By Juliet Umeh
Life of Nigerians residing in Kano and Maiduguri will soon improve tremendously as they will begin to have reliable connectivity for high speed internet networks.
This is as the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami commissioned the advance stage of laying the broadband cable that connects between the 560 kilometre Kano and Maiduguri highway.
The project is part of the six legacy digital economy projects by Pantami aimed at assisting President Muhammadu Buhari achieve his desired infrastructure delivery to the citizens of Nigeria.
Unveiling the projects, Pantami, said he decided to restrict the activities of the ministry to policy drive and supervision in order to enhance efficient service delivery and to entrench synergy among parastatals under the ministry.
He explained that the project had direct bearing with the 8 pillars of the National Digital Policy for Digital Nigeria unveiled by President Buhari on November 28th, 2019.
Also, as part of his ministry’s efforts to provide Nigerians with digital skills, Pantami said over 33,000 Nigerians had so far enrolled into the NITDA Academy programme since inception.
He said: “With the academy powered by IBM, Microsoft, Huawei, Oracle, etc, participants would acquire quality skills on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, cybersecurity, 5G and IoT, which forms part of their promotion of digital skills.
‘‘We feel there is need for our agriculture to be integrated into the digital sector, so that we can enhance the efficiency of the sector.’’
Also speaking, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola said when the project is completed; the whole residents on the Kano-Maiduguri axis will have very reliable connectivity for high speed internet access.
He said: ‘‘The last mile now is to lay the broadband cable that connects between Kano and Maiduguri. By the time we finish that, the whole of that axis will have very reliable connectivity for high speed internet access. Day by day, week by week month by month, the speed of our internet will grow, the quality of our services will improve and we will see the kind of Nigeria we all wish for.’’
Fashola described Pantami as a minister with infectious enthusiasm adding that the Minister had shown the power of relative youthfulness in assisting the President to deliver on the promises he made to Nigerians.
Also in her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed admitted that the COVID19 pandemic has compelled everybody to change the way things are done as most works are now being done digitally.
Ahmed said, ‘‘Whether we like it or not, disruptive technologies are here, it is either we adjust and embrace them or we will be left behind. This event is expanding the frontiers of digital economy across the country, enabling us to rapidly expand the digital economy all over the country.
The six projects commissioned by the minister include: IT Hub in ABU, Zaria, IT Hub in UNILAG, the NCC Emergency Communications Centre, Kaduna, NIGCOMSAT North West Regional Office, Kaduna, IT Hub in Enugu State Polytechnic, Iwolo and IT Community Centre Hub, Daura