Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, has said the size of the countryâ€™s population with full access to internet connectivity is just about 20 per cent.
Speaking on a national television thursday, Shittu explained that internet connectivity in the country at present is restricted to only areas that has mobile telephone network service.
â€œWe need to have sufficiency in satellite communication, for now we are still deficient in it in the sense that accessibility to internet throughout the country is about 20 per cent and until we have sufficiency in the laying of cables to connect every part of this country, that deficiency will still be there.
He said at present, network subscribers cannot only get access to the internet only where there are mobile telephone network.
The minister, who also spoke yesterday during the inauguration of 18-member committee on the establishment of an ICT University in Nigeria, said the drive was in realisation of the critical role of Information Communication Technology (ICT) could play in the sustainable growth and development of the nation.
The former Executive Secretary National Universities Commission, Prof. Julius Okojie, is heading the committee whose mandate it is to develop a robust curriculum of the proposed ICT University of Nigeria, among other recommendations.
While giving the rationale for the venture, Shittu said one of the obvious ways to re-strategise our ICT skills requisition and R&D to focus more on solutions to current and anticipated challenges in the sector.
â€œIn response to the foregoing, the Ministry of Communications has identified the establishment of an ICT University as one of the ways to move to the next phase of the nationâ€™s ICT growth by the enhancement of ICT learning environment that is geared towards the stimulation of creative thinking.
â€œTo ensure that Nigeria keeps pace with the rapidly changing technological development in the global ICT industry, deliberate policy strategies must therefore be put in place within a nationally and globally defined agenda for sustainable ICT development,â€ he said..
The minister further explained that the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), which had served as ICT training facility with campuses in each of the six geo-political zones would be converted to serve as the ICT University with specialisation in various ICT fields and expertise.
He said the ministry has secured necessary endorsements from relevant stakeholders both within and outside of government including global leaders in the ICT industry such as Cisco, Facebook, Huawei, MTN, D-Links, Globacom, Lenovo, Samsung, Apple, Siemns, Nortel, Intel, Motorola, Ericsson, Dell, HP, ZTE and IBM.
These industry giants according to the minister have expressed their unequivocal support for this project with pledges in the provision of faculty, library content, syllabus, logistics, including funds towards the realization of the ICT University of Nigeria
Shittu also said the appointments would soon be made for the positions of acting vice chancellor and acting Registrar in preparation for the take off of the institution.