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The federal government approves N10 billion for Hadejia Airstrip, Enugu Airport and others

The federal government has approved over N10 billion for aviation sector projects involving rehabilitation and reconstruction of Hadejia Airstrip in Jigawa State in the amount of N7,482,071,196.56 for a period of 18 months.

Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika made the announcement to State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Committee meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Mansion in Abuja yesterday.

According to him, the permit contains three points and said the contract was awarded to MESSRS CCECC.

He said the council also approved the construction of the control tower and engineering building at Enugu which was awarded to MESSERS Mascot Associates Limited for a sum of N1,973,606,141.75. And the third approved aviation contract is procurement of commercial vehicles to Messers Kaura Motors for N625,500,000.

“These are the memoranda and they were all approved by the Council today,” he said.

During his briefing, Communications and Digital Economy Minister Isa Pantami said the council approved three memos, the National Duct One Policy, the National Child Online Protection Policy and Strategy and the Nigeria Data Protection Bill.

He said the National Duct One Policy aims to institutionalize the provision of ducts during construction in Nigeria at federal, state and even local governments.

He said the policy came after many stakeholder engagements with over 37 government institutions.

The minister said with approval, implicitly, that when roads, bridges, railway lines, seaports, stadiums and all other important buildings are built, provision must be made for ducts where there are at least cables or devices for electricity or telecommunications or other services which use the necessary facilities and lay their cables.

Patanmi said, “This is the world best practice today. Before construction, even during conception, design and construction, canals for road construction, bridges, railway lines, seaports and all important buildings should be provided.

“Today we are faced with the challenge that whenever we want to deploy telecommunications infrastructure, there is a lot of damage done to some cities and towns in Nigeria, either to our roads or to our facilities.

“Why? Because during the design and construction there are no ducts or ducts foreseen for fiber optics and other telecommunications equipment to pass through. For this reason we organized stakeholder engagement, where we brought together all stakeholders, including the Department of Labor and Housing, where we we all agreed that the provision of canals in planning and construction must be institutionalized.

“And there are so many benefits to be gained from that. First, it enables shared infrastructure. Second, it makes maintenance and repairs much easier. If this is part of the design and construction, you don’t have to damage a road or important building during maintenance.

This supply is sufficient and you will have a chamber where you will have access to all facilities. That’s why we came up with this policy, and what’s more, it will further lower the price of broadband.

“Very cheap though. In Nigeria in August 2019, based on the official report of the Nigerian Communications Commission, the price for a gigabyte of data was around N1,200, but today the average price is around N350. If you look at it, the reduction is even more than 60%.

“Because by laying fiber optics, a lot is spent on it. If we try to lower the price and the amount spent on it, that’s part of the cost of production. This will automatically lower production costs and by implication we will all even get broadband access at more affordable prices than today.”

Referring to the National Child Online Protection Policy and Strategy, Pantami said it aims to protect children from online content that may corrupt their innocence.

He said: “As we all know, there are many benefits to going online. The world population reached 10 billion on November 15, 2022. Today we have around 6.3 billion people online, and by implication you will discover many children among that number. You will not be able to distinguish between the useful and the harmful.

“According to the International Telecommunication Union report, even during COVID-19, more than a billion children were online, most of them for their studies because schools were closed. So you switch exclusively to virtual learning.

“Children will not be able to distinguish between what is useful and what is harmful. And when you go online today, you’ll find that a lot of things come onto your device unsolicited. If you are at least an adult you can avoid it but children could not and it will definitely affect their innocence and even affect them morally and otherwise.

“For this reason, the International Telecommunication Union, which is an arm of the United Nations, has produced a policy document for all of its 193 member countries. Nigeria is an integral part of the International Telecommunication Union. The document is entitled: “Protecting children in the digital environment, the importance of our protection under empowerment”.

“In this document, all member countries have been asked to ensure that they develop policies that protect children.

“In the UK today there is a bill for online safety. Many countries are working on a similar document. That’s why we organized the stakeholder engagement, to which we invited around 37 government institutions, because if you look at the challenge, it’s not just one sector, it’s a multi-sectoral issue, Minister for Information and Culture, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC ) For example, national guidance agency, all have a role to play.

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