The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Patami, has disclosed that the National Information Technology Development Agency approved 499 Information Technology projects worth N152billion in 2021.
The minister disclosed this at the closing of the 2021 service-wide capacity building programme on e-government in Abuja on Tuesday.
The NITDA serves as the clearinghouse for IT projects in Nigeria, as it has been mandated to clear all IT projects in line with the policy objectives of the Federal Government to maximise transparency and accountability in the carrying out IT projects by public institutions.
The Federal Government had issued a circular in 2006 directing all public institutions planning to embark on any IT project to obtain clearance from NITDA.
According to the minister, the projects cleared in 2021, which are worth N152bn, exceed the N9bn worth of projects cleared in 2019.
This, he said, showed the government’s commitment to spending on digitalisation.
He said, “To show to us the level of the implementation of the government’s digital services in the country, from January to December 2021, NITDA, on behalf of the government, has approved the execution of 499 projects. However, the approved projects include the backlog of 2020 and 2019.
“In 2021, the approval given by NITDA for the institutions could implement according to their projects is about N152bn. If you compare this with 2019, it was only N9bn. This is to show us that government has been spending for the digitalisation of government services.”
The minister also disclosed that the Federal Government had approved 16 national policies for the ICT digital economy.
The Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Abdullahi, who also spoke at the event, said the Federal Government had trained 1376 civil servants from 48 ministries, departments and agencies between November 2020 and December 2021 in the use of ICT.
Meanwhile, Pantami had during the event also said that Nigeria would have the highest number of subscribers of the fifth generation technology in Africa by the end of 2022.
He said, “If you look at our ranking, Nigeria has the biggest digital economy in Africa. Nigeria has the biggest ICT sector in Africa. Nigeria has the highest number of phone users in Africa. Nigeria has the highest number of internet subscribers in Africa.
“Now, the Federal Government has approved the national policy for the fifth generation for the Nigeria digital economy. By the end of 2022, I do hope that we will have the highest subscribers of 5G in Africa.”
The minister also disclosed that government hopes to have a paperless system by 2030.
Kalu meets Abdulsalami Abubakar
Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, on Saturday night paid a private visit to former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar.
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Kalu who made the announcement through his verified Facebook page, revealed that his discussion with the former president centered on national issues and peaceful coexistence of Nigeria.
He wrote: “ Tonight, I paid a visit to the former President of Nigeria, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, to greet him for the new year. We also discussed major national affairs and peaceful coexistence of our nation.”
Lagos police arrest NURTW members amid calls for ban
By Moses Omorogieva/Lagos
The Police Command in Lagos State on Saturday said that its men arrested some members of the National Union of Transport Workers ( NURTW) who clashed on Lagos Island on Friday.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) , CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Saturday.
Ajisebutu did not mention how many people were arrested and where they were being detained.
He added that normalcy had returned to the Island as more operatives had been deployed there.
“The police have quelled the crisis. Sufficient facilities were deployed in the area immediately we received a distress call and normalcy was restored.
”Investigation into the crisis is ongoing,” he said.
Two factions of the NURTW clashed over the control of some motor parks on the Island on Friday.
The videos of the clash went viral showing the hoodlums using dangerous weapons against each other
The arrests come amid call by Accord Party for a ban on the notorious union in Lagos.
Lagos State chapter of the Accord Party called on Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to proscribe the union following repeated violence by its members.
The Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Dele Oladeji, in a statement on Saturday called on Sanwo-Olu to tame the members of the NURTW by proscribing the union with immediate effect.
“Again, the members of the NURTW were enmeshed in a deadly fight on Lagos Island which was reported to have resulted in the untimely death of some four youths.
“This deadly clash created a security scare, in which innocent and hardworking residents of Lagos had to scamper into shops, crevices, under table and inside gutters for dear lives.
“Many rushed into shops and were locked in with the shop owners, just to stay away from stray bullets or being caught up in the fracas.
“Traders were forced to shutdown their businesses, which led to the loss of transactions running into billions of naira.
“We advise the Lagos State governor to, with immediate effect, proscribe the NURTW for a peaceful and safe Lagos city.”
The spokesman said that the recent violence was one too many among the members of the NURTW in Lagos State.
Oladeji said that though members of the union were always in the habit of killing themselves during such fracas, their action had always defied the security set up in Lagos State and had always created a state of insecurity among residents.
“Ask an average resident of Lagos, and they will tell you they live and commute in utter fright of these ‘union boys’ daily on the streets and roads.
“Gov. Sanwo-Olu should rise up in service to residents of the state and proscribed these lawless group for a safer Lagos State,” he added.
He said that NURTW factions were known to frequently engage in free-for-all over power tussles at different locations and parks.
Pakistan proud of pig-to-human heart transplant pioneer
Friends and former classmates of the Pakistan-born surgeon behind the world’s first pig-to-human heart transplant say they earmarked him for greatness from his medical school days.
Karachi-born Muhammad Mansoor Mohiuddin made headlines last week as the co-founder of the US university programme that successfully transplanted the heart of a genetically modified pig into a gravely ill American man.
While hailed as a medical breakthrough, the procedure also raised ethical questions — particularly among some Jews and Muslims, who consider pigs to be unclean and avoid pork products.
None of that worried Mohiuddin’s friends and former colleagues in Pakistan, who remember him as an ace student with a passion for medicine.
“He would be so interested, always there, always available and always ready to get involved in surgery,” said Muneer Amanullah, a specialist who attended Karachi’s Dow Medical College with Mohiuddin in the 1980s.
College vice-chancellor Muhammad Saeed Qureshi said pride in Mohiuddin’s achievement had flooded the campus.
“There was exhilaration that this has been done by a graduate from this college,” he told AFP.
Mohiuddin was quick to share the limelight with a team of 50 from the University of Maryland Medical School.
“They were all experts of their respective fields,” he told AFP by phone.
“They are the best surgeons, the best physicians, the best anaesthetists, and so on.”
While the prognosis for the recipient of the pig’s heart is far from certain, the surgery represents a major milestone for animal-to-human transplants.
About 110,000 Americans are currently waiting for an organ transplant, and more than 6,000 patients die each year before getting one, according to official figures.
To meet demand, doctors have long been interested in so-called xenotransplantation, or cross-species organ donation.
“We were working on this model for 18 years,” Mohiuddin said.
“Those 18 years were dotted with different phases of frustration — as well as breakthroughs — but finally we have done it.”
The surgery is not without controversy, however, especially given Mohiuddin’s Islamic faith.
Pigs are considered unclean by Muslims and Jews — and even some Christians who follow the Bible’s Old Testament literally.
“In my view, this is not permissible for a Muslim,” said Javed Ahmed Ghamdi, a prominent Islamic scholar, in a video blog where he discussed the procedure.
But another Islamic scholar in Pakistan gave the procedure a clean bill of health.
“There is no prohibition in sharia,” Allama Hasan Zafar Naqvi told AFP, calling it a “medical miracle”.
“In religion, no deed is as supreme as saving a human life,” added Mohiuddin.
In Karachi, the surgeon’s fellow alumni feel their former colleague may now be destined for even greater glory — medicine’s top prize.
“I think… the whole team is in for it, in for the Nobel Prize,” said vice-chancellor Qureshi.
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