By Angela Nkwocha
President Muhammadu Buhari has commended efforts of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami, the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC), the Presidential Committee and all other stakeholders, who participated in the development of the new National Broadband Plan, for coming up with new broadband target of 70 per cent penetration of broadband in the country by 2025.
The President gave the commendation at the unveiling of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2020–2025, the commissioning of the Communications and Digital Economy Complex, the commencement of the Digital, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training Scheme, and the launching of the Abuja Emergency Communication Centre (ECC) and the National Emergency Toll-Free Number, 112.
While expressing delight at the laudable developments and synergy among the agencies under the Ministry, he noted that effective deployment of broadband will enhance the development of the nation’s digital economy and its diversification thus urged mobile network operators (MNOs) to ensure full attainment of the targets set in the new National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 by giving special attention to unserved and underserved areas when deploying telecom services.
While decrying the high rate of telecom infrastructure vandalism, he tasked relevant government agencies on its protection adding that the Federal Government is committed to ensuring that all stakeholders have a conducive environment to ensure the successful implementation of the Broadband Plan, to boost broadband penetration as well as support the deployment of 4G across the country.
President Buhari further lauded the NCC’s Communications and Digital Economy Complex stressing that it will provide a befitting coordinating centre for the new focus on a digital Nigeria.
While commending NCC for effectively deploying technology to address the nation’s numerous security concerns he said the newly commisioned ECC and Toll Free Number, 112, will aid the safety of Nigerians thus tasks citizens to take advantage of the digital technologies for emergency rescue as well as promote and enhance public safety.
“The Emergency Communications Centres (ECC) will go a long way in supporting our efforts to improve the security of lives and property,” the President said.
He also explained that the Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training scheme, is aimed at empowering innovators and entrepreneurs with skills required to thrive in the emerging digital economy.
Speaking earlier the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy,
Dr Ali Ibrahim Pantami, averred that broadband penetration is key to reviving the Nigerian economy. He averred that the digital and information communication sector is providing alternatives for people to stay in touch and institutions to provide the needed basic life-saving services to the populace especially with the wide spread of Corona virus which calls for isolation.
On his part the Chief host, Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, said broadband penetration has now reached 38.5 per cent as against the 4 and 6 percent recorded at the beginning of the current administration.
Danbatta explained to his guests that the magnificient edifice been commissioned was the transformation of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) in 2005 and the NCC-DBI hostel and recreational facilities as part of its initiative to provide a conducive atmosphere for proposed students.
“The facility was confirmed and ratified by the Federal Executive Council at its 45th meeting held on November 22, 2006. The NCC-DBI hostel and recreational facilities were abandoned before completion and were redesigned and modified by the NCC Management in 2018 from a hostel to an office complex; and was later renamed the Communications and Digital Economy Complex in line with current realities and policy direction of the government on digital Nigeria”.