FG — The Federal Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, on behalf of the Federal Government, Tuesday, virtually commissioned eleven (11) completed projects for the development and sustainability of the Nigeria digital economy.
The projects which cut across various states in the country include Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centre in Abraka, Delta state; New Neighbourhood Post office, Delta state; Remodeled National Mail Exchange Centre in Mbiama, Rivers state, e-Health/ Data Sharing Centre, ATBU medical colleges, Bauchi; Virtual Examination Centre, University of Maiduguri; Information Technology Capacity Building Centre, College of Education, Gumel, Jigawa State.
Others include Information Technology Capacity building Centre, FUTO, Imo State; Emergency Communication Centre, Illorin; Emergency Communication Centre, Calabar; School Knowledge Centre, GDSS, Hassan Central, Gombe State.
Daily Times reports that these projects were funded by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST), under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.
Meanwhile, speaking at the event held in Communications and Digital Economy Complex, Abuja, Pantami acknowledged and commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his unprecedented mandate towards the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Nigerian economy, especially that of the digital economy sector.
He further stated that the 11 projects are in accordance with the presidential mandate of security, economy diversification, fighting corruption.
‘The projects to be commissioned today are related to the three agenda of president- security, economy diversification and fighting corruption.
“The emergency communication centres are part and parcel of the NCA 2003 act to support security institutions,” he stated.
Pantami also said, “The area of economic diversification is where you provide digital skills to the citizens. When we talk about diversifying our economies, we need to focus on a knowledge-based economy.”
Furthermore, in terms of fighting corruption, he noted, “Some of the projects related to E-governance will go a long way fighting corruption because, the more our activities are being digitalised, the less people interact physically. And as long as you reduce interaction physically, definitely, that will reduce corruption significantly.”
Moreover, the minister also appreciated the efforts of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, saying he brought the idea to Federal Executive Council on the need to publicise completed projects, in a bid to inform citizens on the extent the Federal Government has gone towards providing for them.
“He also drew our attention on the need of commissioning our projects, so that citizens will be informed about what [the] federal government has been doing for them.
“I discovered that before being appointed as a minister, through the digital sector, we executed over 500 projects that have not been commissioned.
“Because of this now, we decided to commission some projects at least what has been done within this year.” He noted.
The Director-General NITDA, Mr Kashifu Abdullahi, who also spoke at the event, expressed his delight towards the continuous acceleration of projects made under the minister, despite the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He stated, “To me, what is so amazing is that the pandemic accelerated the way we execute projects, under the leadership of Dr Isa Ali Pantami, my boss and my mentor.
“While other sectors shutdown and lockdown, at our ministry, the pandemic makes us to work harder and accelerated us in doing more”.
He further revealed, “It would be amazing if I tell you that these 11 projects we are going to commission today were conceptualised and executed within a year”.
Meanwhile, also speaking at the occasion, the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta assured the commitment of the commission towards implementing the digital economy mandate of the federal government.
While, in a separate interview, the governor of Imo State, Mr Ositadimma Uzodimma, revealed that the emergency call centres created were extremely active in the abating of crime in the country and especially Imo WState.
The governor stated, “You will recall that I launched a few weeks ago our security outfit they were making use of the emergency communication centre, the emergency number is 112, courtesy of NCC.
“So, it is because of that I am inviting the Minister to come and commission the project.
“If you noticed, the crime rate has gone, as we have been tracking down crime syndicates”, he noted.
Goodwill messages and remarks were made by the distinguished Guest of honour in attendant including the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of State Power, Goddy Jedy Agba; Minister of State Education, Chief Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; Minister of State Mines and Steel, Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah; and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
Meanwhile, the various heads of agencies under the supervision of the ministry who also gave their remarks and goodwill messages were MD and CEO of NIGCOMSAT, Dr Abimbola Alale; MD and CEO Galaxy Backbone, Professor Muhammed Abubakar; and the Project Commissioning Chairman, who doubles as the Executive Secretary of The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), Dr Ayuba Shuaibu.