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FEC Approves Science, Technology And Innovation Policy

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Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu,
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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the revised Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy instituted 10 years ago.

Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, disclosed this on Wednesday while briefing State House reporters on the outcome of the virtual FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, the approval shows the Federal Government’s commitment to improving the standard of living of Nigerians.

“We believe that this will help our country to keep narrowing the gap between us and the technologically advanced countries of the world.

We should be able also to overtake the way nations like China have done,” the minister said.

“There’ve been tremendous advances in science, technology, and innovation all over the world and this necessitated the need for our science, technology and innovation policy which was put in place in 2012, 10 years ago, to be revised so that we can keep pace with new and emerging technologies.

“The main objective is for us to use science, technology, and innovation, to improve the standard of living of our citizens and ensure that we have a high quality of life for all Nigerians.

And this we can get if our nation becomes more prosperous, and our economy is more globally competitive.

“Again, we’ll like to see Nigeria using this policy, to be one of the top scientific powers in the world.

We believe that this will help our country to keep narrowing the gap between us and the technologically developed countries of the world.”

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GOOGLE EQUIANO SEA CABLE SYSTEM LANDS IN LAGOS

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GOOGLE EQUIANO SEA CABLE SYSTEM LANDS IN LAGOS
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•It will generate 1.6m jobs, $10b GDP for Nigeria, says Sanwo-Olu

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Thursday witnessed the virtual landing of the Google Equiano Sea Cable System in Nigeria, saying the country will enjoy a boost of 1.6 million jobs and $10 billion in additional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next three years, on account of the new cable system.

He said with the landing of the sea cable system and other investments in high-speed internet, Lagos is about to witness an unprecedented digital revolution that will cement its global reputation as a hub for entrepreneurial innovation.

Speaking at the reception marking the landing of the Equiano Sea Cable System in Nigeria on Thursday at the Open Access Data Centre at Lekki in Lagos, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the new cable system is the latest element in the transformation of the physical infrastructure landscape, new roads, bridges, jetties, factories, municipal and national rail lines, among others being delivered by his administration and a host of partners and stakeholders across public and private sectors.

The landing of Equiano Sea Cable System will firmly position Nigeria as the regional connectivity and content hub for West Africa, attracting cloud operators, content providers, content distribution networks and their associated ecosystems.

It is significant and a demonstration of the seriousness with which Google LLC views Nigeria, the economic and demographic giant of Africa.

The new cable system is named after a Nigerian hero, Olaudah Equiano, who survived enslavement in the 18th century and went on to become a famous writer and anti-slavery activist.

Governor Sanwo-Olu said his administration is more than ever determined to deliver on its promise to make and maintain Lagos as a safe, livable, innovative and prosperous megacity.

He said: “I am told that this new Equiano cable system, landing today, will deliver twenty times as much network capacity as any of the existing systems serving Nigeria.

“This means much faster internet speed, reduced cost, and greater access for our people. The net effect of this is much-needed jobs and economic growth. The economic impact assessment for the project estimates that Nigeria will enjoy a boost of 1.6 million jobs and 10 billion dollars in additional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next three years, on account of the new cable system.

“There is much to be excited about, at a time like this in the unfolding history of Lagos State and of Nigeria. We are seeing an unprecedented inflow of investments into every part of Lagos, from local and foreign investors who understand the immense business and commercial potential that the State symbolises.

“We say it often, that wherever Lagos goes, Nigeria and West Africa follow. With this in mind, as the government of Lagos State, we are more than ever determined to deliver on our promise to make and maintain Lagos as a safe, livable, innovative and prosperous megacity.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu also commended Google LLC, the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) and other investors for identifying with his administration’s vision for a truly 21st century Lagos and a megacity all will forever be proud of.

“I congratulate Google LLC for envisioning this huge project, and the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) for helping implement it to the highest levels of excellence. Your partnership is commendable, and should be seen as a model by other players in the ecosystem, a testament to how much can be achieved when synergy is pursued.

“In addition to this cable system, I am told that WIOCC is presently completing, on this same site, a Tier III certified, Open Access Data Centre, which will also host the landing station for the Equiano cable. This data centre will be the most client-centric data centre, and the largest data center campus, in West Africa,” he said.

Speaking earlier, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WIOCC, Chris Wood, described the landing of the submarine cables as a major investment for Nigeria’s digital economy and Lagos State in particular.

He said the submarine cables will deliver high-speed internet connectivity at a reduced cost

Wood also appreciated Governor Sanwo-Olu for providing an enabling environment for the investment of this nature to birth in Lagos State.

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NCC alerts telecom consumers on Flubot malware

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NCC alerts telecom consumers on Flubot malware
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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has alerted Nigerian telecom consumers of the existence of new, high-risk and extremely-damaging malware called Flubot.

A malware is a generic word used to describe a virus or software designed specially to “disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system.”

According to the information received on Thursday, October 21, 2021, from the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), Flubot “targets Androids with fake security updates and App installations.”

The ngCERT affirmed that Flubot “impersonates Android mobile banking applications to draw fake web view on targeted applications” and its goal transcends stealing personal data and essentially targets stealing of credit card details or online banking credentials.

FluBot is circulated through Short Message Service (SMS) and can snoop “on incoming notifications, initiate calls, read or write SMSes, and transmit the victim’s contact list to its control centre.”

The malware attacks Android devices by pretending to be “FedEx, DHL, Correos, and Chrome applications” and compels unsuspecting users to alter the accessibility configurations on their devices in order to maintain continuous presence on devices.

The new malware undermines the security of devices by copying fake login screens of prominent banks, and the moment the users enter their login details on the fake pages, their data is harvested and transmitted to the malware operators’ control point from where the data is exploited by intercepting banking-related One Time Passwords (OTPs) and replacing the default SMS app on the targeted Android device.

Consequently, it secures admittance into the device through SMS and proceeds to transmit similar messages to other contacts that may be on the device it has attacked enticing them into downloading the fake app.

“It suffices to say that when Flubot infects a device, it can result in incalculable financial losses. Additionally, the malware creates a backdoor which grants access to the user’s device, thus enabling the invader or attacker to perform other criminal actions, including launching other variants of malware,” said a statement by Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC’s Director, Public Affairs.

In order to protect millions of telecom consumers and prevent criminal forces, irrespective of location, from using telecom platforms to perpetrate fraud and irredeemable damages, the NCC reiterated the advisory of ngCERT as follows:

1. Do not click on the link if you receive a suspicious text message, and do not install any app or security update the page asks you to install.

2. Use updated antivirus software that detects and prevents malware infections.

3. Apply critical patches to the system and application.

4. Use strong passwords and enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) over logins.

5. Back-up your data regularly.

6. If you have been affected by this campaign, you should reset your device to factory mode as soon as possible. This will delete any data on your phone, including personal data.

7. Do not restore from backups created after installing the app. You may contact ngCERT on incident@cert.gov.ng for technical assistance.

8. You will also need to change the passwords to all of your online accounts, with urgency, around your online bank accounts.

9. If you have concerns that your accounts may have been accessed by unauthorised people, contact your bank immediately.

“As the Commission intensifies efforts in ensuring increased broadband access, enabling telecoms consumers to carry out their legitimate activities more efficiently and effectively online, it also restates its commitment to empowering consumers through useful information and education to protect them from falling victims of all kinds of cyber-attack while online.

“This explains the rationale for the launch of telecom sector’s Centre for Computer Security Incident Response by NCC on 30th September, 2021,” he added.

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Foundation launches app to assist Nigerians in emergency situations

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App to assist Nigerians in emergency situations
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The CANs Foundation, also known as the centre for Civic citizens’ Welfare and Community Development Africa (CWCDA), has launched an app to assist Nigerians in emergency situations in the country.

Co-Founder and Executive Director, Olajide Abiose, said at the launch of the app in Abuja, that the app, known as ‘Backup’, was developed with the support of the Open Society of West Africa (OSIWA).

According to Abiose, the Backup app, a new law enforcement anti-brutality digital intervention platform, would create an effective system for intervention and data collection in cases of brutality against citizens by law enforcement agencies.

He added that it would likewise improve the number of case management and prevention issues in law enforcement brutality, while supporting law enforcement agencies to identify officers tarnishing their image.

“CANs foundation a nonprofit organisation set up to use emerging technologies to solve social and development problems in Africa.

“Backup was created as our intervention to the unending crisis of law enforcement brutality in Nigeria

“We launched the app to give young Nigerians hope towards getting justice and support when they face any emergency situation.

“The app works by helping you to trigger an emergency and share your live location and information, particularly video and audio sound in real time, to both your emergency contacts, family, friends and other stakeholders who can provide intervention for you.’’

Abiose said that although the app was designed to focus on anti-brutality, it could be used for other creative purposes .

“People can apply it to different scenarios, so I will not be surprised if people apply it for robbery, kidnapping because what it does is to allow people know what you are experiencing at a point in time.

“It then gives them your location, in order for them to come and provide intervention,’’ he said.

He said that Backup could also help law enforcement agencies do their job better, adding that the foundation’s goal was to work with them to help identify the flash points where these incidents occurred.

Abiose added that it would also provide them real time data on what is happening in different parts of the country with respect to how the citizens were faring in the hands of their officers.

Already, the foundation had begun taking steps to work with the police complaints units and other agencies with set up designed for this kind of purpose, he said.

Mr Anthony Eromosele, CANs Programme Lead, said that the Backup app was launched as a result of complaints from youths and as a technology-driven NGO, it deemed it fit to provide an innovative solution to address the complaints.

“Youths were complaining about various human right violations, they go out but they don’t go back home yet you don’t even know their whereabouts.

“So, we felt the need to develop this app, where youths can actually report these violations they so often complain about and by whoever is perpetuating it .’’

Eromosele said that with the Backup app, people could keep track of the whereabouts of their loved ones who used the app to report the emergency situation they were in or which police station they were taken to, if arrested.

He said that the app was available on different app stores like Google play store, IOS, among others, and that for low income earners that could not afford smart phones, a USSD code would be provided to prompt automatic record and report of violent situations.

Ms Latifah Adesanyan, Product Associate, CANs Foundation, said that using the app was simple because “we feel the app developed should be a straight forward process .’’

Adesanyan said that this was because the foundation understood that when people were in emergency cases, they needed to be able to report as soon as possible.

“So in order to report a case on Backup, all you need to do is tap the red button which says report for self, so once you do that, automatically the system records happenings of the event with your camera.

“During the sign up process, you need to add an emergency contact, that’s those people who could be notified.’’

She therefore advised Nigerians to be their brother’s keeper to either report cases for themselves or report for others “this is something we thought of so that Nigerians can assist each other,’’ she said. (NAN)

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