By Emma Una
CALABAR – MANY schools and communities where the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, through its Universal Service Provision Fund has set up resource centres and school knowledge centres have not put them to adequate use and this is affecting internet penetration in rural areas.
Professor Umar Danbatta, Chief Executive Officer of the NCC who stated this on Thursday in Calabar at the close of a two-day stakeholders workshop on Information and Communications Technology Utilisation and Sustainability said many schools where knowledge centres are set up lock up the facilities without putting them to use while in some communities thieves and vandals frequently invade ICT the centres and cart away the equipment.
He said the idea is not to set up the knowledge centres for the communities and schools to own as property but to put them to good use so that people can acquire the necessary knowledge and skills on the use of internet.
“We spend a lot of money replacing stolen and vandalised equipment in rural communities where we set up resource centres to bring ICT close to everyone but some people have formed the habit of stealing the equipment while schools simply lock up their knowledge centres without putting them to use”. Danbatta stated
Danbatta who was represented by Mr Kelechi Nwankwo, head of training and strategy in NCC said the resouce and knowledge centres are aimed at facilitating the achievement of national policy goals on universal service and access to information and communication technologies in rural, un-served areas and urban centres.
He said the NCC would not be undaunted in pursing the goals of internet accessibility and penetration in the country as that is the only way to combat unemployment, ignorance and also attain the global mission of free information dissemination to everyone.
“Our agenda is for everyone everywhere to have the opportunity to acquire ICT knowledge that is why we are reaching the rural areas and un-served areas but the action of some people is stalling that effort. However, we will remain undaunted in our effort to increase internet penetration across Nigeria”.
According to him, the workshop is aimed at developing effective agenda for collaboration with stakeholders to achieve the tripods of availability, accessibility and affordability to ICT inorder to attain sustainable economic growth and social advancement in the country.
“The NCC is implementing an eight point agenda within the strategic vision 2015- 2020 which is to promote innovation, investment, competition and consumer empowerment in and on top of the communication platforms of today and the future”.