Federal Government Approves 6000 Digital Tablets And The Deployment Of Regulatory Systems

The Federal Executive Council approved the implementation of the Advanced Digital Awareness Programme for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI) and the deployment of a regulatory system to support the telecommunications industry at its meeting on the 8th of December, 2021.

In a press release on Wednesday 8th December, 2021 signed by the Technical Assistant (Research & Development) to the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Femi Adeluyi, he said that this followed the presentation of memos by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami). The Minister was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Bitrus Bako Nabasu, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Dambatta, Prof Sahalu Junaidu and the Director of Financial Services of NCC, Mr. Yakubu Gontor.

The ADAPTI is aimed at bridging the digital gaps that exist in the academia by promoting the practical application of technology in research, teaching and learning in tertiary institutions. The approved programme will include the distribution of 6,000 digital tablets and is aimed at:

1. Encouraging the appreciation and use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the country, particularly in tertiary institutions;

2. Providing access to ICT tools;

3. Promoting economic empowerment through self-development; and

4. Stimulating demand for products and services in the telecommunication sector.

The ADAPTI will be implemented by NCC and it aligns with a number of pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, including the pillars on Digital literacy and Skills, Solid Infrastructure, Digital Services Development and Promotion, Digital Society and Emerging Technologies and Indigenous Content Development and Adoption.

The Federal Executive Council also approved the deployment of regulatory systems to monitor, detect and block SIMBox and Call Masking Traffic within the country’s telecommunications industry. These hardware devices are of high-end configurations/specifications meant to ensure seamless optimal functionality, bearing in mind the volume of data inflow from the four (4) major Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). The derivable benefits of the systems include the:

1. Implementation of a system to continuously monitor incidences of SIMBOXING in the industry;

2. Detection of incidences of SIMBOXING in the entire MNO networks, round the clock, in near real time or real time preferably and reporting the same in applicable formats;

3. Effective blocking of calls from SIMBOXES while also blocking the SIMs being used for the activity across all operators;

4. Implementation of a Call Masking/Calling Line Identification (CLI) Spoofing System to continuously monitor incidences of Call Masking/CLI Spoofing in the industry;

5. Detection of incidences of Call Masking in the entire MNO networks, round the clock, in near real time or real time preferably and reporting the same in applicable formats; and

6. Proactive blocking of Masked/Spoofed CLI calls at the origination stage to prevent successful call routing to the called subscriber.

The use of SIMBoxing and Call Masking has posed a challenge in meeting the critical security information needs of the telecommunications industry. The deployment of these systems will address the challenge. The deployment is also in alignment with the Soft Infrastructure pillar of NDEPS.

The Honourable Minister, Ministry and the telecommunications ecosystem are grateful for the tremendous support of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR. The Ministry will continue to position Nigeria to leverage technology in order to transform Nigeria into a leading digital economy.

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