By Jessica Dogo
Former Minister of Aviation, Mr Osita Chidoka, has commended the Galaxy Backbone Limited (GBB) and Interra Networks, on STORM.ng, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) project in the country.
Speaking at the project launch in Enugu on Tuesday Chidoka, described STORM as a well-thought out project that would rave-up digital skills and innovation in the South East and South South Regions.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that STORM.ng ISP project under the Nigeria National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Infrastructure Backbone (NICTIB) Phase I, would cover Enugu, Ebonyi, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Awka, Onitsha and Asaba under its National Fibre Roll Out programme.
According to the Former Minister, the STORM project is in the right direction and State Governments need to take it up.
“They need to borrow a leaf from it; they need to push the narrative; they need to come out from the infrastructure of the yesteryears and from discussing events of yesterday.
“Nigeria’s future is not in its oil, oil is over. Nigeria’s future is in its human capital and the only way that we can transform human capital is the use of ICT.
“I must say that technology has been a major enabler of improving government’s business and private sector business.
“Today we are still confronted with the growth of technology in our country.
“When GBB was brought to the national level, it was made possible by the Jigawa State Government’s initiative.
“They (Jigawa people) brought the original idea of a government agency to provide technology support to the government and the Federal government adopted it.
“This shows you that Jigawa State Government was thinking ahead of its times so there is no reason the South East states, particularly a place where we have a lot of young people involved in technology industry;
“There is actually no reason Imo, Enugu and other states cannot come together with a regional infrastructure and partner Galaxy Backbone and other private companies to provide high speed Internet infrastructure in the East.
He reminded leaders in the regions that tomorrow’s infrastructure was ICT and high speed internet (cables).
He added that they needed to bring in work for younger people in Nigeria working for international companies, global organisation; sitting down in their rooms and attending universities across the world.
“The pandemic has made it possible that people have accepted using the IT infrastructure for daily business.
“We should stop focusing on the infrastructure of the past. We should move to the infrastructure of the future.
“We should move to any infrastructure that will make it possible for Enugu to be the place where you are looking for young graduates that will work for you globally to design projects, develop applications, to review or store your medical records, to do call centres jobs.
“The South-East can get all the work here.
“Nobody is landlocked in today’s world. Rwanda has no seaport but it is the centre of all economic activities and all global companies in Africa.
“We need to move to tomorrow and how we will move to tomorrow is through building the infrastructure of tomorrow, the infrastructure for law enforcement; for justice delivery in the South-East to come together and be the fastest judiciary in Nigeria.
“There is no reason the South-East with educated elites cannot have a core system that can deliver an automated document delivery system.
“There is no reason our universities in the South-East cannot be connected to global universities as campuses.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Science and Technology, Enugu State, Mr Carl Obi, said that the State Government was excited that GBB and Interra Networks chose Enugu as the first port of call for the launch of the fibre optic broadband service.
Obi said that this initiative was not just to improve quality of internet services for the regions but also help raise the standard of living and create more opportunities for the residents.
He said although Nigeria ranked at the top in Africa in the consumption of internet, however, there were challenges with most of the service providers who currently played in the market.
The Commissioner expressed the state’s readiness to partner the promoters of STORM.ng “because we know that if it succeeds, we all succeeSTORM.ng, so as to further strengthen the economic values of the state.
“We sincerely hope that with STORM, people can have an effective and reliable provider that can meet the demands of the people and also provide excellent customer and technical support.
“Now, with digital communications becoming an inelastic community, it’s almost as though there is absolutely nothing we can do without the internet.
“So, if it has become a de facto commodity in transacting businesses, communicating amongst one another, then we must get it right.
“That is why I am fully in support of the investment and great work put into this by the organisers,” he said.
Nodding in agreement, the Imo State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Prof. Boniface Nworgu, said that the State understood the potency of Information Technology in driving government business.
“Indeed, for Gov. Hope Uzodima, IT is a cardinal focus of his administration.
“During his inaugural speech he made it very clear that one thing he will pay serious attention to is digitalisation of the state.
“Under one year he has done excellently well that the salary structure of the State is now digitalised, the work force structure was also digitalised; we have 27 Ministries in the state and we are trying to digitalise their operations.
“We have every need for services of GBB and we would like to partner GBB in terms of providing Internet services and connectivity to all the MDAs of the state as well as the LGAs ICT centres.”
He said that education was a serious business hence with the number of tertiary institutions and government agencies in its domain.
“Imo State plans to ensure Internet services are extended to these institutions.”
The Director of ICT, Delta State Ministry of Science and Technology, Rocky Ighoyota, said he was quite impressed with the level of ICT services Nigeria had attained.
“What GBB is doing now is a stepping stone to smart cities because this one will give birth to smart cities and for us to run on smart cities obviously you need a high Internet connectivity.
“If Galaxy Backbone is offering new services then I believe we are standing on a very good ground,” he added.
STORM is an Internet Service Provider (ISP) powered by GBB to provide quality and reliable internet and other related services across all locations in the South East and South South regions of Nigeria. (NAN)