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CITAD Launches the Nigerian School of Community Network

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As part of the Work Package 2 of the Supporting Community-led Approach to Addressing Digital Divide in Nigeria Project which the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) is implementing with support from Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) through Association for Progressive Communication (APC), today CITAD launched the First Nigerian School of Community Networks for Micro-organizations.

The aim of the project is to connect the unconnected areas in Nigeria where conventional market players find it unprofitable to deploy their networks and the purpose of the School of Community Networks is to build capacity of community based organizations called the micro-organization who are working to deploy community networks in their communities to meet local communication need.

The first School, which holds at Stonehegde Hotel, Kaduna began with an opening ceremony where we have number of speakers gave goodwill messages to the participants.

In his opening remarks, the Executive Director of CITAD Malam YZ Yau gave the background of the project as well as a ran down of the activities the organization had been doing over the last two years, culminating with the School.

The Executive Director Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) stated that over the last two years, CITAD had been working tirelessly to catalyze the emergence of community networks in Nigeria, given that there has been no policy to guide the growth and flourishing of the of Community networks, CITAD took step to engage with policy makers and regulators in the sector such as Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the ministry of communications as well as other relevant agencies to ensure that an appropriate policy is developed for Community Networks in the Country.

He also stated that part of the objective of the School is to train champions with technical skills on how they can design, deploy and manage community networks. The school will hold in two phases, the phase one is an intensive physical one-week residential training which starts today, followed by four-month online training which is part of the phase two activities.

While giving reports of the efforts CITAD has made to engage policy makers on the need for community network policy, the Director of CITAD called on both the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy Prof. Isah Pantami and the Management of NCC to honour their promises they made about setting up the processes to develop a national policy on community networks for the country. He said this urgent because at the moment more than 88 million of Nigerians remain unconnected and excluded from the benefits of digital technology.

The opening ceremony also received goodwill message from the Executive Director of Fanstuam Foundation Mrs. Comfort Kazanka, Mr. Olusola Taniola, National Coordinator of Alliance for Affordable Internet and Mrs. Edith Udeagu, the immediate past COO of Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) who expressed their gratitude for being part of the project as well as advising the participants to be good ambassador of their communities by applying the knowledge gain. In her goodwill message, Mrs. Kazanka urged that the School of Community Networks be turned into a either a institute for community networks or a specialized university.

On his part Mr. Olusola Taniola said, his organization was ready to join hands with CITAD to push the advocacy for a national policy on community networks in the country.

Mrs. Edith Udeagu who offered her Goodwill message on her personal capacity noted that “The National School of Community Networks provides this opportunity for all to learn and share knowledge. We thank CITAD, its CEO, Mr. YZ Ya’u and team and its partners for providing this opportunity for all and pray for its success. I say congratulations to CITAD. I congratulate its partners and contributors for their participation. In this country, we need to address the issues of digital divide. People in various communities face various challenges. We need to assist as much as possible to address these issues and give them the opportunities to better their lives”.

The keynote address was given by the Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone, represented by Mr. Abdulmalik Suleman, staff of the company. He stated that one of the objectives of Galaxy Backbone is to help in connecting the underserved communities. He commended CITAD for embarking on this project, noting that it was not an easy thing to do. He disclosed that Galaxy Backbone currently is implementing the second phase of the National Information Communication Infrastructure Backbone (NICTIB) which he said would provide access to backbone across the country. He welcomed communities to take advantage of this in their plans for their community networks.

He also appreciated the effort of CITAD for setting up the School of Community Networks, which according to Galaxy Backbone is another important step will help strengthen the impact of shared internet experience and shared Network in our Nation. The opening session was chaired by Dr. Sana Mauz of the Department of Software Engineering, Bayero University, Kano. Dr. Muaz urged the participants to make the best use of this opportunity which is a crush programme to acquire critical telecommunication knowledge.

Shortly after the opening session the first technical session of the School began with a presentation on Spectrum and how Spectrum is Allocated as well as applying Spectrum by Dr. Abdulkari Yusuf of the NCC. The presentation explained to the participants what Spectrum was all about, how was allocated and how it is deployed and shared. Twenty-one youth leaders from different parts of the country are attending the school, which is proposed to run annually. Most of them were from underserved and unserved communities such as Pasepa, Laileyin Gwari, Tugan Ashere and Dakwa in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, rural Kafanchan in Kaduna State and Itas as well as Jamaare in Bauchi.

The Nigerian School of Community Networks is the first attempt in the country to build local skills and expertise for the organic development of grassroots telecommunitions infrastructure in the country. Community networks is a telecommunications infrastructure deployed and operated by a local group to meet their own communication needs and also a communications infrastructure, designed and erected to be managed for use by local communities. This communication needs can be voice, data, etc. and can be point of convergence for community to come together to address their common community problems.

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Breaking News On Dollar Sale

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced plans to offer foreign exchange worth $20,000 to any eligible Bureau De Change operator across the country.

This comes more than two years after suspended former CBN governor Godwin Emefiele prohibited the sale of foreign exchange to BDC operators in that area of the FX market.

The apex bank revealed this in a new circular published and signed by the Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Hassan Mahmud on Tuesday.

The circular titled, “Sale of Foreign Exchange to Bureau de Change Operators to meet retail demand for eligible invisible transactions” said the move aimed at rectifying the persisting distortions in the retail segment of Nigeria’s foreign exchange market and bridging the widening gap in the exchange rate.

It said the allocation will be sold at a rate of N1,301/$, reflecting the lower band rate of executed spot transactions at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market as of the previous trading day, dated February 27, 2024.

The circular read, “Following the ongoing reforms in the foreign exchange market, aimed at achieving an appropriate market-determined exchange rate for the Naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria has observed the continued price distortions at the retail end of the market, which is feeding into the parallel market and further widening the exchange rate premium.

To this end, the CBN has approved the sale of foreign exchange to eligible Bureau De Change to meet the demand for invisible transactions. The sum of $20,000 is to be sold to each BDC at the rate of N1,301/$- (representing the lower band rate of executed spot transactions at NAFEM for the previous trading day, as of today, 27th February 2024.

All BDCs are allowed to sell to end-users at a margin NOT MORE THAN one per cent (1 per cent) above the purchase rate from CBN.”

It further directed eligible BDCs to make Naira payments to the designated CBN Foreign Currency Deposit Naira Accounts and submit confirmation of payment, with other necessary documentation.

“All eligible BDCs are directed to make the Naira payment to the designated CBN Foreign Currency Deposit Naira Accounts and submit confirmation of payment, with other necessary documentation, for disbursement at the appropriate CBN Branches ABUJA, AWKA, LAGOS and KANO,” it added.

The CBN in frantic efforts to save the free fall of the naira has made a number of significant reforms towards addressing Naira depreciation, such as probing and clearing FX backlog, limiting forex for foreign education and medical tourism, increasing BDCs’ minimum share capital, and curbing FX speculators, among others.

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Northern Senators Commends ECOWAS Leaders For Lifting Sanctions On Niger Republic

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Abuja. – Today, the Northern Senators Forum expresses it’s heartfelt appreciation and commendation to the exceptional leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for their decisive action in lifting sanctions imposed on Niger Republic as a result of military takeover on 26th July, 2023. We are pleased to see that ECOWAS has responded to the progressive requests made by us individually and collectively on the subject matter, and we commend their prudent and compassionate approach in addressing these critical issues.

The Northern Senators Forum believes that the principled and empathetic decision made by ECOWAS to lift the sanctions on Niger Republic is a testament to the organization’s commitment to regional solidarity, cooperation, and respect for human rights. We understand that this action will go a long way in alleviating the suffering of the people of Niger Republic, as well as ensuring the restoration of stability and economic prosperity in our region.

We are particularly grateful that ECOWAS leaders have considered our pleas to restore electricity, open borders, and lift the sanctions on Niger Republic. These measures will not only have crucial humanitarian implications, but will also foster regional integration, trade, and cooperation. We firmly believe that this step taken by ECOWAS will positively impact the lives of the people of Niger Republic and Nigeria and facilitate the restoration of trust and harmony among all member states.

As representatives of the people and advocates for justice and democracy, we commend ECOWAS for their responsiveness and understanding of the immense challenges faced by our fellow West African nation. The Northern Senators Forum stands in solidarity with ECOWAS IN restoring democracy and rule of law in Niger Republic and other west African countries, and we are committed to working to promote stability, peace, and socio-economic development throughout the region.

The Northern Senators Forum urges the government of Niger Republic and its people to seize this opportunity to hasten the process of returning to democratic governance to build a stronger and more prosperous nation, harnessing their resilient spirit and unwavering determination. Furthermore, we urge all regional stakeholders to continue engaging in dialogue and pursuing peaceful solutions to address any remaining concern, fostering a harmonious environment for progress and development.

Finally, the Northern Senators Forum would like to reiterate its deep appreciation to ECOWAS leaders especially President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria for their proactive and benevolent intervention in lifting the sanctions imposed on Niger Republic. We are confident that this decision will leave an indelible mark on the collective consciousness of all West African nations and serve as a shining example for resolving differences through dialogue and diplomacy.

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BREAKING: ECOWAS lifts sanctions against Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso

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President Bola Ahmad Tinubu addressing the Extraordinary meeting of ECOWAS heads of state in Abuja,Photo:Channels TV

 

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has lifted sanctions imposed on Niger Republic, Mali, Burkina Faso, member nations that are ruled by military.

The authorities of ECOWAS on Saturday said the decision was based on humanitarian considerations, especially because of the Lenten period and the approaching month of Ramadan.

The regional bloc also lifted sanctions on Republic of Guinea-Bissau.

To invite all four countries to a meeting.

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