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Ministers task DStv, MTN, others to offer free subscription, airtime, data to Nigerians

FG has urged DStv, Startimes, MTN, Airtel and other network providers to offer free services to Nigerian workers affected by the lockdown.

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FG urges DStv, MTN, others to offer free subscription, airtime, data to Nigerians

Some ministers of the Federal Government has urged DStv, Startimes, MTN, Airtel and other network providers to offer free services to Nigerians affected by the lockdown.

The request was made by the Minister of State, Labour & Employment, Festus Keyamo and the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.

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Keyamo stated that Cable TV operators should suspend charging Nigerians for new subscriptions for one month as part of their contribution to ease the economic impact of the lockdown on workers in the country.

He made the recommendation via his Twitter handle, stating, “As one of the Ministers entrusted with the welfare of Nigerian workers, I politely urge @DStvNg & @StarTimes_Ng to extend all EXISTING subscriptions by at least one month, free-of-charge, as their own contribution to ease the pains of Nigerian workers at this time of lockdown.”

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[READ MORE: COVID-19: President imposes lockdown on Lagos, Ogun, FCT)

Subscriptions for DStv and Startimes in Nigeria are renewed monthly, and with the next month (April) starting tomorrow, attention will be on the cable operators to see if Keyamo’s recommendation was considered or ignored.

Keyamo also implored the network providers to top-up the airtime and data of their subscribers. In Nigeria, MTN has 70 million subscribers, Glo 51 million, Airtel 49 million and 9mobile 13 million.

Burden of airtime and data cost: In order to ease the lockdown, Keyamo said, “I would also urge @MTNNG @9mobileng @AirtelNigeria @GloWorld to consider giving Nigerians some token airtime & data to ease their pains & to ensure that communication with individuals & authorities is ensured in cases of emergencies, especially when toll-free numbers are busy.”

The Minister of Communication, Pantami also called for data cut, stating that the operators should subsidise and relax call and data cost.

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Is it possible for these operators? This is not the first time the Nigerian government would urge telcos and cable tv operators like DStv to cut the cost of their subscriptions and data. This situation is, however, different, as workers and businesses are being affected economically.

READ MORE: MTN reports 23% rise in FinTech revenue to launch cash deposits and withdrawals

The economic impact isn’t only affecting Nigerian workers, as the Coronavirus breakout is global. So if these operators are to offer free services to their subscribers in Nigeria, they will have to do the same for other countries also experiencing lockdown.

If this is done, the companies might find themselves in a difficult financial situation that might affect salary payment to their staff. For a company like Vodafone, which recently announced free data for 30 days, the offer was limited to half a million of its ‘pay monthly customers’ and those with declared disabilities or mental health issues.

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Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: fakoyejo.olalekan@nairametrics.com.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Femi

    March 31, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    I support you sir thanks for that it’s already been done in unite state and we have the money for it

    • Anonymous

      March 31, 2020 at 5:51 pm

      We are not in the United States, families are fed from proceeds of airtime, data and TV subscriptions in nigeria. Let phcn do the needful. Leave the SMEs alone.

  2. Anonymous

    March 31, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    please the power discos should also be implored to deliver more power.
    People are expected to work from home, no power, and limited resources to get fuel.

    Kindly escalate to authorities in charge.
    Thanks

  3. Nathan

    March 31, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    It’s just a bad joke. Why not tell PHCN to give 1 month free units to customers? Next joke please.

  4. Nathan

    March 31, 2020 at 5:52 pm

    We are not in the United States, families are fed from proceeds of airtime, data and TV subscriptions in nigeria. Let phcn do the needful. Leave the SMEs alone.

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Economy & Politics

Lagos to shut down Marine Beach bridge for emergency repairs

The closure will allow the Federal Ministry of Works to carry out emergency repairs on the bridge, in line with the government’s vision of providing a better transportation system in the state.

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Lagos to shut down Marine Beach bridge for emergency repairs

Lagos state government has announced that the Apapa Marine Beach bridge will be closed for five months, from Wednesday 27th May, to Wednesday 21st October, 2020.

The closure will allow the Federal Ministry of Works to carry out emergency repairs on the bridge, in line with the government’s vision of providing a better transportation system in the state.

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In a statement from the Lagos state Ministry of Transportation, the Commissioner, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, noted that the repairs were long overdue, and necessary to ensure safety of Lagosians, given the number of motorists that use the route.

READ MORE: Nigerians knock Fashola over comments on “bad roads”  

The Commissioner noted that the repairs included bearing and expansion joint replacement and would be executed in two phases, taking one lane of the bridge at a time.

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The first phase will involve handling the lane inbound Apapa while the second phase will be designated to work on the lane that conveys vehicles outside the axis,” he said.

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Oladeinde noted that alternative routes around the bridge had been improved to make them motorable, and ease movements for road users.

READ ALSO: Osinbajo sets up committee on reopening of Nigerian economy, suspends loan deductions for states

To manage the construction period, the statement noted that Traffic Management Authorities would be hard at work to ameliorate the expected traffic issues and supervise other arrangements.

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“Motorists inwards Wharf road will be diverted to the other section of the bridge outwards Apapa, a contraflow of 200metres has been put in place for vehicles to realign with a proper direction inwards Ajegunle or Wharf road, Apapa, while Motorists descending to Total Gas under bridge will drive without any hindrance,” it read.

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The Commissioner called for the understanding and cooperation of motorists and road users during the period to ensure a smooth flow of plans.

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Economy & Politics

Fayemi set to activate digital economy with N5billion broadband infrastructure

Governor Fayemi plans to activate Ekiti state’s digital economy, this would help generate healthy competition within the ICT sector

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Fayemi set to activate digital economy with N5billion broadband infrastructure in Ekiti state

Ekiti state government has concluded plans to create a digital hub, with the laying of a 606-kilometer broadband infrastructure.

The project is expected to lift the state from 16% internet penetration to 90% and is estimated to be worth N5 billion, with the Federal Government contributing N1.1 billion of the total sum.

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This plan is part of the memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which the state Governor signed with O’odua Infraco Resources Limited, a consortium that develops high speed and efficient Fibre Optic Cable (FOC) Open Access Network (OAN) across the South-West region of Nigeria.

According to the Managing Director of O’odua Infraco Resources Limited, Mr Sammy Adigun, the project will be officially flagged off in October and completed within 14 months.

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(READ MORE: What Nigeria stands to gain from new National Broadband Plan)

This decision is a follow-up to the recent crash of Right of Way charges from N4,500 to N145 per meter for broadband infrastructure, and in line with one of the five pillars of Governor Kayode Fayemi’s development plan for Ekiti state.

The Governor noted that these decisions would help generate healthy competition within the ICT sector, thus activating Ekiti state’s digital economy and digital education.

Fayemi noted that the project execution, as well as the broadband policy in the state would be coordinated and supervised by a Digital Infrastructural Committee, made up of various relevant government institutions critical to the implementation of the project.

READ MORE: NCC, Infracos to boost broadband infrastructure with N265 billion 

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“For us the roadmap is first the fibre connectivity itself, the second is the adequate data center infrastructure, the third is the e-learning programme which will cover our educational institutions, then our safe city, our security programme will also be included.

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“With our geographical land information system (GIS), we would digitalize all our land records, and of course, commercial investment as well as digitalisation of our government assets and our health education initiative,” Fayemi explained.

 

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Economy & Politics

NCC reacts to claims that minister chased Diaspora Commission’s staff from office complex

The NCC denies claims of the video on social media, pointing out that the staffs of NIDCOM were not sent packing from the digital economy complex

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NCC orders immediate suspension of USSD charges by telcos, 5G Network to undergo 3 months trial before approval - NCC , NCC licenses 20 new Internet service providers amidst challenges , 150 million Nigerians risk being defrauded – NCC , NCC warns telcos against cyber fraudsters , NCC rolls out new regulations on drone use, NCC licenses 10 new VAS providers as it projects market to hit $500 million , NCC, Infracos set to develop broadband infrastructure with N265 billion raise , Telecommunications: Broadband penetration set to grow, Telecoms operators fined N2.9 billion over infractions , NCC reacts to claims that minister chased away diaspora commission staff from office complex

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reacted to claims by the Chief Executive of Nigeria Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, that her staff members were chased out of its premises by armed men on the orders of the Minister for Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.

The NCC, through a press statement on May 24, 2020 signed by its Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, has said that nothing of such happened as it denied claims in a video making rounds on social media that the staff of NIDCOM were sent packing from the digital economy complex.

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According to the press statement from NCC:

Following the completion of the NCC building at Mbora, Abuja designated as NCC Annex and the acute shortage of accommodation space for the staff of the commission in the NCC head office at Maitama, Abuja, the Board of the commission directed the decongestion of the Head office building. Some of the departments of the NCC had started moving to the new office complex of 5 floors when discussions were held between the NCC and the Diaspora Commission to enable the Diaspora Commission also utilize any free offices within the complex.

“The fifth floor allocated to them had to be used to accommodate other departments from the NCC headquarters to ease the congestion. NCC’s offer to house the Nigeria Diaspora Commission was predicated on the long held position of the NCC that agencies of government will achieve more through strategic collaboration, partnership, synergy and sharing to the extent allowed by relevant laws.”

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(READ MORE: PenCom dissolves interim management committee for First Guarantee Pension, appoints new board)

NCC disclosed that it had secured approval for the commissioning of the office complex by President Buhari, and also the launching of 4 important projects of NCC, together with the renamed Ministry of Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.

It also stated that the offer to NIDCOM had not been withdrawn, but had only hit a bump arising from the preparation for the visit of President Buhari to launch the projects and inaugurate the complex. It said that the Board and Management of NCC took a decision to ensure that every activity in the building was in line with the Federal Government’s agenda.

Going further, the statement reads:

“Incidentally, after the offer of the office spaces to the Diaspora Commission, the Director General, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa had not visited the complex to take possession of any of the offices and also the commission had not started using any of these spaces as offices.

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‘’As is usual in ensuring security and accountability before, during and after presidential visits, the building had to be cleared to allow for only known and identifiable persons to have access within the complex. Therefore, the Honourable Minister of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami could not have sent armed men to drive the staff of the Diaspora Commission out of the Communication Economy Complex.”

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The statement also pointed out that as at that time, only NCC staff were accredited to have access within the premises and that all properties belonging to NIDCOM were safely warehoused in some of the offices within the complex.

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