a data breach in which hackers compromised accounts of more than 50 million users. Any violator of the law would be fined and this would be an avenue to generate revenue.

One must applaud the synergy between the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy and the agencies it supervises.

The directives from the Honourable Minister on the Subscriber Identification Module, SIM registration exercise uncovered that 9.2 million SIM cards did not comply with the proper procedure, he directed the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC to deactivate improperly registered SIMs across various networks; so far 6.8 million cards have been regularized while the 2.2 million SIMs not regularized have now been blocked.

In this age of cyber warfare and hacking private information must be placed in safe hands. There is need for a well-defined data law stipulating how personal information of citizens should be stored and protected and also penalties meted out should citizens information be compromised.

Furthermore, the information technology sector in Nigeria is gaining notoriety in the world for the wrong reasons. These days, cyber frauds are becoming synonymous with the Nigeria. Nigerian companies are losing millions of dollars to hackers, both international and local. Nigerians are waiting to see the line of action that will be taken by the NITDA leadership to secure the cyberspace. Not only that, how these fraudsters can be identified and prosecuted accordingly.

We will like to see agents of national security deploy sophisticated infrastructures in the course of their work.

NITDA has the mandate to ensure and enhance national security and law enforcement. Our battle with insurgents, kidnappers, bandits, will definitely be boosted with the deployment of the requisite technology. We await the DG’s blueprint on that.

Ordinarily, many secondary schools in Nigeria cannot boast of having a functional computer lab. A huge majority of those that claim to own computer labs have computers for use in pictures and nothing more. This should be part of the DG’s agenda and I am happy to have noticed the successes of the NITDA Kids Kode Kamp 2019 where children within a week created html websites and other elementary coding technics.

Consequently, laws to establish IT infrastructures all over the country and to ensure that such infrastructures are utilized optimally as stipulated in NITDA’s mandate should be put in place.

Additional tech hubs, especially in zones hit by insurgency, more boot camps, more hackathons and the likes are areas Mr Kashifu would be expected to make things happen. The leadership must also look for ways to bring in the private sector for collaboration.

Silicon Valley is not a dream too big to aim for. Nigerians expect Kashifu to do more in transforming Nigeria’s technology ecosystem. Good for him, his predecessor has already laid a worthy foundation that though sets the bar high, leaves Kashifu an opportunity to mark his era as one that transformed Nigeria’s digital space. His work is cut out for him, but his ability has never been in doubt.

Ayo Akanji is a businessman and cyber security enthusiast, he writes from Abuja.

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NITDA’s Pantami Promises More Growth For Nigeria’s Digital Economy, By Ismail Akanji

“Give honour to whom it is due” this often repeated classic came alive on the 10th day of May, 2019 when the Publisher of Swift Reporters, Adewole Kayode, presented, on behalf of his editorial team, the first ever Swift Meritorious Award to no other a personality than the Director General of The Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Ali Pantami. To qualify for this award, in the words of the publisher, one must “have demonstrated, over a significant period of time, dedication to the promotion of Information Technology combined with a strong sense of civic duty”. This criteria and any other one set, could only have been met by Dr Pantami. 

That is how high he raised the bar. His achievements in improving Nigeria’s information technology compliance is very visible. Beyond his Agency’s characteristic policy of building human capacity by offering scholarships to deserving Nigerians, and strictly on merit, NITDA under the leadership of Dr. Isa has repositioned the IT industry in Nigeria: It has organized cyber security awareness programs to educate Nigerians on how they should operate in the cyberspace; his efforts earned the country the number 4 spot on the African continent in the ranking of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on Global Cybersecurity Index.

NITDA under Dr Pantami has identified seven areas from the current administration’s priorities and crafted its strategy from this, setting its own agenda on how it would help the government achieve its objectives in the following areas:

·        Sustainable home grown products;

·        Job creation and wealth generation;

·        Revenue generation;

·        Capacity building;

·        Cost streamlining and waste reduction;

·        Anti-corruption; and

·        National security.

As governance in Nigeria witnesses a paradigm shift, electronic governance is slowly building it’s way into the nation’s consciousness. And it should give every Nigerian joy that Nigeria is not being left behind due to the efforts of people like Dr. Pantami. As can be gleaned from the activation and implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), Automated CAC processes amongst others, Nigeria’s governance space is being defined for the better by technology. Not just to ensure smooth running of governance but even to check excesses and cut the potentials of wrongdoing by the civil service. And even beyond these, these policies are opening Nigeria up to the international commerce space and allowing local entrepreneurs and start -ups earn foreign exchange. 

Local Start-Ups have a place in Dr Pantami’s heart. His role in helping grow Nigerian companies like PiggyVest cannot be overemphasised. Today they are known for making strides geared towards making it possible for people to accept payments for products and services. Nigeria has an opportunity to establish itself as one of the most attractive FinTech hubs in the world. We have the capacity. FinTech opportunities in Nigeria are expanding by the minute – and the efforts of this industry can potentially redefine the financial services landscape of the world in the next five years.

NITDA has taken the bull by the horn on this. It has not only harmonised all government’s IT systems, it has constructed 3 hubs for IT, 80 centres for digital job creation, 8 virtual libraries, 86 centres for building digital capacity amongst other things. They have assumed their role – and rightly so – as the clearing house for all IT projects in MDAs. That means all IT projects embarked by any government institution must follow an approved template and standard set out by NITDA, and it is been implemented vigorously. This would ultimately ensure that substandard technology is not brought into the country, and there is compliance with our laws that give local technologies an upper hand in procurement.

Dr Isa Pantami has not only succeeded in repositioning the agency to a height unattained in its history, he has also made the agency – and Nigeria’s information technology space – attractive for investors. He has played a critical role in ensuring government agencies key into information technology framework in their processes and activities. Through the deployment of IT software and hardware in government Ministries and Agencies, Nigeria saves N24.7 Billion monthly.

With all these in place, Nigeria is steadily coming out of the woods and embracing information technology for growth – with Dr Pantami on the saddle, the journey is propitious indeed. 

Ismail, is a business man and technology enthusiast, he writes from Abuja.

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President Buhari Restates Commitment To Fight Against Corruption

The Nigerian government says it is very serious about the fight against corruption and will not rest until the menace is completely dealt with.

President Muhammadu Buhari was speaking in Abuja on Monday, while opening the 2018 e-Nigeria International Conference and exhibition.

Similarly, the President said the Social Investment Programmes of government, meant to better the lot of its citizens would be sustained.

The President, who underscored the importance of Information Communication Technology ICT to all spheres of life, said it could help sustain the fight against corruption and the Social Investment Programmes.

He said: “We are serious about fighting corruption. We must not fail in our quest to eliminate corruption in government businesses and in the wider society. The success of this administration’s Social Investment Programme (SIP), tagged as the largest and most ambitious social safety net programme in our recent history, relies heavily on the application of ICT.

“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. This programme has so far benefited over 9 million Nigerians.

“Furthermore, NITDA, in collaboration with the National Social Investment Office (NSIO), is coordinating Federal Government’s initiative of establishing eight (8) Innovation Hubs, one in each of the six Geo-Political Zones and one each in Lagos and Abuja. The purpose of establishing these hubs is 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.”

President Buhari therefore called on participants at the 3-day e-Nigeria conference to draw up recommendations that will help government develop a digital economy for Nigeria.

“I enjoin 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,” he said.

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NITDA Partners Arewa Tech Society For Sustainable Development Through IT

In appreciation of the effort of Arewa Tech Society, organisers of Arewa Tech Talks which held in the 19 Northern states of the federation, including the FCT, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has promised to give a helping hand in boosting the idea of using technology for development.
Revealing the plans of the agency at the Kano event which took place simultaneously in all the 19 Northern states and Abuja, the Northwest Regional Head of the agency Malam Abubakar L.S, revealed that the NITDA welcomes such initiative by groups such as Arewa Tech Society.
The Kano event was held at D.I. Hub, Lamido Crescent, Kano, Saturday, 21st July, 2018, with the attendance of many stakeholders from all sections of entrepreneurs, consultants and employees in the area.
Briefing the participants on the many benefits they could drive from the Agency, the regional head assured that, “Our agency will always welcome groupings of this nature. That you understand the importance and relevance of working as a team for the overall development of our society. This is a welcome development.”
“At NITDA we provide opportunities for students to go for their second degrees and up to PhD level. Ours is to always provide enabling environment for knowledge-based engagements,” he reminded.
He also encouraged them to strive hard and put in place structure that could be the foundation of the new development, “…through which you will excel and become assets for the country and for your individual self,” he said.
In his opening remarks, the convener Salihu Tanko Yakasai reveals that, “This idea came up just in the last one or two weeks. We thought that there is a need to establish a successful technology community. We need to talk to one another to have synergy, so that we can develop collectively.”
Yakasai said, “There is a need to make ourselves closer. Nothing is impossible, anyway. We came to also realise that the future of technology in the Northern part of the country is huge.”
“We want to use technology and solve our problems as a society. We can apply technology and solve problems of health, education, environment, name it. There is less appreciation of the services being rendered by the technology community. Hence there is the need to improve the market,” he advises.
According to him, they would do everything humanly possible to look at ways where stakeholders could be engaged, at the public or private sector.
Whereas funding of such efforts could be a bottleneck for successful take-off of the newly initiative, Yakasai believes that with the coming together of the technology community under one umbrella, all perceived difficulties could easily be dealt with.
He further said that, “We want see Arewa Technology in our universities and all other places. There is this strong need for us to come and find areas of improvement as a group with focus.”
Amongst the Panelists who discussed areas of their achievements and engagements are Maryam Gwadabe, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bluesaphire, Usman I. Usman CEO of Flexisef,  Anas Yazid, CEO of Certis, Inusa Dangana, CEO of D.l. Hub and Sadiq Tanko Yakasai CISCO Engineer from United Kingdom.
They all briefed participants about how they started, grew up and what were their challenges. On his part the CEO of D.I. Hub, Dangana reveals that his company has partnership with both local and global stakeholders.
Gwadabe, said her company started since 2015 and their aim was to build capacity, such as mentorship services, consultancy service amongst others. According to her, they provide capacity building for people from 5 years up to 60 years of age.
Usman of Flexisef said they have more concern in the area of education. “We develop talent through  capacity building especially in the area of education. We identify the talent gap, especially among the less privileged ones,” he said.
Engineer Yakasai from United Kingdom argued that there was a need to put structure in place, so as to have focus in whatever they wanted to achieve, “… for us to also sustain the energy,” he said.
He further warns that, mass movement of the effort with abrupt arrangement would not be fruitful for the overall progress of the initiative. Hence, “…the need for baby-step. Not that of mass movement that can easily go into the thin air,” he maintains.
Other participants raised issues of challenges and way forward. Part of the challenges identified were that of digital divide and lack of proper awareness from the part of the public about the importance and necessity of using technology for development.
As a way forward, some of the participants advised for the inclusion of religious leaders to make use of sermons on the importance and necessity of IT in the society. Which also, according to them calls for the integration of businesses with IT.
In his closing remarks, the Convener Yakasai disclosed that more than 150 people registered with the Society in Kano, while over 950 have also been registered across the 19 Northern states and Abuja.
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FG Partners Facebook To Train 20,000 Youths In Digital Software

The federal government has disclosed that twenty thousand Nigerian youths will be trained in Digital software job creation by Facebook; a US-based Social Media outfit.

Director-General of the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami stated this while speaking to newsmen on the recent visit of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to the Silicon Valley, United States of America, USA.

Dr Pantami said the Nigerian delegation led by the Vice President held a fruitful meeting with about sixty-seven ICT based companies who indicated interest to invest in Nigeria through youth skill acquisition in ICT.

Dr Pantami said the ICT industry which was vibrant is attracting the interest of some of the biggest ICT companies in the world.

The NITDA Director General said Nigeria expects to attract ICT investments worth over one billion Dollars to Nigeria.

Recently Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had led a delegation to the United States to solicit foreign investment from the United States ICT industry to Nigeria.

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FG Raises Alarm Over Potential Cyber Attacks

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has raised alarm over potential cyber-attacks likely to be experienced this year as well as the precautionary measures to be taken.

This was put forth in a press release by the  agency’s Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT). The statement, signed by Dr Isa Pantami, the Director General NITDA, stated that the body, in conjunction with other industry stakeholders, in their efforts at ensuring a safe and secure cyberspace, have intercepted some signals of potential cyber-attacks targeting banking, health and other systems, power and transportation systems, as well as other critical national infrastructure.

The statement emphasized the need for all to be vigilant and proactive as far as security is concerned.  The following precautionary measures are to be implemented: efforts should be intensified at ensuring that  data is encrypted, particularly any sensitive or personal data;agencies are to  ensure that networks are fully secure through the use of wired network thereby protecting them from possible hackers’ attempt at using Wi-Fi security lapses to remotely break into computer systems.

The statement also states that ”where Wi-Fi network is used, ensure that an up to date encryption standard is in use and turn off the service set identifier (SSID) broadcasting function on the wireless router if it is not needed.”

They are to ensure that ”free Wi-Fi connections as well as other wireless connections such as Bluetooth or infrared ports are not used unless where necessary; · ensure that operating systems and other software applications are regularly updated with the latest patches; · ensure that anti-malware protection is installed on all IT systems as this will help in protecting your organisation’s network from potential attacks through virus-laden software and email attachments. Also, all security software should be adjusted to scan compressed or archived files; · ensure that appropriate guidelines are in place for connecting personal devices into the organisation’s network.”

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President Buhari Reiterates FG’s Commitment To Leverage On ICT To Drive Economic Reforms

President Muhammadu Buhari, has said that the Information and Communication Technology (ICT), if effectively harnessed, will provide job opportunities for teaming Nigerian youths, and  enhance the quality of locally produced infrastructure.

President Buhari stated this at the opening ceremony of the 2017 e-Nigeria Conference, organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on Tuesday.

According to him, ICT has come to stay, and has being a major driver in developmental governance and economic reform plans of the CHANGE agenda of the federal government.

In his address, the President revealed that almost all sectors of Nigeria’s economy now leverage on ICT to increase efficiency, productivity and performance. These sectors, according to him, has recorded huge investments and contributes over 10% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and we are making conscious efforts to see that this contribution continues to grow in the next few years.

The President narrated how his administration has leverage on ICT to transform our government especially in the areas of strategy, policies and digital infrastructure investments.

His words: “You may recall that on assumption of office, we enforced the policy on Treasury Single Account (TSA). Today, we are all witnesses to the impact it has made on our financial management.

“We have so far consolidated over 20,000 accounts, resulting into about N4.7 billion monthly savings. In addition the policy facilitated transparency, accountability and ease of transactions and payments between Government and businesses as well as Government and citizens.

“Another initiative leveraging on ICT and making huge impact on the economy is the introduction of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and Bank Verification Number (BVN). Its implementation has helped to eliminate the menace of ghost workers thereby reducing waste in the system by saving government over N20 billion monthly.

“This administration recently issued an Executive Order mandating all ministries, departments and agencies to give preference to locally manufactured goods and services in their procurement of information technology services.

“Such measures are part of the deliberate efforts at encouraging local manufacture of ICT infrastructure, creating job opportunities, providing investment opportunities as well as strengthening our currency. We commend NITDA’s efforts on fostering the patronage of indigenous IT products and services through continuous engagement with indigenous OEMs, relevant stakeholders and other laudable initiatives.

“ICT plays a pivotal role with agencies of government such as the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) which have leaned on ICT in improving public service delivery in an efficient and transparent manner. So far, 31 reforms have been completed by the Council and these reforms are already making noticeable impact on our economic diversification efforts.

“The Agency’s efforts at enforcing Federal Government’s directive on ensuring that all ICT projects in the country are cleared by it before implementation are highly commendable. These efforts will ensure that government’s ICT procurements are transparent, they are aligned with government’s IT shared vision and policy, save costs through promotion of shared services, avoid duplication, ensure compatibility of IT systems thereby improving efficiency across government and enforce the patronage of indigenous companies.”

The President, who declared the conference open, urged participants to come up with practical, viable solutions and recommendations to further develop local content in ICT as well as how the administration can best regulate the deployment and use of ICT systems to foster a digital economy in Nigeria.

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EFCC Probes NITDA DG Over Alleged Illegal Award Of Contracts

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is presently investigating the Director General of the National Information Technology and Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Pantami, for allegedly awarding contracts contrary to the Procurement Act.

Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, made this known on a radio programme in Ibadan at the weekend.

Recall that a Kaduna-based group, Good Governance and Accountability Monitoring Group, on September 27, alleged that Pantami did not follow due process of the Procurement Act, saying that there was a plan to give the NITDA contract for 2017 to a company.

While commenting on the allegation, Shittu said, “Before I received the letter, the case was already with the EFCC but (the petitioner) merely copied me. Since that is done, it is not in my power to investigate alleged criminality. I think we should look up to the EFCC on that matter.

“Of course, NITDA has also responded and given me a copy of its response but I don’t have the prerogative or power to investigate. If the matter had not gone to the EFCC, I would have set up a committee to look into it. But let me sound this note of warning on a matter of contracts, so many people get used when they are not succeeding in getting what they want in the processes.

“I am not saying people in NITDA or other government agencies are saints or angels but you have to look at the two ways deeply. At my level, I wish the EFCC, to whom the original petition was addressed, take it up and take a decision and report appropriately.”

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