By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is set to partner the Federal University of Technology (FUT), Minna, and other tertiary institutions on research into emerging technologies in the telecommunications sector.
The executive vice chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta made this known during a press conference on the sidelines of roundtable with academia, industry and other stakeholders in the north central region, Wednesday, in Minna, Niger State.
Prof Danbatta, who was represented by the NCC’s director of spectrum administration, Mr Austin Nwalune, pointed out the academia as a very important stakeholder in research and development, saying there cannot be any growth without research.
“For growth to happen you need research into emerging issues and emerging technologies that is why we partner with the academic institutions are the home of those research and development efforts. The universities are institutions of research, that is their core area. So, partnering with them enables them to do what they can do and do it best,” Danbatta said.
Similarly, the commission’s director of research and development, Mr Ephraim Nwokonneya, highlighted exponential growth recorded in the telecommunications sector since 2001, underscoring the need to deploy research and development to tap enormous potentials in the sector.
According to him, “Telecommunications have facilitated enormous growth and development in the ICT sector. Subscriber base have grown tremendously from barely half a million in 2001 to over 163 million active subscribers today. Volume of investment in the industry, contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), number of operators in the industry. Direct and indirect employment that had been generated. Today ICT has redefined the way we live, work, interact, and socialize. It is today the catalyst for economic development in our country.
“But we believe that such growths need to be sustained, we even believe there are more potentials that we need to tap. The future looks very bright and we believe that we cannot do this alone. We believe that a lot of research and development is needed to be able to energize further growth and sustainability in the industry. We believe that there are a lot of potentials in the academia that we can leverage on.”
Earlier, the vice-chancellor, FUT, Minna, Prof. Abdullahi Bala, sought NCC’s partnership for the establishment of a Centre for Emerging Technologies in its campus, saying the largely ICT-based centre would address issues such as cybersecurity, cryptocurrency, digital policing and forensics amongst others.
The don thanked NCC for the numerous grants it has given the school, describing the commission as a critical stakeholder in the institution’s development, even as he sought its partnership equipping the institution with intranet services to enhance communication in its large campus and development of permanent complex for a mechatronics centre.