The Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, and other key players in the country’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector are set for the 2020 virtual Nigeria Internet Governance Forum (vNIGF).
The 9th edition of the annual event, which will hold virtually this year due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, is scheduled for September 23-24, 2020 with the theme “Achieving Inclusive Digital Economic Development in the Post-COVID19 Era.”
The vNIGF 2020 will be chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr. Istifanus Musa.
In a statement, the organisers observed that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the critical importance of digital technologies in fostering inclusive national development and this has necessitated the thematic focus of the conference, where the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group (NIGF-MAG), the body of organisers of the event, will come together to chat the way forward, as a community of Nigeria’s Internet ecosystem.
The theme of this year’s event amplifies how the focus of the NIGF-MAG, from both the business and policy communities, is shifting from shaping a resilient Internet for societal sustainability to understanding the effect and impact of COVID-19 on individual and corporate lives and activities, especially with regard to women and the youths.
While the NIGF-MAG has assured of a good virtual experience at the programme, it said that that the virtual conference will be preceded by the Youth Internet Governance Forum (YIGF) and Women IGF (WIGF) on September 23, 2020, while the main event at which Dr. Pantami will deliver a keynote address on the theme holds on September 24, 2020.
Aside Pantami and Danbatta, organisers have also confirmed a lineup of eminent speakers for the vNIGF 2020 who will participate at high-level panel discussions on the thematic focus of “2020 to 2030 Digital Economy Strategy.”
The speakers are Founder and Chief Executive Officer, MainOne, Ms Funke Opeke; Chair of the Global IGF MAG, Anriette Esterhuysen; Coordinator, West Africa IGF, Mrs. Mary Uduma; Prof. Adenike Osofisan of University of Ibadan; and Dr. Nnenna Ifeanyi-Ajufo of Swansea University.
Others include a digital policy expert at Google, Mrs. Titi Akinsanmi; President and Chief Executive Officer, High Tech Centre for Nigerian Women and Youths, Dr. Wunmi Hassan; Coordinator, YouthIGF-NG, Uffa Modey, among others.
Members of the public from the private sector, government, civil society organisations and inter-governmental organisations, academia as well as Internet end-users are encouraged to register and attend the event live on the NIGF event website on https://2020.igf.ng and across its social media platforms, @NigeriaIGF.
According to the organisers, registration and attendance is free. Upon registration, participants will receive the event notifications and updates, free access to the digital edition of the event’s report and more.
The NIGF-MAG comprises stakeholders from the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMoCDE), NCC, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), Internet Society Nigeria Chapter (ISOC NG), DigitalSENSE Africa Media (DSA), in partnership with other local Internet stakeholders.
YouTube Hosts First Virtual YouTube Black Africa Creators Week
YouTube is this week (Monday 23 to Friday 27 November) holding its first virtual YouTube Black Africa Creators Week, a week dedicated to engaging, educating and inspiring African creators to grow on the platform.
Highlights of the 1-week program include expert-led masterclasses covering topics like assessing channel performance and engaging a community, and understanding YouTube’s monetisation policies, among others.
The programme also includes a creator spotlight talk with Mark Angel, Africa’s most subscribed endemic creator, YouTube training courses, and peer-driven open conversations aimed at improving creator collaboration and knowledge sharing.
YouTube will also celebrate creators through the presentation of Play Button awards to Dodos Uvieghara, Eric Okafor, and Kay Ngonyama whose channels have crossed the 100,000 subscriber milestone.
This region-wide virtual initiative, says Alex Okosi, MD, Emerging Markets, YouTube EMEA, demonstrates YouTube’s commitment to creators and artists in the region.
“Over the years we have built and nurtured strong relationships with Africa’s storytellers, and provided them with a platform to share their stories with the world,” says Okosi. “Top African creators and channels like Mark Angel Comedy, DJ Arch Jnr, Churchill Show and many others have grown from a handful of followers to having millions of fans globally.
“We remain committed to amplifying Black voices and providing a platform where Black African creators can thrive,” Okosi says. Creators can register for the YouTube Black Africa Creators Week programme here: http://goo.gle/youtubeblackafricacreatorweek
YouTube Black Africa Creators Week will conclude with a 2-hour livestream closing event to celebrate African creativity. The event will feature music performances by Fireboy, Niniola, Reekado Banks, Sauti Sol, Sho Madjozi, and dance showcases from Dream Catchers, Ikorodu Bois, Triplet Ghetto Kids. It will be hosted by YouTube creator, Akah Nnani. The livestream event will be held on Friday, November 27 at 5pm GMT and can be viewed here: https://goo.gle/africacreatorweeklivestream
MTN Nigeria Introduces New Digital Online Assistant
MTN Nigeria is set to launch ‘Zigi,’ an online assistant chatbot designed to enhance customers’ digital interactions with the brand, and provide speedy and secure marketing, sales and technical support.
Customers will be able to interact with the chatbot on multiple channels including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, the official MTN website and myMTN App. It will provide a wide range of services including account balance checks, airtime, data purchases and answers to frequently asked questions.
The chatbot will also have the ability to transfer customers to a live agent. These channels and varying features will be rolled out in phases as ‘Zigi’ continues to evolve to offer comprehensive support and services to all customers interested in interacting with MTN through ‘Zigi’.
Commenting on the launch of ‘Zigi,’ the Chief Customer Relations Officer, MTN Nigeria, Ugonwa Nwoye, said, “Zigi offers personalised, intuitive and prompt service to our customers. Her introduction will not take away the customer’s access to live agents but will serve as the first point of contact for customers who choose to interact with Zigi.’ We believe that ‘Zigi’ will ensure increased convenience which translates to better experiences for our customers, which is at the core of our purpose as a business.”
On his own part, the Chief Digital Officer, MTN, Srinivas Rao, says the launch of ‘Zigi’ aligns with MTN’s digital transformation objectives. “We now live in a fast-paced digital age with new technological advancements driving the constantly changing landscape. This is why at MTN, we are determined to lead digital transformation which will provide easy-to-use connectivity solutions; improve customer experience and maintain the highest quality of service for everyone in our ecosystem,” he said.
Nigeria Telecom Regulator Gets Twitter Accounts Restored
The Twitter account of the Nigerian Communications Commission, @NgComCommission, has been restored.
This followed a temporary suspension by Twitter, a decision taken to ensure the safety of the account owner, NCC and its thousands of followers.
Twitter’s security features had interpreted the multiple Online staff Internet Protocol (IP) logins as a suspected attempt to hack the Commission’s Twitter account, hence the decision to immediately suspend the account to protect the account and its followers from any security breaches or compromises.
However, in a swift response the Commission filed an appeal with Twitter Support, explaining the circumstance and requesting it to lift the suspension on the account.
Twitter, in its response to the appeal to un-suspend the account, clearly stated that “If we suspect an account has been hacked or compromised, we may suspend it until it can be secured and restored to the account owner in order to reduce potentially malicious activities caused by the compromise.”
Although Twitter can suspend accounts on two grounds: to maintain a safe environment for users on Twitter or its account violates Twitter Rules. In the NCC’ case, the suspension was based on the former ground, essentially to ensure the safety and protection of the Commission’s account.
To this end, the Commission wishes to clarify that the temporary suspension of its Twitter account was NEVER as a result of any violation of Twitter Rules but rather, as part of standard safety measures by Twitter management to safeguard its users’ accounts, as may be interpreted by embedded security features of the microblogging site.
As a foremost telecoms regulatory agency that ensures compliance with rules and also enforces rules in the sector it regulates, the NCC complies with extant rules of engagements, backed with high level of integrity and ethical practice, which have been nationally acknowledged.
The Commission, therefore, thanks its followers, telecoms consumers and other industry stakeholders for their understanding and concerns during the hiatus created by the suspension and assures them that Twitter’s action was essentially to protect the NCC and its online followers.
The Commission has taken steps to ensure that necessary streamlining required is implemented to keep the account live and accessible to all its stakeholders at all times.
NCC’s Twitter account currently has over 124, 000 followers and the Commission essentially uses the account to, among others, provide and disseminate up-to-date corporate communication and information on its regulatory activities to its various stakeholders, inform and educate consumers on their rights and privileges, as well as to receive and resolve consumers complaints in real-time.
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