President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria is utilising technology to enhance the safety of its citizens.
President Buhari made the remark on Thursday at the inauguration of the country’s National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 and the 112 toll-free number for emergency calls in Abuja.
The Nigerian leader, who commended the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy for achieving the feat, urged citizens to utilise the emergency call number at all times they face an emergency.
He said: “We have taken advantage of digital technology to ensure that Nigerians in distress are only a dial away from the relevant emergency response institution in the country. This will go a long way in supporting our efforts to improve the security of lives and property.
“The commissioning of the digital communications and digital economy complex will provide a befitting coordinating centre for our new focus on the Nigerian Digital economy. It signals the desire to intensified efforts towards ensuring that Nigeria becomes an active participant in the global digital economy.
“I must commend the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, the Nigerian Communications Commission, the Presidential committee and all stakeholders who participated in the development of this National Broadband Plan.”
President Buhari said the digital Nigeria programme is an initiative of the current administration aimed at empowering the youth especially those with skills in technology.
“The Digital Nigeria programme the Federal government’s key initiatives that will empower innovators and entrepreneurs with skills required to thrive in our emerging digital economy.
“It is part of our efforts to ensure that our youths, unemployed graduates and people living with disabilities either become employers of labour or get a large number of well paid jobs thereby contributing to the national drive of lifting Nigeria out of poverty,” he said.
The President said attaining digital economy would go a long way in supporting government’s efforts in diversifying the economy in the wake of the continuous fall in the price of crude oil.
He said: “The dwindling price of crude oil has adversely affected our budgetary projections and has increased our urgency with regards to the diversification of the economy.”
The President urged mobile network operators to ensure full attainment of the targets set in the National Broadband Plan by giving special attention to un-served and underserved areas while deploying their services.
President Buhari expressed concern about the challenges faced by operators in the country, particularly vandalism of telecommunications equipment.
He assured the operators of government’s commitment to ensuring that all stakeholders have a conducive environment to ensure the successful implementation of the Broadband Plan, which seeks to boost broadband penetration as well as support the deployment of 4G across the country.
According to President Buhari ”the Digital Economy will also support us in fighting corruption through digitalisation and enabling government digital services.
”Digital technologies have become a useful platform for economic diversification. Having recognized the benefits of these technologies we have decided to adopt the Digital Economy paradigm early,” he said.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami says broadband penetration is key to reviving the Nigerian economy.
Citing reports from the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, the Minister said ”10 per cent broadband penetration in any country will improve its GDP by at least 4.6 per cent.”
With Coronavirus spreading across the globe and more people living in isolation, the minister said ”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.”
On his part, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta announced that the country’s broadband penetration had increased to 38.5 per cent.
”As at the time this government came into power in 2015, broadband penetration was hovering between 4 and 6 per cent. Broadband penetration has now reached 38.5 per cent, ” he said.
Danbatta explained that the Digital Complex building accommodates the office of the Minister, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry and four departments of the Commission.
He added that the 5-storey building with two basement floors sit on 8 hectares of land at the Mbora district, Abuja and is equipped with modern telecommunications facility, a crèche for nursing mothers and a gymnasium, among others.
Highpoint of the event was the unveiling of the National Broadband 2020-2025 document, flag-off of Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship training as well as the placing of a call by President Buhari to the emergency communications centre using the number 112.
Source: Voice of Nigeria