…Why we can’t dabble into fake news control -Minister
Soni Daniel, Editor, Northern Region Editor
The Federal Government said on Thursday that the number of base stations in Nigeria providing fourth generation communication network in the country has reached 39,006 while the number of people who have access to broadband services have risen to 88,273,690.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami, who gave the information at the presentation of the scorecard of his ministry in Abuja, said that number of citizens and legal residents in Nigeria captured under the National Identity management system has reached 94 million.
At the same time, the minister disclosed that number of Ministries, Departments and Agencies currently participating in the e-gov programme stands at 501 and the ministry was working tirelessly to ensure that more and more Nigerian businesses can be conducted online.
Prof. Pantami also boasted that the ministry had successfully fashioned out 19 policies guiding the operations of its agencies while broadband coverage in Nigeria had hit 100 percent as at January this year.
According to the minister, the percentage of 4G network coverage in Nigeria has reached 77.52 while the cost of 1GB Data has dropped from N1250 to a paltry N350.
The minister ruled out the possibility of the ministry taking the lead in the control of fake news in Nigeria, saying that it was the duty of the ministries of information, justice and the office of the National Security Adviser, who have the mandate to tackle fake news.
But Pantami said however that whenever his ministry was called upon to deploy technology to curtail the spread of information that has the capacity to affect the interest of Nigeria, it would do so within the ambit of relevant laws.
On why certain elements continue to use unregistered subscriber’s identification modules, sims, to make calls without being barred, the minister said that it was also not the direct function of his ministry to tackle the elements involved in such acts, but that the security agencies are saddled with the responsibility of dealing with such infractions.
He said however that the ministry and its relevant agencies had put in place necessary measures to ensure that criminal elements using mobile phones to commit crimes are tracked and apprehended once the relevant persons, who should not be below the level of a director in the security agencies, lodge complaints.
On the seeming overlap of functions between the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, and the National Information and Technology Development Agency, NITDA, the minister asked the two strategic agencies of government to continue to work together and deliver results until necessary laws and policies were developed to take care of the areas that seem to overlap between them.
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