Stakeholders Brainstorm On Emerging Trends In ICT, Telecoms At CITE Confab

Ways of harnessing emergent trends and innovations in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Telecommunications to solve human problems and achieve economic revitalisation formed the focus of an international conference tagged: ICEIT 2016.
 Organised by the Centre for Information and Telecommunication Engineering (CITE) in the University, the International Conference and Exhibition, which had: “The Role of ICT and Telecommunications in Global Economic Revitalisation” as its theme, held at the Ebitimi Banigo Auditorium from Wednesday, November 23 to Friday, November 25, 2016.  
Declaring the conference open, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale, observed that most telecoms equipment vendors and service providers had been reaping substantially from their investments following the deregulation of the sector. He regretted that “Nigerian Universities are yet to key into this huge profit-spinning sector with the right curriculum that would prepare our telecommunication graduates to compete favourably with their peers elsewhere. The key selling point is to upgrade the curriculum to fill the observed knowledge gaps to meet the challenges of effective telephony. This could be done through targeted short courses and certifications programmes that would sharpen the knowledge and skills of our students.
Represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) Professor Anthony Ibe, the Vice-Chancellor pointed out that: “We must expand our telecommunication capacities if we hope to develop our productive capacities and enjoy the good life that others are enjoying on a massive scale. One lesson that has emerged is that the world will not wait for Nigeria to put its ICT and Telecommunications house in order and no Good Samaritan will emerge from the blues to do it for us.”  
In his Keynote Address, the Executive Vice-Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor  Umar Danbatta, who was represented by the South-South Zonal Controller of NCC in Port Harcourt, Dr. Chidi Diegwu, noted that “Under the leadership of Professor Briggs at CITE, there has been a conscious effort to change the way  we do things. The programme is world class and it is capable of transforming the University. 
“There are skills gap in our society. It is the expectation of NCC that universities should work through research and innovation to develop technologies that will impact positively in our lives. We could harness our economic growth through research and development. Let us bear in mind that what is currently available is already obsolete. We need to embark upon research, innovate and develop products that serve our purposes and solve our own problems. Unlike physical property, intellectual property is not geographical,” he stated.   
Speaking as Special Guest of Honour, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, congratulated the management of CITE for contributing to the development of science and technology in the country. Onu, who spoke through Engineer Timothy Odedele of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Abuja, said:  “It is my hope that the deliberations from the  conference will chart a roadmap to sustainable development of  ICT and Telecommunication sector of the Nigerian economy.”
On his part, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Hakeem Fawehinmi, commended the Chief Executive Officer of NCC, Professor Danbatta, and Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Onu for sending representatives to the conference. He also congratulated the Director of CITE, Professor Monima Briggs for his insight in organising the conference. Professor Fawehinmi expressed hope that the outcome of the conference would contribute to the growth of the University and telecoms sector.
Earlier in his welcome address, Director, Professor Briggs, noted that the philosophy of CITE was to bridge the University-Industry gap through innovative curriculum, research and professional certifications in ICT and entrepreneurial studies. “Already, the Nigerian film industry is attracting global markets, and with the establishment of information technology, Nigeria will be transformed into a knowledge economy as government seeks to lessen the country’s over-reliance on the petroleum industry.”
The Director further explained that the only way Nigeria could harness the enormous potentials of optical fibre technology and independent bandwidth was to invest in the critical sector. He recommended that more submarine landing should be established, and the potentials of laying fibre over existing right of way as well as along pipelines, railway tracks and major expressways should be harnessed.
The event featured technical paper presentations by seasoned experts drawn from the academia, industry, partnership forum and exhibitions of ICT-based solutions, as well as plenary and interactive sessions. 


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