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NCC Takes Anti-piracy Campaign to Schools

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By John Onah, Abuja

The Nigerian Copyrights Commission (NCC) is set to educate children and youths on the tenets of copyrights, using illustrations and books.

Director-General  of the commission, Mr John Asein, said that as part of the mandate to push a positive narrative for copyrights in the country, the commission was seeking strategic partnership to produce comics and illustrations of copyright laws to educate children.

 “We are trying to break the copyright laws into illustrations and comics and small bits to help children understand the value of the creative sector.

“So we can partner in that area. We want to do documentaries and partner with film sector.

We will keep using what we have in the creative space to get more done rather than complain.”

Asien also said that the commission was putting plans in place to stop the distribution of pirated books and educational materials among children, especially in schools.

“Any school found distributing pirated books, the school, proprietor and owners will be held responsible,” he said.

Asien stated that the notices would be sent to schools to the effect; and teams sent out to monitor and ensure strict compliance with the directive.

He also advised owners of creative works to develop new models for maximum profit making, adding that the commission assisted in developing new models.

According to him, pirates will always be able to bring down their costs lower but stakeholders must provide incentives that will make people go for the real products.

Asien noted that the damage of piracy in the Nigerian creative sector could not be quantified, especially the non-financial effects.

He reiterated that the lasting impact of these damages was one of the strong motivations behind the new initiatives put in place to curb piracy.

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FG Assures Microsoft, Multinationals of Conducive Business Environment

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, has  assured of the government’s dedication and commitment towards creating a conducive business environment that will enable multinational companies to expand their investments in the country with a view to contributing to the nation’s economic growth and development.

 Edun gave the assurance when he received and met with a delegation in his office in Abuja from Microsoft Nigeria, led by the Country Manager Nigeria, Olatomiwa Williams.

The Minister welcomed Microsoft’s commitment to Nigeria and emphasized the administration’s understanding of the strategic importance of sector leaders like Microsoft.

The meeting, he said, marks a significant step forward in fostering a collaborative relationship between the federal government and multinational technology companies, driving economic development and innovation in Nigeria.

Speaking earlier, Microsoft Country Manager for Nigeria, Olatomiwa Williams, stated that the team was on the visit to address recent media reports and explore potential areas of collaboration between the federal government and the technology giant.

 The Managing Director reassured the Minister that Microsoft remains committed to its operations in Nigeria, contrary to recent speculation.

He expressed the company’s desire to partner with the government in areas of mutual interest, including cyber security and youth upskilling.

Customs Officers Reject N1.5m Bribe from Vandals – Comptroller

Officers and men of the Nigerian Customs Service, Sokoto/Zamfara Command were said to have turned down N1.5m bribe from suspected vandals of railway tracks.

The operatives of the command on June 8, clamped down on a notorious cartel that specialises in the vandalisation of railway tracks, alongside a truck conveying a 20-foot container laden with vandalised railway tracks.

Also in the process, three suspects were intercepted by the command’s monitoring team at Kajiji along Kebbi Road.

The Comptroller of Customs, Sokoto/Zamfara Commands, Kamal Muhammed, while briefing newsmen at the command’s headquarters in Sokoto on Monday, said,  “The suspects could not tender evidence of allocation from the Federal Ministry of Transport, instead made an overture to bribe the officers with N1.5m and even making an advance cash offer of N300, 000.

“Out of patriotism and integrity, the officers chose the path of honour by detaining them at the command headquarters.

“As we are all aware, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence is the agency mandated to secure critical national assets, conforming with the collaboration policy thrust of the CGC, the Area Command will hand over the suspects, the truck, and its content and the N300,000 cash to the Commander NSCDC Sokoto Command who is here with us for further investigation and prosecution”

Speaking further, he noted that in compliance with the orders of the Comptroller General of Customs to seal up routes used by smugglers to smuggle contraband, officers of the whirlwind tactical team intercepted 11,270 litres of Premium Motor Spirit.

He said, “In compliance with the Comptroller General of Customs matching order to seal up all routes used for the smuggling of petroleum products, the Zone  ” B” whirlwind tactical team with reinforcement by Officers and men of Sokoto/Zamfara Area Command intercepted 11, 270litrea of Premium Motor Spirit popularly called petrol.

“The maritime and cross border smuggling of PMS hurts the overall supply chain of the product in addition to the possibility of funding criminal activities with the proceeds.

“Even with the removal of subsidy, the smuggling of PMS brings about an extra cost burden on the country both in terms of security of supply and securing of the scarce foreign exchange used to import the product.”

He added that the command will auction the sale of 11,270 litres of Petroleum Motor Spirits, at the rate of 180 naira per litre to the general public in Sokoto.

“In line with extant laws and the approval by the Comptroller General of Customs, the seized PMS will be auctioned to the general public today at a token of 180 naira per litre.

“Relatedly, last week the Whirwild Zone B tactical team auctioned 20,142 litres of PMS to the general public at Kebbi Area Command”, he added.

Similarly, in August 2023, the Tincan Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service said it rejected the N50m bribe offered by a smuggler involved in the importation of tramadol and other drugs for his container to be released.

The Customs Area Comptroller of Tincan, Adekunle Oloyede, said this while addressing journalists at the command.

He said the suspect, Boniface Ike, accepted ownership of two 40-foot containers arrested with drugs with the duty paid value of N550m.

Unilorin Introduces Self-defence, Combat Training for Students

The Department of Criminology and Security Studies, University of Ilorin (Unilorin), has taken steps to equip its students with essential skills by introducing self-defence and combat training as a vocation.

Dr Adedeji Oyenuga, a Visiting Scholar in the institution’s Department of Criminology, disclosed this on Monday in Ilorin.

He spoke at the maiden edition of the combat training at the university’s sports complex.

Oyenuga who is an Associate Professor at the Lagos State University (LASU), however, said the training could not be immediately integrated into the curriculum due to the proposal’s lateness.

He explained that the university had recognised the importance of this initiative and decided to offer it as a vocational activity before incorporating it into the curriculum at a later date.

The don highlighted the significance of self-defence within the context of security studies.

“I commend the University for thinking outside the box and swiftly approving the idea of practical combat training,” he said.

Oyenuga pointed out that the integration of self-defence and combat training into the curriculum reflected the university’s commitment to producing well-rounded graduates.

He said these would be those who are academically proficient and capable of ensuring personal safety and the security of others.

 “This innovative approach aligns with the evolving landscape of Criminology and Security Studies, which demands a comprehensive understanding of practical self-defence techniques,” the don explained.

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NITDA calls for more synergy to develop digital economy 

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has called on individuals, governments, private sector, academic and others in the society for more collaboration to enhance digital economy sector to develop the country.

Dr Kashifu Inuwa, Director-General of NITDA, made the call at the stakeholders engagement and ecosystem development programme, organised by the agency which on Thursday in Akure.

The theme of the programme was “Creating opportunities, breaking boundaries towards digitalization and entrepreneurial evolution”.

Inuwa, who was represented by Mr Oladejo Olawumi, Director, Standard Guidelines and Framework in the agency, said if digital technology could be adopted by all, it would provide opportunities for all parts of the economy, especially health, education and agriculture.

The DG, who explained that the agency had established Office for Nigerian Digital Innovation (ONDI) and the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), said it was now that digital technology should became a part of every aspect of the society.

According to him, modern digital technologies have changed how uncertainty in business processes and results works and how to handle the uncertainty.

“It is not just a fancy word but it is what causes big changes in industries. It changes the way we do business, take care of our health, educate ourselves, and even govern.

“So,  digitalisation changes things for the better, eliminates obstacles, and creates new chances that we couldn’t even think of before. Our responsibility is to take hold of these possibilities and use them to transform society.

“Let us be the architects of a future where opportunities are abundant, boundaries are shattered, and every entrepreneur’s vision finds a productive ground to flourish.

“Together, we have the power to shape the destiny of our digital nation,” Inuwa said.

Dr Mohammed Agbali, Senior Manager, Research and Development in NITDA, who presented a paper, said it was time for citizens to take advantage and opportunity in digital economy sector for the development of the country.

According to him, the opportunity to create job on Nigeria today is more available in digital economy than any other sectors.

Agbali explained that Apple and Amazon were contributing to the development of the USA in terms of tax and employment, saying that Nigerians needed to grow their own company so that the country could develop economically.

“Let us start supporting digital technology companies in Nigeria so that they can develop to the level of contributing to the development and economy of the country,” he said.

He, therefore, called on youths to take the advantage of digital economy to build skills so that they could participate adequately in the space.

Mr Olumbe Akinkugbe, Chairman of the  Ondo State Information Technology Agency (SITA), said the state would continue to support NITDA for them to achieve their aims in digital economy.

Akinkugbe said the  stakeholders’ engagement would move the state and county forward, to ensure the digital- based entrepreneurship and economy.

The SITA chairman said that the state had made entrepreneurial activities seamless by creating the enabling environment for the people through SITA for the government activities in I.T solution.

“This stakeholders engagement will enhance greater development in the digital economy of the state and I have no doubt in my mind that NITDA has thought it well in the choice of the state.

“We will continue to welcome such opportunity in future and also support NITDA collaboration and partnership toward rapid development,” he said.

One of the participants, Mr Godspower Otali, CEO of Wetin Dey Code Academy, appreciated the agency for bringing the programme to the grassroots.

He said it had bridged gap between the government and people, and also boosted the morale of the youth in the state and county at large.

According to Otali, youths need to equip and develop themselves in the skills of ITC to change their life for better in the future.

“It’s right time our people come to technology space because that’s the new blood money in the country.

“Oil has failed us, everything has failed us but digital space and digital skills is not failing us, so, I will encourage everyone, especially youths, to get digital skills,” he said.

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Female engineers teach elderly citizens new tech trends to bridge generational gap

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The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), Lagos Chapter, on Wednesday organised a mentorship training for elderly citizens to help them catch up with new technology trends.

The event, which was held in Lagos to commemorate the International Day for Older Persons, featured technology workshop, free health checks, discussions on Nigeria’s engineering at 63 and other programmes for elderly engineers.

The APWEN Lagos Chapter chairman, Dr Atinuke Owolabi, said the workshop on new trends in engineering was an opportunity to enhance the knowledge and skills of the elderly.

Owolabi described the reverse mentoring aspect of the training, which involved Senior Mentor to Young Mentor pairing, as the most exciting aspect of the event.

She said the topic, “Reverse Mentoring for the Female Engineers Elders on New Trends,” captured the importance of bridging generational gap in the profession.

She stressed the need for seasoned engineers to learn from the fresh perspectives of younger colleagues to stay relevant in the ever-evolving technological landscape.

“Our senior members bring a wealth of experience, industry insights, and a deep understanding of engineering principles that have stood the test of time.

“However, they can benefit immensely from the technological prowess and innovative thinking of our younger engineers.

“Likewise, our younger engineers can gain invaluable wisdom and guidance from the trailblasing careers of our elders,” she said.

She said embracing new trends and technologies would help both elders and youths to remain relevant to make meaningful contributions to the field while fostering collaboration.

“Reverse mentoring empowers the Next Generation in their career journeys and helps them unlock their full potential, paving the way for future success.

“This also creates a legacy as older engineers will have the opportunity to leave a lasting impact on the field of engineering by mentoring and nurturing the talents of those who will carry the torch forward,” she said.

Owolabi said APWEN was committed to a future where age would not be an impediment to the passion of the elderly for STEM.

She advised the older citizens to embrace the initiative to bridge the generational gap for an inclusive engineering community.

“Together, we can fulfill the promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for older persons, ensuring that our legacy in engineering endures for generations to come,” she said.

Mr Haastrup Adesoji, ICT Expert/Business Coach, spoke on the theme for the International Day for the Older Persons: “Fulfilling the Promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons: Across Generations.”

He said the training on new trends would energise the minds of the elderly and keep them productively engaged in driving national growth.

He called on the nation’s leadership to make policies that would target the development of the mind of the elderly, insisting that age was a thing of the mind and not body.

Former president of APWEN, Mrs Idiat Amusu, who is a septuagenarian, said technology was advancing daily, hence the need for older engineers to learn new applications like AI from younger ones.

Amusu said age was in the mind and just a stage in life, adding that at 71 she was still learning and would keep learning to be mentally alert at all times.

Dr Ihmade Okokpujie, Senior Lecturer/Researcher, Afe Babalola University, Ado- Ekiti, speaking on “Reverse Mentorship Initiative” urged the elderly to have open minds towards being coached by the young.

Okokpujie, who who joined the event virtually, explained the importance of mentorship, the advantages of the initiative and the need for younger mentors to stay up to date on technology.

The guest lecturer advised elderly female engineers to engage in sporting activities to be physically active in addition to getting adequate sleep and attending conferences to improve their brains.

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