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Council to Government: Boost Internet connectivity in Nigeria

Council to Government: Boost Internet connectivity in Nigeria
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The National Council on Information (NCI) wants the Federal and States Governments to fast track actions on rural and urban Internet connectivity across Nigeria.

This can be achieved by organising electronic media training in all the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, the Council said in a communique.

The commitment was made at the 46th National Council on Information (NCI) meeting themed “Leveraging on Information and Digital Technology to Sustain the Change Agenda of Government”, held recently in Asaba, Delta State. The NCI meeting hosted 548 delegates from 29 states and the Federal Capital Territory, including Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, Governor of Delta State and managers of information led by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information.

Noting the importance of information management in government, the Council acknowledged that digital technology has undoubtedly altered the media landscape. This has facilitated the work of Information Managers and also promoted citizen participation in government but if not properly managed, the new media, such as the social media and other digital platforms can mislead the public.

Commercial activities underway at Ikeja Computer Village, the nation's biggest technology market as Nigeria debates whether or not to devalue to the Naira
Commercial activities underway at Ikeja Computer Village, the nation’s biggest technology market as Nigeria debates whether or not to devalue to the Naira

[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]In order to maximize the value of information in public administration and corporate governance, the Council resolved to promote Internet connectivity in the country by urging both the Federal and State Governments to enlighten the masses, especially those in the rural areas through training on the use of electronic media to facilitate rural and urban connectivity.[/quote]In order to maximize the value of information in public administration and corporate governance, the Council resolved to promote Internet connectivity in the country by urging both the Federal and State Governments to enlighten the masses, especially those in the rural areas through training on the use of electronic media to facilitate rural and urban connectivity.

The Council agreed to encourage States to activate all their media platforms as veritable tools to promote government policies, programmes and key into the “Change Begins with Me” Campaign and also to adopt the “Change Begins with Me” as a way of life by supporting the campaign for its successful implementation and sustainability.

GSM base station
A telecoms base station

The Council also agreed to ensure that broadcast challenges through technology are addressed through effective and transparent policies, as well as to endorse and support the collaboration of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture with the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies to formulate a new National Information Policy.

Agreement was also reached to establish social media unit and project monitoring teams in the Ministries of Information for effective public enlightenment, while the Council notes the need for the media to be involved in exposing ill-gotten wealth through investigative journalism and make public office holders give account of their stewardship through the media regularly.

The Council resolved that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government should obey the Act (Decree 16 of 1990) establishing the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and ensure that all Information Officers are properly registered with NIPR as a model for corporate bodies to follow.

The Council also resolved to carry out co-ordinated enlightenment campaigns on government efforts to rehabilitate the North-East in order to counter negative media reports on the welfare of displaced persons in the IDP camps and to encourage the media to make attractive, the agricultural sector by promoting mechanized farming and showcasing successful farmers, promote the creative industries and the uniqueness of tourism as an important sector.

The Council further resolved to sponsor public enlightenment campaign programmes through radio, television, newspapers, and social media in the area of mineral resources exploration and exploitation in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Steel and Solid Mineral Development and to encourage governments at all levels to enter into public/private partnerships to mitigate the economic burden on stakeholders affected by the Digital Switchover (DSO).

The Council noted the need to encourage and endorse Public-Private Partnership arrangement to ensure the proposed Multi-Media Centre in the FCT and all states of the Federation and the need for the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to assume a more robust and progressive role of empowering broadcasters and media managers to perform better for the development of the larger society than to impose sanctions and fines.

The Council finally noted that the progress so far recorded in the digital switch-over and encouraged the states to put in place infrastructure for digital switch over before June, 2017.  The date and venue for the next meeting of Council which is expected to be jointly hosted by Borno and Yobe States in Maiduguri, is scheduled for September, 2017.

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Elizabeth Edozie Technology Journalist @Technology Times 08077671659 elizabeth.edozie@technologytimes.ng

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