Russia baits Nigeria with light, $14Bn for nuclear power project

Russia baits Nigeria with light, $14Bn for nuclear power project


Despite warnings that nuclear energy has no place in a safe, clean, sustainable future; lobbyists are pushing Nigeria to commit to building nuclear power plant.

The lobbyists claim that nuclear power plant can underpin the country’s poor public power supply and help her save some $14 billion annually.

Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has however raised concerns that nuclear power plant is not good for the environment in Nigeria because of the radioactive waste and the cost, $20 billion, of the project.

In clear and simple terms, nuclear energy is both expensive and dangerous, and just because nuclear pollution is invisible doesn’t mean it’s clean.

But Viktor Polikarpov, regional vice-president, Central and Southern Africa of ROSATOM, said all of the concerns are driven by lack of information.

He said that when the nuclear plant would be operational, the country would save $14 billion in a year on off-grid diesel generation.

ROSATOM by the way is the Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation which had reportedly signed an agreement with Nigeria to build a nuclear energy plant.

ROSATOM is currently working with Nigeria on two planned projects, the Center for Nuclear Research and Technology for which an agreement on cooperation in construction was signed in 2016; and the Nuclear Power Plant project for which project development agreements on construction and operation were signed in October 2017.

Coming to the radioactive wastes he said, “Nuclear power is the only energy industry which takes full responsibility for all its wastes and builds this cost directly into the product. International co-operation and systems are also in place to effectively control and track the movement of many materials, including radioactive materials.”

Russia is not new to building Nuclear energy plants, Polikarpov noted that Russia started building nuclear plants 11 years ago, has launched a large-scale NPP construction program in the country and abroad that have finalised 13 units.

Nigeria, is infamous for unreliable public supply and it is a country where everybody generates own power supply.

According to estimations, Nigeria spends $14 billion annually on off-grid diesel generation.

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Operators decry high cost of fibre optic leasing

Operators decry high cost of fibre optic leasing

A fibre-optic cable

High cost of leasing fibre optic infrastructure has been blamed for the desire of telecommunications operators to seek ownership of that transmission link, Nigeria Communicationsweek has learnt.

Metro or national fibre optic infrastructure is required by telecommunications operators to transmit bandwidth from where they are bought to their network operating centres for service delivery especially data.

Stakeholders in the telecommunications space have attributed lack of transmission infrastructure in the country to poor service delivery and high cost of data services especially in cities outside of Lagos where most of the undersea cable that brought bandwidth to the country land.

Against this backdrop that operators seek ‘Right of way’ approval to enable them lay fibre optic along state and federal roads to move bandwidth required to deliver services to their subscribers.

Abhulime Ehiagwina, chief financial officer, ntel, a 4GLTE operator, said at a recent Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) ‘breakfast meeting with the CEO’, that high cost of leasing fibre optic from owners of the infrastructure does not make economic sense compared to owning the link.

“Imagine if we lease fibre to deliver service from Port Harcourt to Aba, it will cost us N20 million per month. The question is, how many subscribers can we get in a short run that will cover this amount and other associated cost in delivering service to Aba? This is why operators seek ‘Right of way’ approval to lay their own fibre links,” he said.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek investigations revealed that leasing of intra city fibre optic is not cheap either as it costs N200, 000 to lease fibre to transmit 20mega of bandwidth for Victoria Island to Ikeja in Lagos Nigeria.

It was in response to this that Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has licensed InfraCos that are expected to deploy fibre optic infrastructure for operators to lease at competitive cost.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek also gathered that some existing national and metro fibre links are not being use by operators as a result of high cost which is why stakeholders are calling for articulated business friendly policy in the deployment and provision of telecommunications transmission infrastructure in the country.

Ajay Awasthi, chief executive officer, Spectranet, a 4G LTE internet service provider, said that it costs higher to move bandwidth from Lagos to Ibadan than moving it from London to Lagos.

Engr. Samuel Adeleke, immediate past president, Internet Services Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN) said that licensing of spectrum as a way to increase broadband penetration is not enough to achieve the target.

“NCC needs to look at the proper use of its licenses moving forward. For instance, Globacom has invested in intra-city and inter-city fibre network, which are presently not in use. This infrastructure is required to increase broadband penetration in the country, the regulator should ensure the effective utilization of licensed spectrum,” he said.

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CommsWeek, CBT develop app to fight hate speech

CommsWeek, CBT develop app to fight hate speech

Communication Week Media Limited, publishers of Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, and Core Business Technologies Limited (CBT) have developed mobile phone application to enable the public to report hate speech in a bid to curb the spread of extremism and sectarianism.

Hate speech is speech which attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, or gender.

According to Ken Nwogbo, a Nigerian newspaper columnist, ICT Journalist and founder, Communication Week Media Limited, the App aims primarily to tackle the impunity of hate crimes.

“Hate speech is clear and present evil, the many wars across the world were caused by the crimes of hate speech, that was why we partnered with CBT, arguably one of Nigeria’s solution-oriented, dynamic and indigenous Information Technology and Solutions service provider to develop this App” Nwogbo added.

Compatible with both Android and iOS operating systems, the App called “Pana” tackles hate speech by establishing monitoring and evaluation units in the App.

Edward Essien, CEO of CBT, said “I do not support capital punishment for hate speech, that is why we developed the App to nip it in the bud. By sentencing hate speech offender to maximum penalty, the government is inadvertently promoting hate speech”

“By that, the government is promoting one section of the society against the other, the best thing to do it trace and trap such speech” he added.

The app enables citizens to report anonymously extremist speeches, banners or activities wherever they notice them. Users can send pictures, audio, video or a written message.

Such data and information received can be shared with police and other law-enforcement and regulatory authorities.

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NITDA rewards startups, pledges N25m center

NITDA rewards startups, pledges N25m center

Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Dr Isa Pantami PHOTO: TWITTER?NITDA NIGERIA

National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has rewarded various tech startups through its subsidiary organisation, the Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE), at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State Capital.

The event which was held at the Emerald event center, had 10 Startups accorded the opportunity of pitching their solutions to the audience, with Damilola Omoyiwola of Budgetier emerged best and received the seed fund of 300,000, while others got 200,000, 100,000 and 50,000 respectively.

In his remarks, Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom State represented by Prof. Nse Udo Essien, Commissioner for Science and Technology, stated that ICT remains the best alternative to diversify Nigeria’s economy.

He expressed delight over the choice of the state as the beneficiary of a developmental event of its magnitude. “The choice of Akwa Ibom state by NITDA for such an important project is an attestation that NITDA, and indeed the present administration, exists to serve all Nigerians regardless of geographical locations or any challenges.

“Information Technology is the guarantee to a secure future and we are proud to be a part of this epoch making event .

“We are immensely grateful to the DG for spreading the dragnet to all he nooks and crannies of Nigeria”.

He pledged to integrate ICT in all aspects of governance in the State.

Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami ,DG NITDA, in his remarks, disclosed that the Agency was mandated to develop, implement and regulate the IT industry in the country and that in discharging its functions, NITDA is determined to ensure that all Nigerians, especially the youths are carried along in its empowerment agenda.

He stated that the “Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship, was established by the Agency to drive programs and policies that support ICT development, develop, establish and support ICT innovation hubs, Information Technology parks and community enterprise hubs across Nigeria while, collaborating with the private and public sectors at both federal and state levels on programs that support entrepreneurship and commercialization”.

Dr Pantami emphasized that the presidential executive orders 003 and 005, further gave impetus to the Agency’s mandate and strengthened its resolve to bridge the digital divide, establish, facilitate and support the Nigerian ICT Startup ecosystem.

He also revealed that NITDA will be setting up a Digital Capacity Building Center at the Goverment Secondary School, Afaha Eket, Eket LGA of Akwa Ibom

He concluded that, “our future as a nation relies on ICT”, “ICT is the global driver of all aspects of the economy”.

Startup Friday is a smart gathering that aims at bridging the Startup growth gap by enriching the development processes of innovative technology driven businesses through interactions

It’s also to promote Information Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship, create an enabling environment for an innovative ecosystem to thrive in Nigeria,

This ninth edition of Startup Friday is the first held in the South-South region of the Country, past gatherings were successfully organised in Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna and Gombe State respectively.

In attendance were representative of Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Prof. Nse Udo Essien, Commissioner for Science and Technology, the Director General of NITDA, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FBCS, top officials of the State Government, Hub Operators, Techpreneurs, IT Professionals, conventional and Online media practitioners, Academics among others.

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Financial-related attacks dominate phishing attempts in 2017 – report

Financial-related attacks dominate phishing attempts in 2017 – report

In 2017, anti-phishing technologies developed by Kaspersky Lab detected more than 246 million user attempts to visit phishing web pages.

Of these, 54 percent were attempting to visit fake financial web pages — compared with 47 percent in 2016. This marks the first time that financial phishing figures have exceeded 50 percent, the company said in a press release.

Financial phishing attacks are fraudulent messages that link to copycat websites that appear to be legitimate. The fraudsters aim to acquire a user’s credentials for banking and credit accounts in order to steal the victim’s money.

In 2017, attacks against banks, payment systems and e-commerce stores grew by 1.2, 4.3, and 0.8 percentage points, respectively and ranked as the top three categories in overall phishing attacks detected.

Attacks related to global search engines, social networks and the like fell 13 percent in 2017 cropping the category from the second place in 2016 to fourth place in 2017. This shows that criminals are now focused on gaining direct access to consumers’ money, the release said.

The company also found that Mac users are in increasing danger. Contrary to popular belief about the security of Mac devices. In 2016, 31 percent of phishing attacks against Mac users aimed to steal financial data; in 2017 this share rose to 56 percent.

“The increased focus cybercriminals have on conducting financial phishing attacks means that users need to remain extra vigilant,” Nadezhda Demidova, lead web content analyst at Kaspersky Lab, said in the release. “To get a hold of our money, fraudsters are constantly looking for new methods and techniques to trick us.

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France to take legal action against Google, Apple for ‘abusive’ practices

France will take legal action against Google and Apple for “abusive business practices”, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Wednesday as transatlantic ties threaten to be riven by a trade war.

“I believe in an economy based on justice and I will take Google and Apple before the Paris Commercial Court for abusive business practices” against French start-ups, Le Maire said on RTL radio.

He said start-ups face conditions imposed on them when selling their apps on Google and Apple which “also gather data” and “both can unilaterally modify contracts.”

The minister said the situation is unacceptable.

“I consider that Google and Apple, as powerful as they are, shouldn’t treat our start-ups and our developers in the way they do today,” said Le Maire.

The action against the firms comes as US President Donald Trump has moved towards imposing a 25-percent tariff on imported steel and 10-percent tariff on imports of aluminium.

It is unclear if European nations will obtain waivers, with Trump having singled out the EU as treating the United States badly in trade ties and threatening to tax cars as well.

Le Maire has previously threatened to tax the two firms based on their sales in France, denouncing the legal strategies they use to pay taxes at lower rates in other EU countries.

He added the current action could result in penalties reaching several million euros.

“My responsiblity is to ensure economic law and order,” said Le Maire. “There are rules. There is justice. It should be respected.”

Tech start-ups are a favourite of French President Emmanuel Macron, who has sought to overhaul the nation’s laws and regulations to allow entrepreneurs to flourish.

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Six banks pitch for Airtel Africa IPO

Six banks pitch for Airtel Africa IPO


Firm backs NCC on call masking sanction

About five to six banks are believed to be pitching Indian telco Bharti Airtel on a potential listing of its Africa operations. The unit could be worth around $6.6 billion. Airtel has a presence in over 15 African countries.

Sources told TMT Finance that requests for proposals ahead of a beauty parade were yet to be sent but that a number of banks were holding informal discussions with Airtel, offering proposals on potential valuations and places of listing. These are believed to include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays and UBS.

Bharti Airtel International (BAIN), the holding company that owns its African interests, could have an enterprise value of $6.6 billion, six times its EBITDA. An equity valuation would bring it to $1.1 billion after factoring in an estimated $5.5 billion net debt.

As for the place of listing, Airtel’s management would favour London but that question still remains to be decided.Airtel acquired Zain’s Africa business for $10.7 billion in 2010. Standard Chartered and Barclays were the financial advisers for the deal. Airtel struggled to replicate its Indian model on the African continent and repaid a bumper loan of $9 billion for the acquisition. It started to deleverage its debt by selling 8,300 mobile towers in Africa for $1.7 billion to various towercos. It then went on with selected sales (Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso) and mergers (Ghana, Rwanda).

Sources reckoned the IPO process could also take the form of dual track and that should a global offer come from the Airtel portfolio in Africa, its owner Sunil Mittal would be likely to sell at the right price.

Meanwhile, Airtel Nigeria has commended the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) over stiff actions it has adopted in curbing the menace of call-masking and refiling in the industry.

Call masking is the act of concealing international calls coming into a country and presenting them as local in order to make profits from the difference in prices between local and international calls.

The commendation was made by the Managing Director of Airtel, Segun Ogunsanya, during an interactive session with Executive Director, Africa, Raghunath Mandava, and other top officials of the firm with the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, at GSMA World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

Ogunsanya said: “I would like to sincerely commend the EVC and the commission for the tough action against the menace of call masking, which is no doubt inimical to telecom business in the country.”

In his response, Danbatta told the delegation that a new flexible regulation for spectrum trading and transfer of license rights and obligations, from one party to another, would soon come to effect as the framework was already conclusive.Danbatta stated that the NCC has recently suspended the operating licenses of some telecommunications operators for engaging in call masking, saying call masking is the act of concealing international calls coming into a country and presenting them as local in order to make profits from the difference in prices between local and international calls.

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ICT experts task Nigerians on acquisition of digital skills

ICT experts task Nigerians on acquisition of digital skills


Nigerians from all walks of life have been urged to acquire various Information Communications Technology (ICT) skills to prepare job-seekers for work and enable employees remain in various work places in the country.

Founder/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Digital Bananas Technology, Keji Giwa, who spoke at an event to mark the social media week in Lagos organised by Digital Bananas, noted that to remain relevant in careers, people need to acquire skills that are in tandem with the digital age and take career risks in evolving technology.

He disclosed that digitisation is driving the world today, noting that by 2030, about eight million jobs would be lost as businesses rely on data, hence urged that it is very important for everyone to work and connect with data.

Tagged: “The freelance economy: Job and the future of job”, the event was the first in series by the ICT firm held as a global event, as well as a platform to empower Nigerians with skills to secure jobs here in Nigeria and outside the country. “The future of work is digitalization, people need to acquire the right skills to be able to get jobs,” he said.

Giwa urged Nigerians to focus on building digital skills to remain employable and qualify for employment, as many more companies are relying on digital skills.The ICT expert, who noted that robots are in the streets, ready to replace human beings, renewable energy is threatening power, which are all indications that digitization is taking over, stressed that it is necessary to do a research and find out how technology will affect jobs and also find ways to improve on that.

Also Director, Movido E&P, Iyabo Okwuraiwe, said that digital technology has changed the way the world works and communicates, hence Nigerians should move into data spectrum to connect socially and make their businesses match those of their global competitors.

Okwuraiwe, who urged the citizens, to irrespective of their disciplines, learn a wide variety of skills – data competence that will place them above their competitors in the workplaces, added that many organizations seek persons with particular ICT skills.

While commending some private schools for being ICT-compliant, she urged the government to ensure that public schools need to key into this, expand on ICT and play more emphasis on ICT skills development, as well as adapt to it, because digital age is ICT.

She noted that the education system in the country, especially in the public schools, should be innovative, and teachers should emphasise more on how children can think out of the box. “Students should be taught to think out of the box, every single lesson should be based on creativity and improving the cognitive skills, improving our understanding of technology, and to build on the soft skills. We are moving to an era where even just the technical is not going to be enough, but understanding of the technical,” she stated.

Powered by WPeMatico, Kia partnership extends to Abuja, Kia partnership extends to Abuja

Marketing Manager Kia Motors Nigeria, Jimoh Olawale (left); Head of Business Optimization, Cars45, John Egwu; Vice President Business Development, Kia Motors Nigeria, Olu Tikolo; CEO, Cars45, Etop Ikpe; Marketing Manager, Carol Ofem, Abuja Branch Manager, Kia Motors Nigeria, Yogesh Kulkarni, at the extension of partnership between Kia Motors and Cars45 to Abuja.

Nigeria’s foremost auto auctioning and car buying service, has extended the used cars and car trade-in partnership with Kia Motors to Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.This means that used-Kia owners can now drive into Kia Motors Nigeria office at Utako Abuja to trade it in for a new Kia, fairly used Kia car or other cars owned by Cars45.

This partnership also allows individuals who do not previously own Kia cars to purchase certified used Kia cars or brand-new Kia cars at the designated Kia and Cars45 centers. This is intended to provide Nigerians with the much-needed credible environment to trade-in their cars with ease while ensuring that they get the best value for their money.

Speaking on the initiative, The CEO, Cars45, Etop Ikpe, said: “Cars45 is beyond providing a platform for easy car sale. We ultimately aim at innovatively meeting our customers’ expectations and even exceed it.

“With the upward growth in the used car market, we have received a lot of requests from Kia owners for an opportunity to swap their old Kia for new ones. This created the need to bridge the gap for these customers.

“This step further establishes Cars45´s commitment to Nigerians by ensuring that there are cars for the average Nigerian whenever he or she wants one.”Also speaking, Customer/Sales Marketing Manager, Cars45, Carol Ofem said: “Based on the data and feedback that we have gotten from our customers and potential customers, we have seen that there is a growing market and demand for brand new Kia cars, as well as used Kia cars.

“This partnership is therefore intended to meet that growing demand as it allows existing car owners to trade-in their cars for an upgrade.“This process is easy and convenient for the Nigerian car owner. We are confident this partnership will further increase customer experience and love for both the Cars45 and the Kia brand.”

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Google pulls down 3.2b violating  adverts, pays publishers $12.6 billion

Google pulls down 3.2b violating adverts, pays publishers $12.6 billion

(FILES) This file photo taken on September 1, 2015 shows the Google logo at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. Google painted a bleak picture of cybersecurity trends March 20, 2017, saying the number of websites hacked rose 32 percent last year, with little relief in sight.”We don’t expect this trend to slow down. As hackers get more aggressive and more sites become outdated, hackers will continue to capitalize by infecting more sites,” Google said in a post on its webmaster blog. JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

Search giant, Google pulled down 3.2 billion adverts that violated its advertising and publishers policies in 2017, in Nigeria and other part of the world. The firm said it paid publishers $12.6 billion in the year under review.

According to Google, that was more than 100 bad adverts per second! By this move, the technology company said it was able to block the majority of bad adverts experiences, like malvertising and phishing scams, before the scams impacted people. Google said it took specific actions against violating adverts involved in scraping; tabloid cloaking; malicious activity; malware and trick to click formats.

The United States of America’s technology company said it blocked 79 million adverts on its network for attempting to send people to malware-laden sites, and removed 400,000 of these unsafe sites last year. It equally removed 66 million “trick-to-click” adverts as well as 48 million adverts that were attempting to get users to install unwanted software.

Speaking to selected journalists via Video Conferencing on Monday, Monetized Products, Google Trust and Safety, EMEA, Jessica Stansfield, said digital advertising plays an important role in making the web what it is today — a forum where anyone with a good idea and good content can reach an audience and make a living. In order for this ads-supported, free web to work for everyone, it needs to be a safe and effective place to learn, create and advertise.

As such, Stansfield said yearly the firm report on the actions it took to keep the ecosystem safe for people, publishers and advertisers. Over the past year, we used a combination of policies, technology and people to remove more bad actors from our ad ecosystem than ever before, and at a faster rate.

According to her, last year, Google removed 320,000 publishers from its ad network for violating the publisher policies, and blocked nearly 90,000 websites and 700,000 mobile apps.She said the technology firm also introduced new technology that allows it to remove Google ads from more than two million URLs each month, adding: “Page-level enforcement technology allows us to better protect our advertisers by removing more ads from more sites while also minimizing the impact on legitimate publishers.”

According to her, this new technology has been critical in helping to scale enforcement for policies that prohibit monetization of inappropriate and controversial content. “After expanding our policy against dangerous and derogatory content in April 2017 to cover additional forms of discrimination and intolerance, we removed Google ads from 8,700 pages that violated the expanded policy,” she stated.

Stansfield revealed that many website owners used the firm’s advertising platforms, like AdSense, to run Google ads on their sites and content and make money.She said Google paid $12.6 billion back to the publishing partners in its ad network last year. “But in order to make money from Google ads, you have to play by rules — that means respecting the user experience more than the ads.”

Stansfield said in 2018, Google will be adding several new policies that will address adverts in unregulated, overly complex, or speculative financial products like binary options, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange markets and contracts for difference (or CFDs), adding: “we have already updated our gambling policies to address new methods of gambling with items that have real-world value, such as skins gambling.

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