The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has urged the Nasarawa State Scholarship Board (NSSB) to support the NCC in creating awareness for intervention projects of the commission related to research and digital literacy to provide more opportunities for citizens.
The director of digital economy at the commission, Dr. Augustine Nwaulune who hosted a delegation of the board, led by its executive secretary, Hajia Sa’adatu Yahya, on behalf of the executive vice-chairman of the commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, recently, recalled that Nasarawa State is one of the beneficiaries of NCC’s information and communication technology (ICT) intervention projects such as the Digital Awareness Programme (DAP) for secondary schools, the Advanced Digital Appreciation Programme for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI), the Wireless Cloud and the e-health programme.
“While we don’t give scholarships to students, the NCC has continued to give research grants to lecturers and students in the universities. Also, we have provided additional opportunities including sponsoring competitions involving students, as well as endowing professorial chairs in universities across the country. In the last seven years, the financial value of the endowments and grants has surpassed N500 million.
“Therefore, I appeal to NSSB to create awareness about these initiatives of the NCC among stakeholders in the academia – particularly the research grants – to enable stakeholders to leverage such opportunities offered by the commission to scholars interested in carrying out telecommunications-based research,” he said.
Nwaulune said the NCC has been upbeat in ensuring implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030, in which one of its eight pillars’ rests on digital literacy, while the digital economy department has been set up and equipped by the commission with the human resources required to coordinate its programmes in concrete terms.
Yahya, whose delegation visited to discuss areas of collaboration for deepening digital/technical training and skills acquisition in Nasarawa State, commended the commission for the central role it has played in promoting digital awareness and skills across the country. He went on to plead that the state is given more opportunities to benefit from NCC’s social investments and other digital economy-focused interventions, being the closest to the Federal Capital Territory, the base of the commission.
“The purpose of our visit is to seek collaboration with the NCC in whatever ways possible, especially in the areas of scholarship and ICT skills and literacy for our people. The ICT is [the] engine room of [the] global economy [today] and we do not want to lag in this new digital order, hence our decision to seek collaboration with organisations in the ICT space – such as yours – to work with,” Yahya said.
A statement by the commission’s director, public affairs, Reuben Muoka, said other members of the delegation, including senior special assistant to Nasarawa State governor on information and communication technology, Haruna Sani and the president, Nasarawa State Students Association (NASSA), Sani Jibrin, spoke in favour of a greater collaboration with the NCC which would add the needed impetus to the current efforts by the state government to leverage ICT for economic development.