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Professionals want FG to classify Internet access as fundamental right

By Adeyemi Adepetun
17 September 2020   |   3:52 am
To fast track Nigeria’s march into the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), computer professionals have called on the Federal Government to classify Internet access as a fundamental right.

Nigeria Computer Society

NCS seek digitized education, commerce and healthcare sectors

To fast track Nigeria’s march into the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), computer professionals have called on the Federal Government to classify Internet access as a fundamental right. 
The professionals, under the aegis of Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), noted that gaps in Internet access in the country could pose a challenge to harness the benefits of 4IR, otherwise known as Industry 4.0. 
The need to improve Nigeria’s infrastructure, including Internet, power, and others, formed part of the communiqué issued at the 15th International Conference of NCS, held physically and virtually with the theme: “Emerging Applications & Technologies for Industry 4.0.” 

Signed by the President, and Chairman, Conferences Committee, NCS, Prof Adesina Sodiya, and Ayodeji Rex Abitogun, respectively, the communiqué said the government should strive to reform some existing regulatory frameworks that are no longer suitable for today’s digital economy. 

It pointed out that key government services such as education, commerce and healthcare need to be completely digitalised, as this will improve adoption of 4IR across sectors. 
With the reality that digital technology has changed the face of business across the globe due to convergence of Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, and Robotics among other evolutions, NCS urged the government to implement policies capable of enabling smart technologies for a quantum leap into Industry 4.0. 
For the country to meet some of these targets, NCS said it must work with relevant government agencies, including state and local governments to provide nationwide advocacy on implementation of emerging applications and current technologies for Nigeria to become one of top industrialized nations in the world. 

The conference recognised data as the heart of the revolution, and emphasised the effect of compromised data, which can affect factors of production and subsequently the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It therefore called on policymakers to render adequate support to relevant agencies towards implementing appropriate regulations in this regard. 
The conference recognised government’s effort in making the Right of Way (ROW) accessible and affordable to service providers for effective broadband penetration. It strongly condemned taxing technology providers on RoW, as it is a major impediment to the Digital Economy Strategy. 

The Computer professionals also asked the government to create a business environment that allows operators to roll out broadband to the last mile, and facilitate access to public sector sites that allows operators to deploy network equipment rather than investing in interstate fibre projects. 

According to them, industries should embrace smart technologies and leverage cyber physical systems to provide services in critical sectors of the economy such as energy supply, health care, traffic management and predictive maintenance in the manufacturing sector. 
Further, it was resolved that NCS must work with governments and other international organisations to combat insecurity through data exchange and information sharing. Technologies like Artificial Intelligence can be deployed to track money laundering (ML) activities and gather security intelligence. 
With the evolution of Industry 4.0 applications and emerging technologies disrupting industries at exponential rates, NCS was asked to coordinate all other stakeholders in setting necessary machinery in motion towards improving the nation’s infrastructure. 

The communiqué informed that NCS should support regulatory agencies in quick elimination of unsafe and unreliable digital gateways to create sound trust in the ecosystem, and enabling innovations and economic growth. 
The conference recognised the role of the financial institutions in achieving digital economy in the 4IR, while stakeholders urged financial service operators to develop policies and programmes to support the manufacturing sector in the full implementation of the revolution. 
The conference encouraged the implementation of blockchain technology in financial services for error resolution and enhanced security. 
The conference advocated for closed collaboration between the Industry and Academia, leveraging a network of NCS members across the country to help bridge the gap in digital skills and provide the trainer programmes for lecturers and professionals.


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