Airtel Nigeria, has been recognised for its efforts in storytelling and PR innovation at the 5th edition of the Lagos Public Relations and Industry Gala (LaPRIGA) organised by the Lagos Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations.
The corporate communications department of Airtel Nigeria has also been awarded the ‘Best Corporate Communications Team’ in Africa by the prestigious Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Responsibility Awards (SERAs), a prominent award platform designed to celebrate excellence in the practice of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Africa.
According to a citation read in honour of Airtel Nigeria at the LaPRIGA event, the telco was bestowed with ‘Best Brand in Storytelling’ and ‘Best Innovation in PR Practice’ awards for scoring high on a wide range of parameters ranging from creativity, storytelling and proactively engaging its various stakeholders.
The panel of judges of the SERAs said the Airtel Nigeria corporate communications department has consistently and flawlessly designed and implemented programmes to not just uplift the vulnerable, underprivileged and hard-to-reach in the society but has been unwavering in its commitment of championing corporate philanthropy and exemplary CSR practice in Nigeria.
Commenting on the awards, Emeka Oparah, director, Corporate Communications & CSR, Airtel Nigeria, commended the organizers of LaPRIGA and SERAs for creating platforms to recognize and reward excellence in the practice of Public Relations and CSR/Sustainability in Nigeria.
He expressed appreciation to his team members and to the managing director and chief executive officer, Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya, who, according to Oparah, is extremely passionate about CSR and Giving and always goes the extra mile to ensure that the Corporate Communications team gets all the support it requires.
“Airtel Nigeria dedicates the SERAs award to the underprivileged Nigerians who we strive daily to support through our flagship CSR initiative, Airtel Touching Lives. If we haven’t touched your life directly yet, hopefully we will do so soon.”
Inaugurated four years ago, the LaPRIGA Awards is regarded as the high-profile red bow-tie event which has evolved to become communications industry Oscars aimed at recognizing excellence, celebrating practitioners, corporates, and stakeholders via awards dinner, and to boost professionalism and more investment in the Public Relations practice.
Over 400 leading communications professionals in consultancies, government, corporate and not-for-profit organizations, captains of industry including media personalities, academia and C-Suite executives from across different sectors and industries attended this year’s edition of the event.
In the last 13 years, the SERA awards have attracted over 1242 entries from over 300 organisations. The thorough awards process that ensures physical verification and documentation of projects entered via site photography, videos, and interviews of various stakeholders (the only awards platform of its kind in the world with such depths in its fact-finding process), has visited over 5000 project locations around Africa.
Over the same period, there has been 240 competitive awards winners, 20 honorary award winners, five sustainability champions and 13 overall winners of the most coveted award of The Most Responsible Business in Africa. Within the period under review, the SERAs has had over 25,000 key players, industry and policy leaders and influencers. Its works over the years has also made the award platform custodians of data around activities of the most active organisations in CSR and sustainability in Africa, be they large, medium or small scale, as well as the not-for-profits.
Nigerian Telcos Deploy 53,460 3G, 4G BTSs, 55,725km Optic Cables—Danbatta
The Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta said that third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) base transceiver stations (BTS) deployment in Nigeria has increased from 30,000 to 53,460 in the last five years.
Prof. Umar Danbatta who disclosed this stated that fibre optic transmission cables expanded from 47,000km to 54,725km in the same period, resulting in improved broadband/telecoms service delivery to Nigerians.
He stated this at a briefing for the new Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Engr. Festus Yusuf Daudu, on the functions and regulatory activities of the Commission in Abuja on Tuesday.
In the comprehensive briefing, the EVC spoke on NCC’s enabling laws, its mandates, structure, implementation approach of its mandates and methodology, key focus and targets, scorecards, the new soon-to-be-unveiled Strategic Management Vision (SVP), NCC’s contributions to the economy, various regulatory frameworks aimed at improving service delivery, challenges confronting the sector and proposed solutions, among others.
According to him, the effective regulatory regime put in place by the leadership of the Commission has resulted in increased deployment of infrastructure by telecoms operators, which in turn, helped to improve broadband penetration and other related service delivery in the telecoms industry.
“The BTS, fibre optic cables and other related infrastructure are central to the provision of improved service experience for Nigerians by their respective telecoms service providers,” he said, adding that the licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) are also expected to add 38,296km to optic fibre cables when they commence fully operations.
According to the EVC, as at November, 2020, active telephony subscribers stood at 208 million with teledensity standing at 108.92 per cent while active Internet subscriptions were 154.9 million and a broadband penetration of 45.07 per cent, among others.
He also talked on various initiatives undertaken by the Commission to ensure consumer protection and empowerment. These, according to him, include the Declaration of 2017 as Year of the Telecom Consumer, introduction of the 622 Toll Free Line for lodging and resolving consumer complaints and the provision of the 112 Emergency number and activation of 19 Emergency Communications Centre (ECCs).
Other such consumer-centric regulatory measures intervention, according to the EVC, include, issuance of various directions to mobile network operators (MNOs) to protect the consumers from being short-changed, ensuring smooth transition of Etisalat to 9Mobile, consumer outreach programmes, introduction and enforcement of mobile number portability (MNP) as well as introduction of the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 to check cases of unsolicited text messages.
The EVC disclosed that the number of subscriptions to DND service has hit over 30 million as the service empowers Nigerians to be able to protect themselves from the menace of unsolicited text messages.
In recognition of the tremendous economic growth opportunities afforded by the deployment of broadband and its associated technologies, Danbatta said the Commission has positioned itself in government’s drive for a digital Nigeria, as contained in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020 – 2025), the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (2020 – 2030) and the Strategic Management Plan (2020 – 2024) of the Commission.
“The Commission will continue to put in its best in the discharge of its mandates, especially in facilitating the deployment of broadband, which is central to diversifying the Nigerian economy and national development. Also, it is our belief that the communications industry, under the leadership of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, will experience more quantum leaps and retain its current leadership role in the telecommunications space,” he said.
In his reaction, the Perm Sec commended the leadership of the Commission, acknowledging the upward growth attributed to the effective regulatory regime, the central role NCC is playing in the digital transformation of the Nigerian economy as well as the impressive contribution of the sector to the country’s Gross Domestic (GDP).
“I want to thank NCC for its contribution to the Nigerian economy so far. I am not exaggerating about the achievements of NCC, in terms of contribution to GDP and how NCC’s effective regulatory role has been helping the economy in so many ways,” he said, adding that NCC leadership also contributed to his success as the Chairman of the World Radio Conference in 2015.
Engr. Daudu urged the Commission on the need for increased collaboration and teamwork with the Ministry, other agencies and industry stakeholders towards achieving the Federal Government’s objective of a digital economy. He also promised to support the Commission in whatever ways possible towards achieving its regulatory mandates.
UK-Nigeria Tech Hub Unveils Virtual Capacity Building Programmes
The UK-Nigeria Tech Hub has launched amongst others two virtual programmes- the Design School Programme for aspiring product designers seeking to start a career in tech and the Future Females Business School programme for early-stage female entrepreneurs with tech-enabled businesses in Nigeria.
The Design School programme will run for two months and will provide an opportunity for 30 aspiring product designers to undergo an intensive training to equip them with necessary digital and product design skills. Application closes on January 25th 2021 and interested persons can apply using this link- http://bit.ly/DufunaDesignSchool
The Future Females Business programme is targeted at providing 100 early-stage female entrepreneurs with tech-enabled business in Nigeria an opportunity to upskill and gain digital skills aimed at bringing their business to life. The programme will run for 3 months and will include 10 modules, masterclasses, coaching sessions and guest features of industry experts in Nigeria. Applications closes on January 25th 2021 and interested persons can apply using this link- https://futurefemales.typeform.com/to/zGzqkKbV
While encouraging interested applicants to apply, the Country Director of the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, Honey Ogundeyi said: “These programmes will help promote gender inclusive economic growth as well as upgrade digital skills in Nigeria thereby developing the tech-ecosystem.”
FG Happy As Telcos Link 48m SIM Cards With NIN
The federal government has lauded Nigeria’s telecommunications operators for linking 47.8 million subscriber identification modules (SIMs) with the national identity number (NIN) in the ongoing exercise.
At an average of three to four SIMs per subscriber, this means many millions will be linked up before the deadline in February 2021. This was disclosed at the end of a review meeting on 18th January 2021 by the Technical Implementation Committee under the Ministerial Task Force.
The committee reported significant progress in the ongoing NIN-SIM linkage exercise. So far, a total of 47.8 million NINs have been collected by the mobile operators.
Reacting to the report, the minister of communications and digital economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, expressed satisfaction with this commendable achievement, saying government appreciates the commitment demonstrated by all stakeholders and citizens and urged them to submit their NINs before 9th February, 2021 deadline.
The minister urged the technical team to fast-track the processes so that the project is delivered soonest. The technical committee drew attention to the App developed by federal government which allows subscribers to link up to a maximum of seven SIMs to their NIN.
The minister concluded by reminding Nigerians to secure and protect their NINs, urging subscribers to desist from selling their NINs or allowing others to use their NINs for registration. “For any action committed with the SIM, good or bad, it will be officially traced and attached to the NIN owner,” the Minister warned.
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