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FG deploys telepresence, as NCC alerts Nigerians to COVID-19 scams

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The Federal Government through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy has deployed telepresence machines across some locations in the country. 
  
This is targeted at limiting the spread of the COVID-19 in the country. Specifically, about 123 locations have been equipped with the technology. This is being done on behalf of the Federal Government through the Galaxy Backbone (GBB) Limited, a parastatal under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, had earlier directed GBB to utilise its secured government-wide telepresence and collaboration facilities to ensure government functions continue while maintaining social distancing.

According to Pantami’s spokesperson, Uwa Suleiman, yesterday, GBB has complied by positioning its telepresence and collaboration facilities to ensure productivity, enhance security and reduce the cost of communication during this period.

According to her, video conferencing terminals have been installed at over 120 Federal Government institutions, including the offices of Vice President, 26 ministers, 17 ministers of state, Chief of Staff to the President, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Head of Civil Service of the Federation, 37 Federal Permanent Secretaries, Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and other key Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government.Uwa explained that calls and conferences were secured with end-to-end encryption within GBB operated government network.
  
According to her, GBB also has the capacity to provide both public and private sector organisations secure and reliable telepresence services from its state-of-the-art Unified Communication Services (UCS) platform.

Meanwhile the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has alerted Nigerians to fake website spreading false free Internet claim. NCC explained that the fake website (https://covid-19-fg-grant.blogspot.com/?=1) is asking Nigerian citizens to apply for a free Internet bundle ostensibly being given by the Nigerian government in collaboration with NCC.

 
“Nigerian government, in collaboration with NCC, is offering all Nigerian citizens up to 20GB of data to stay at home and get up-to-date information in a bid to counter the spread of COVID-19. All Nigeria citizens are entitled to free Internet connection to stay at home safely and enjoy the Internet in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19. The free Internet package is available to everyone starting from Friday, 27th March, 2020,” the deceptive website claims in its message.

The website suspiciously asks Nigerians to apply for the free Internet by clicking a web link, which automatically takes them to a webpage with a dialogue box where they are expected to fill in their bio data and other demographics.
  
The NCC stated that neither the Nigerian government nor the Commission has issued such a message to Nigerian citizens. NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, said the Commission strongly advises Nigerians and all telecom consumers to beware of the fraudulent, false and spurious claim.

“The general public should discountenance the falsehood which has gained traction by the rise in tempo of its circulation,” Nkemadu said. He said the message should be disregarded in its entirety. “The said website is a sham and a total deception to dupe Nigerians of their hard-earned money and to harness personal data for fraudulent purposes,” he added.  


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