NCC Has Committed Over N200M To R&D – Danbatta

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…As students win over N1m in NCC’s 2021 national essay competition

NCC Competition
The executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta (middle) flanked by essay competition winners and NCC officials during the prize giving ceremony in Abuja.

The executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, has revealed that the commission has committed over N200 million to the promotion of research and development (R&D) to drive innovation in the country’s telecommunications sector.

Danbatta stated this during the prize presentation ceremony of the 2021 NCC National Essay Competition in Abuja.

At the event which marked the third edition of the annual competition organised by the commission, the EVC said the commission has invested modestly in research grants, instituted professorial chairs in universities across the country, supported tech startups, sponsored national essay competitions and undertaken many more social investments to ensure synergy and linkages among industry, the academia and the nation’s young people.

Over 2,000 entries were received from 97 public and private tertiary institutions for the competition in which Esther Gbeja, a 600-level student of veterinary medicine at the University of Ilorin, was declared the winner. Gbeja received a cash prize of N500,000.00, a laptop and a printer; while the first runner-up, Moses Edosa, a final-year student of accounting at the University of Port Harcourt, received a cash prize of N300,000.00 only.

MarcPatrick Efeni, a 200-Level student of cyber-security at the Airforce Institute of Technology, Kaduna and Nasiru Karim, a 400-Level student of computer engineering at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, both came third, having had the same scores. They both received cash prizes of N200,000 each.

Danbatta said the commission gladly accommodated the additional prize due to the tie in the third place, as a mark of encouragement.

According to Danbatta, the topic for this year’s essay competition, ‘5G Technology: Opportunities & challenges’, was carefully chosen to ensure that the youths have a good understanding of the new technology. He said Nigeria’s vibrant youth populace stands to benefit massively from the deployment of 5G technology, which the commission is set to launch in 2022.

The NCC CEO said the commission initiated and has maintained the annual essay competition to stimulate the interest of Nigerians especially the young people, to contribute to efforts in driving innovation in the technological ecosystem of Nigeria.

“This is why the NCC took the step to encourage Nigerian students to remain pro-active and partake in the national competition that challenges students to be competitive and put in their best efforts,” he said.

While emphasising the critical importance of communications as the foundation for the technological development of society and its role in the provision of vital infrastructure for national security, the EVC highlighted the need to invest in research programmes as observed in advanced nations, where a lot of resources are channelled into R&D. 

The chairman of the 3rd NCC National Essay Competition Committee, Edoyemi Ogoh, who is also a deputy director in the commission’s technical standards and network integrity department, commended the EVC’s effort in recognising academia as a key stakeholder in the development of the communications sector which should have a natural connection with the industry.

Ogoh further said that the commission “knows the importance of innovative thinking in the growing ICT industry in Nigeria and, as such, has seen the need to engage youths in various tertiary institutions across the nation to compete in essay writing on 5G technology”.

Also speaking at the event, the director, public affairs, NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, said the essay competition is one of the most important initiatives brought to fruition by the commission and expressed his delight at the vast knowledge of the winners on the subject matter during their presentation.

Adinde also emphasised the influence of the competition in the stimulation of the minds of the target audience and the creation of positive awareness to debunk misconceptions about the 5G technologies.

In a signed statement, Adinde said the outcome of the competition is an encouragement to the NCC Management to continue to support the national essay competition while ensuring that the commission sustains such programmes.

He called the four winners “ambassadors of 5G, who can go out and engage their peers about 5G, its benefits, opportunities and address the negative preconceptions about the network”.

The essay competition was initiated by the NCC to deepen awareness and knowledge of telecommunications stakeholders in the country, especially the young people.

Though the commission has organised three national essay competitions, the resultant social and emotional equity has had impressive and quantifiable values on the commission as a leading Nigerian public sector brand.

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