The Nigerian Communications Commission has reiterated its commitment towards growing the economy and creating an environment where stakeholders can leverage digital infrastructure and technology through collaboration with media and mass communication scholars.
Speaking at the 2nd International Conference of the Association of Media and Communications Researchers of Nigeria (AMCRON), which held on a virtual platform, the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta noted that AMCRON’s objectives align with the Commission’s aims.
AMCRON is a body of media and mass communication professionals formed in 2021, with the objective to “develop and improve members’ research and theory-building capabilities while networking with others of like minds for knowledge and nation-building purposes.” The Association also strives to provide an “intellectual search for new frontiers in the media and communication field.”
“There is no gainsaying the fact that my invitation is not a mere coincidence considering the inseparable convergence and intersections between Information and Communications Technology (ICT)/telecommunications, and the Media of Mass Communication. Indeed, ICT/telecommunications and Mass Communication are like Siamese twins when we consider how the former has continued to change the landscape of the latter, both from practical, theoretical, pedagogical perspectives. For instance, live events and real-time reporting are now possible, thanks to technological advancement in communication. With ICT, communication is fast, precise and well-targeted. Without these revolutionary changes, mass communication would not be as effective as the world knows it,” Danbatta asserted.
While referencing his first job as a media employee, the EVC, who was represented by NCC’s Director, Research and Development, Ismail Adedigba, assured that the Commission, under his leadership, has recognised the media as a central stakeholder that have been so supportive and consistent in reporting the developments in the telecommunications industry. “It is, therefore, heartwarming that the great minds who help to produce the critical workforce shaping the media industry – professors and scholars in the Mass Communication field – are the founders and members of this great Association.”
He opined that modern media and communications systems are taking on a whole new life and have caused growth in the flow and pattern of information and interpersonal communications, noting that the venue of the event, which is virtual, is the strongest point in explaining the degree of the digital revolution in Nigeria.
Danbatta listed some of the importance of the digital revolution, fueled by the diligent implementation of telecommunication policies, to include that digital revolution provides tools for communication, makes communication fast, makes mass communication more affordable and diversified.
“It is no longer the time when, if you wanted news, you had to read a newspaper, watch television or listen to the radio. Today, you can get all information on websites, social media pages, and mobile devices. This diversification has made it possible for communication to be efficient, and effective and reach all four corners of the world.
Digital Revolution has enhanced free access to information: Mass communication will never be complete if its product does not reach the intended users. ICT makes sure that communication achieves its intended objective of reaching the masses as the events are breaking.”
While congratulating the AMCRON Governing Council led by the Chairman, Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye, Danbatta assured that the NCC will continue to strengthen collaboration with the media and mass communication scholars such as AMCRON towards creating an environment where stakeholders can leverage digital infrastructure and technology such as the Fifth Generation (5G) network. He noted that it is because of the promise of 5G for improved connectivity, better quality of life for individuals, enhanced efficiency for businesses, and quantifiable growth in the economy, that the NCC continued to drive the implementation of the 5G policy in Nigeria.
“I would like to emphasise that the influence of telecommunications/communications policies, strategies and regulatory frameworks on Nigeria’s digital revolution has been phenomenal and at NCC, we will continue to do our best in the discharge of the Commission’s mandate, especially in facilitating broadband deployment, which is central to diversifying the Nigerian economy and building our national development in line with the National Digital Economy agenda. We believe that the communications industry, under the leadership of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, will experience more quantum leap and retains its current leadership role in the telecommunications space to lead Nigeria into the next level of development,” Danbatta enthused in conclusion.
He enumerated the growth indeces recorded in the telecom industry stating that the industry has witnessed quite impressive statistics, pointing to how telecommunications policy and decisions of the government have continued to influence the growth of Nigeria’s digital revolution marked by positive multiplier effects on other sectors of the economy.
“In specific terms, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020 – 2030, is a major policy driving the digital revolution in Nigeria. The NDEPS, combined with other policy documents, strategies, regulations, guidelines and directions, developed by NCC, facilitated the implementation of the Commission’s mandate. Other policy strategies include the National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025, the National Policy on 5G Networks for Nigeria’s Digital Economy, Commission’s ongoing Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024, and the Strategic Vision Plan 2021-2025 (otherwise called SVP II, and sequel to the Eight-point Agenda which was implemented from 2015-2020). The SVP II is indeed an intentional, conscious, and dedicated effort by the Management of NCC to streamline the telecom component of key policy vision of the Federal Government (including the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan) towards a more strategic and measurable implementation.”