Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman, EVC and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has noted that the devastation and destruction caused by the novel Coronavirus cannot be quantified.
He said those who survived the pandemic should indeed be thankful to be alive and living well in the midst of COVlD-19.
Danbatta spoke at the capacity building programme for members of the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association, NITRA, held at the Digital Bridge Institute, Abuja, on Tuesday.
The training was tagged, “Capacity Building for Telecom Reporters,” which the EVC noted was chosen to aptly reflect the focus of the training.
The EVC said that telecoms continue to provide government and businesses with the platform to operate and transact online to ensure that Nigeria’s developing economy is sustained with the shut down of every sector of the economy in the heat of the pandemic.
He said it was the tradition of the Commission to ensure that its stakeholders and partners from the Media are well equipped with the knowledge and required skill-set to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.
Prof. Dambatta noted that the information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry in Nigeria is the most dynamic, as it continues to evolve by the day.
He noted that the advancement of ICT has reshaped every facet of human endeavour from learning, teaching and communication to the advancement in medicine, transportation, space exploration and many more.
“We should indeed all be thankful to be alive and living well in the midst of the COVlD-19 Pandemic,” he said.
“The devastation and destruction caused by the novel coronavirus cannot be quantified, but I am happy that the necessary policies and programmes put in place by the Commission have repositioned Nigeria’s Telecoms industry and also provided support for other vital sectors.
“I must applaud every member of NITRA for working assiduously to provide coverage for our activities, as well as provide a platform for our narratives in terms of the various policy initiatives and actions taken to support the national economy.
“Without your continuous cooperation, understanding and professionalism, the Nigerian audience would not have been properly informed about the activities of the NCC.
“Today, we continue in our quest for an improved ICT industry in Nigeria by assembling a team of seasoned professionals at the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) to educate and enlighten you all on the latest trends in the global ICT industry.
“The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, (Ibrahim Ali Pantami) in his submission recognized the important role journalism has played in the development of Nigeria’s ICT industry and wants me to reassure you that the Federal Government will continue to provide an enabling environment for the ICT Sector to thrive.
“This effort is consistent with one of the critical pillars of my strategic vision plan, which has to do with strategic partnership and collaboration and so, we view every member of NITRA as a very crucial stakeholder, hence this training.
“Let me turn our attention to the issue of 5G. A lot of falsehoods and misinformation have been peddled both on online and traditional media outlets about the health and safety implications of deploying 5G technology.
“AS I stated in my speech during the NITRA Innovative Tech forum, according to a recent landmark economic study conducted by Qualcomm, 56 will affect the global economy and drive growth exponentially.
“5G’s full economic effect will likely be realized across the globe by 2035, supporting a wide range of industries and potentially enabling up to $13.2 trillion worth of goods and services. This impact will be much greater than the current 46 networks.
“5G when fully deployed will provide increased speed and bandwidth as well as provide deeper coverage to reach people in rural or challenging locations. In addition, 56 will provide strong security for the various sectors of government and private organizations.
“Due to its sheer scale and scope, the ITU predicts 56 will accelerate the achievements of all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) from affordable and clean energy to zero hunger.
“The misinformation/misrepresentation of 56 technology has the potential of derailing the launch/implementation of this new technology in our clime.
“Many Nigerians including citizens in more civilized countries were hooked on the notion that the introduction of 56 technology was the reason behind the spread of the novel COVID-19 Pandemic.
“This misconception was even made worse because those saddled with the responsibility of informing, educating and enlightening the average Nigerian telecom consumers were also bereft of the knowledge of this new technology and hitched a ride on the bandwagon of doubters.
“This is the reason why training such as this is necessary for members of NITRA who have continued to cover the ICT industry in Nigeria.
“We will ensure that the NCC maintains this training periodically for our crucial stakeholders in the media to ensure that the information that reaches the average Nigerian is accurate and timely.
“The Commission will continue to support capacity building and other initiatives which foster closer interaction and build a stronger relationship with your members.”