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FG Applauds NCC’s Commitment To Enhancing Digital Skill In Youths

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FG Applauds NCC’s Commitment To Enhancing Digital Skill In Youths

…Existing policies are designed to accelerate the delivery of digital economy benefits, Says Pantami

…We’re poised to deepen digital access – Danbatta

Olushola Okunlade 

The Federal Government has applauded the commitment and dedication of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) towards enhancing digital skills development among youths, through the implementation of various Information and Communication Technology skill acquisition programs.

Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, gave the commendation during the inauguration of a Digital Nigeria Centre (DNC), a project executed by the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), an arm of NCC, at the Ijesa Muslim Grammar School, Ilesa, Osun State recently.

Representing President Muhamadu Buhari at the event, Aregbesola commended the NCC for timely and thorough implementation of the project, saying he was confident that the project will promote the connection of public secondary schools to broadband internet in the Ilesa community and ultimately equip beneficiaries with 21st-century skills.

“I would like to thank my very good friend and brother, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, for assenting to our request to have the first of this remodeled project in Osun State sited in Ilesa. I will also like to thank the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, and the entire Management and staff of NCC and the USPF, as well as their technical partners for timely and successful completion of this laudable project,” he said.

FG Applauds NCC’s Commitment to Enhancing Digital Skill in Youths
Left-Right: Iyabode Solanke, Director, Projects, NCC; Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman, Board of Commissioners, NCC; Hon. Rauf Aregbesola, Minister for Interior, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
FG Applauds NCC’s Commitment to Enhancing Digital Skill in Youths
Commissioning of the Digital Nigeria Centre at Ijesha Muslim Grammar School, Osun State.
FG Applauds NCC’s Commitment to Enhancing Digital Skill in Youths
USPF, NCC staff, Solanke, and Aregbesola at the Commissioning of the Digital Nigeria Centre/ICT Library at Ijesha Muslim Grammar School.

On the sideline of the commissioning, Aregbesola also announced the establishment of President Muhammadu Buhari N100 million Technology Fund for Youth Empowerment, to nudge the emergence of world-class technology experts. The Minister of Interior stated that the Fund targets 2,000 youths in the next two years, who will be provided with devices for training in different areas such as software development and design, amongst others.

The Governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola, who was represented by the State’s Commissioner for Innovation, Science and Technology, Dr. Babatunde Olawale, expressed the gratitude of the State Government to the Federal Government, the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, and the Nigerian Communications Commission, for initiative and particularly for inaugurating the pioneer remodeled DNC project in Osun State. Oyetola also informed the enthusiastic gathering that Osun State Government was willing and ready to collaborate with NCC to replicate the project in other parts of the State.

Speaking in the same vein, Pantami, who was represented at the event by the Chairman, Board of Commissioners of NCC, Prof. Adeolu Akande, also commended the NCC and USPF on the delivery of the DNC project on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He declared that the project and similarly instituted ones were initiated by the government to give expression to its vision to effectively digitise the nation’s economy for increased prosperity for all Nigerians.

Pantami stated that the Federal Government is focused on promoting the digital economy across the country and that this had informed the renaming of the Ministry of Communications to the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. On the heels of the re-christening, Pantami recalled that the Federal Government emplaced Digital Nigeria-oriented policies to reinforce the focus of existing policies in order to accelerate the delivery of derivable benefits of digital economy to Nigerians, regardless of their locations and circumstances.

FG Applauds NCC’s Commitment to Enhancing Digital Skill in Youths
Solanke, representing the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC.
FG Applauds NCC’s Commitment to Enhancing Digital Skill in Youths
Akande, representing the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy
FG Applauds NCC’s Commitment to Enhancing Digital Skill in Youths
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, making a speech.

Very central among the policies is the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, a 10-year, eight-pillar focused blueprint for actualising Federal Government’s digital economy agenda unveiled in November 2019.

Pantami asserted that the DNC inaugurated at Ilesa was a concrete implementation of the Digital Literacy and Skills, the second pillar of NDEPS.

According to Pantami, the overarching objective of the DNC project is to facilitate the adoption of digital lifestyles in the schools as well as in the school communities. The Minister averred that the project’s significance cannot be under-estimated, considering its ability to improve digital skills for the youths and subsequently make them globally competitive.

Pantami said the Nigerian government is determined to arm the youths with digital skills, strong literacy, and numeracy skills, critical and innovative thinking skills, complex problem-solving aptitude, the ability to collaborate and deploy socio-emotional skills, which they require to transform their lives and build the economy.

“We have already made a number of giant strides in the development of our digital economy culture and the deployment of initiatives such as the Digital Nigeria Centre eloquently demonstrates the current administration’s commitment to connecting all Nigerians,” Pantami said as he equally expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to its tripartite agenda of improving the economy, curbing corruption and enhancing national security through effective deployment of ICT in all nooks and crannies of the country.

FG Applauds NCC’s Commitment to Enhancing Digital Skill in Youths
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and Akande.
FG Applauds NCC’s Commitment to Enhancing Digital Skill in Youths
Dr Omoniyi Ibietan, Head, Online Media, NCC, compering the event.
FG Applauds NCC’s Commitment to Enhancing Digital Skill in Youths
Students of Ijesha Muslim Grammar School, Ilesa, Osun State.

In his remark, Danbatta, who was represented at the event by the Commission’s Director of Projects, Iyabode Solanke, said all the regulatory activities, initiatives, and programs that the Commission had undertaken since 2019, in collaboration with its critical stakeholders, including its arm, the USPF, have been targeted at giving concrete expression to Nigeria’s deliberate policy to migrate to a fully digital economy.

He said the Commission achieves this by consistently committing itself to the expansion of appropriate infrastructure to enhance digital literacy and skills in view of the economic and social impact of digitization on all sectors.

The NCC Chief Executive restated the Commission’s commitment to the overall objective of bridging the digital divide through the provision of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as well as broadband access to the unserved and underserved institutions and communities in the country.

Earlier, the Principal of Ijesa Muslim Grammar School, Ramota Ilesanmi, thanked President Buhari-led Federal Government for the project, saying that it will go a long way in meeting the ICT needs of students and residents of the city.

The DNC, formerly known as School Knowledge Centre (SKC), is one of the projects in the Access Programme framework of the USPF, conceptualized to promote the availability and utilisation of ICT and resources of the Internet in teaching and learning in public schools in underserved, unserved and rural areas. Specific objectives of DNC are to increase ICT literacy among school teachers and students; provide a platform for accessing online educational resources; equip students with ICT skills; facilitate ICT adoption in teaching and learning; as well as increase pass rate in Mathematics, English language, and other science subjects.

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Danbatta Applauds Pantami’s Appointment As WISIS Chair

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NCC Releases Final Information Memorandum For Auction Of 3.5GHZ, Compile Responses To Stakeholders

…Hon. Minister has been playing in driving fundamental digital economy policies – Danbatta

Olushola Okunlade Writes


The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has congratulated the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, on his appointment as the Chairman of the 2022 World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Forum by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Danbatta described the choice of the Minister as chair of the Forum as a worthy recognition of Nigeria’s leadership role in the global digital economy ecosystem, noting that Nigeria has continued to hold a front-row seat in the promotion of information and communication technology (ICT) as a driving force for national development since the assumption of office of the Minister.

“On behalf of the Board, Management, and Staff of the Nigerian Communications Commission, I want to express our profound delight and congratulations to the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, on his well-deserved appointment by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to chair this year’s WSIS Forum”, Danbatta stated.

“The appointment did not surprise us at NCC, given the important role the Hon. Minister has been playing in driving fundamental digital economy policies, being implemented by agencies under his supervision, in order to boost the diversification policy of the Federal Government,” the EVC said.

“We are, therefore, happy to associate with the Minister on this feat, as it means greater recognition for Nigeria. The appointment is an indication that the world has continued to take notice of the giant strides of Nigeria’s digital economy under the supervision of the Minister.

The NCC will continue to do everything within its regulatory mandate to further support the Federal Government’s drive for ubiquitous, affordable, and accessible digital services across all nooks and crannies of the country,” Danbatta said.

Following consultations with various stakeholders, the ITU recently notified the Minister via a letter, of his appointment as the 2022 WSIS Chairman.

The ITU is orgainsing the WSIS 2022 Forum in collaboration with other agencies with the United Nations with a focus on “ICTs for Well-Being, Inclusion, and Resilience: WSIS Cooperation for Accelerating Progress on the SDGs”.

As has been noted elsewhere, the appointment of Prof. Pantami has given Nigeria, and indeed, the African continent, the unique role of coordinating the activities of the WSIS in its 20th year, following the WSIS Phase I meeting which took place in 2003.

The WSIS Forum 2022, which will be attended by several high-level stakeholders, including Cabinet Ministers from ITU countries, will serve as a key platform to discuss the role of ICTs as a means to bolster the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals targets. The discourse will take place in the context of the mechanism for follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UNGA Resolution A/70/1).

The WSIS Forum also provides an opportunity to track the achievements of WSIS Action Lines in collaboration with the UN Agencies involved and provides information and analysis on the implementation of WSIS Action Lines since 2005. The Forum aims at enhancing cooperation, partnership, innovation, exchange of experiences, and good practices in ICTs for sustainable development across the world.

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Hackers Can Unlock, Steal Your Vehicles, NCC Alerts Nigerians

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NCC Issues Final Letters Of Licence Awards To 5G Spectrum Winners

…Warns of vulnerability to new Android trojan apps

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) wishes to alert telecom consumers and members of the public on an ongoing cyber-vulnerability that allows a nearby hacker to unlock vehicles, start their engines wirelessly, and make away with the cars.

The fact that car remotes are categorized as short-range devices that make use of radiofrequency (RF) to lock and unlock cars informed the need for the Commission to alert the general public of this emergent danger, where hackers take advantage to unlock and start a compromised car.

According to the latest advisory released by the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT), the Cybersecurity Centre for the telecom sector established by the NCC, the vulnerability is a Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attack or, more specifically, a replay attack in which an attacker intercepts the RF signals normally sent from a remote key fob to the car, manipulates these signals, and re-sends them later to unlock the car at will.

With this latest type of cyber-attack, it is also possible to manipulate the captured commands and re-transmit them to achieve a different outcome altogether. “Multiple researchers disclosed a vulnerability, which is said to be used by a nearby attacker to unlock some Honda and Acura car models and start their engines wirelessly. The attack consists of a threat actor capturing the radio frequency (RF) signals sent from your key fob to the car and resending these signals to take control of your car’s remote keyless entry system,” the advisory stated emphatically.

However, the NCC-CSIRT, in the advisory, has offered some precautionary measures or solutions that can be adopted by car owners to prevent falling victim to the attack.

According to the cyber-alert unit of the Commission, “When affected, the only mitigation is to reset your key fob at the dealership. Besides, the affected car manufacturer may provide a security mechanism that generates fresh codes for each authentication request, this makes it difficult for an attacker to ‘replay’ the codes thereafter. Additionally, vulnerable car users should store their key fobs in signal-blocking ’Faraday pouches’ when not in use.”
Importantly, car owners in the stated categories are advised to choose Passive Keyless Entry (PKE) as opposed to Remote Keyless Entry (RKE), which would make it harder for an attacker to read the signal due to the fact that criminals would need to be at close proximity to carry out their nefarious acts.

The PKE is an automotive security system that operates automatically when the user is in proximity to the vehicle, unlocking the door on approach or when the door handle is pulled, and also locking it when the user walks away or touches the car on exit. The RKE system, on the other hand, represents the standard solution for conveniently locking and unlocking a vehicle’s doors and luggage compartment by remote control.

Additionally, in a related advisory, the NCC, based on another detection by CSIRT, wishes to inform the general public about the resurgence of Joker Trojan-Infected Android Apps on the Google Play Store. This arose due to the activities of criminals who intentionally download legitimate apps from the Play Store, modify them by embedding the Trojan malware, and then upload the app back to the Play Store with a new name.

The malicious payload is only activated once the apps go live on the Play Store, which enables the apps to scale through Google’s strict evaluation process. Once installed, these apps request permissions that once granted, enable the apps to have access to critical functions such as text messages and notifications.

As a consequence, a compromised device will subscribe unwitting users to premium services, billing them for services that do not exist. A device like this can also be used to commit Short Messaging Service (SMS) fraud while the owner is unaware.

It can click on online ads automatically and even use SMS One Time passwords (OTPs) to secretly approve payments. Without checking bank statements, the user will be unaware that he or she has subscribed to an online service. Other actions, such as stealing text messages, contacts, and other device data, are also possible.

To avoid falling victim to the manipulation of hackers deploying Joker Trojan-Infected Android Apps, Android users have been advised to avoid downloading unnecessary apps or installing apps from unofficial sources. The NCC also wishes to advise telecom consumers to ensure that apps installed from the Google Play Store are heavily scrutinized by reading reviews, assessing the developers, perusing the terms of use, and only granting the necessary permissions.

Conclusively, the NCC recommends that unauthorized transactions be checked against any installed app. Indeed, any apps not in use should be deleted while users are also advised to ensure that a device is always patched and updated to the latest software.

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NCC, FIRS Inaugurate Joint Committee To Boost National Revenues In Telecoms Sector

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NCC, FIRS Inaugurate Joint Committee To Boost National Revenues In Telecoms Sector

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) have taken their collaboration a notch further by setting up a Joint Committee of senior and management staff of the two agencies towards the implementation of inter-agency strategies for enhancing national revenues in the telecommunications sector.

The NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu, inaugurated the 17-member committee on behalf of the Commission’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, and the Executive Chairman of the FIRS, Mr. Muhammad Nami, at the NCC’s Board Room in Abuja on Tuesday, May 10, 2022.

NCC, FIRS Inaugurate Joint Committee To Boost National Revenues In Telecoms Sector
Group Picture of FIRS staff and NCC staff.
NCC, FIRS Inaugurate Joint Committee To Boost National Revenues In Telecoms Sector
Mrs. Ben-Obi; Mr. Irri; Barr Adewolu; and Mr. Nwokenneya.

The inauguration of the committee, comprising six officials of NCC and eleven officials of FIRS, was carried out with senior officials of NCC and those of the tax agency led by its Coordinating Director for Compliance Support Group, Dr. Dick Irri, who represented the FIRS’ Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami at the event.

While inaugurating the Committee on behalf of the heads of the two agencies, Adewolu stated that the terms of reference (ToR) of the Committee include: reviewing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the NCC and the FIRS on June 9, 2020; and carry out inter-agency interaction on the implementation of the NCC’s Revenue Assurance System (RAS), to ensure that it incorporates the needs of FIRS to the extent that RAS can remain the sole interface with telecom service providers’ networks vis-à-vis the Tax Authority’s information needs from the telecoms sector.

Given the Committee’s composition and the extensive experience and commitment of its members – which had informed their selection by the agencies – Adewolu stated that the management of NCC and the FIRS expected no less than an excellent output from the Committee, tasking them to work together harmoniously and in the overall national interest.

Also in his comments, Dr. Dick Irri, who led the FIRS delegation to the inauguration, advised the Committee to take the assignments very seriously. “I would like to task you to take this assignment as a national matter as we expect the two agencies to work in harmony, collaborate effectively, and have a warm handshake that will make this synergy between the two agencies a great example of collaboration between Federal Government agencies towards enhancing fiscal governance in Nigeria,” he said.

The decision to set up the Committee was one of the major outcomes of the meeting between the FIRS and the NCC on March 8, 2022, organized at the instance of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, to discuss the request by the FIRS for data and documents from the telecoms industry for enhancing national revenues from the sector.

NCC, FIRS Inaugurate Joint Committee To Boost National Revenues In Telecoms Sector
Left-Right: Dr. Dick Irri, Coordinating Director, Compliance Support Group, FIRS; and Barr Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.
NCC, FIRS Inaugurate Joint Committee To Boost National Revenues In Telecoms Sector
Left-Right: Mrs. Chiaka Ben-Obi, Group Lead, Digital and Innovation Support Group, FIRS; Irri; Adewolu; Mrs. Faozat Ogunniyi, Group Lead, Enforcement Support Group, FIRS; Mr. Ephraim Nwokenneya, Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, NCC; and Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, NCC.

The inauguration is a significant achievement, as it deepens the strategic collaboration between the two government agencies in the pursuit of their statutory objectives. It also vindicates the emphasis placed on achieving mutually-sustainable relationships with relevant stakeholders as detailed in both the NCC’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP), 2020-2024, and the Strategic Vision (Implementation) Plan (SVP 2020-2025) as well as FIRS’ strategic framework.

The activities of the NCC and the FIRS are acknowledged as pivotal to the achievement of sustainable revenue and growth projections of the Federal Government. In this regard, the telecoms sector has sustained a relatively high contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the years – ending the fourth quarter of 2021 at 12.6 per cent.

Besides, the FIRS recently acknowledged that some telecom licensees contribute a significantly high percentage of total national tax revenue. It is expected that the Joint Committee will enable both organizations to further optimize revenues for the Federal Government from the telecoms, digital economy, and adjacent sectors of the economy.

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