By Constance Imasuen
Abuja – The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigerian Air Force have agreed to collaborate on capacity building of personnel to end insurgency in the country.
Prof Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja when the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar and senior officers of the Nigerian Air Force visited the commission.
Danbatta said that NCC was ready to collaborate with the Air Force on capacity building of its personnel, especially in the knowledge of Information Communication Technology, “which is key in securing our territory’’.
He said that the partnership that the Air Force sought for was in line with it is 8-point agenda strategic collaboration and partnership “and we are willing to do this’’.
“Fortunately, we have a training arm of NCC, the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) aimed at developing capacity for the telecommunication industry not only in this country but in the West Africa sub-region and even in the Africa.
“And the engagement with the DBI can take place as soon as possible when we agree on areas of training required to secure our borders and beyond,‘’ he said.
The NCC boss assured that in the areas where the Air Force would expand its operation, NCC would give priority to those areas to ensure there was access to telecommunication infrastructure.
He said that the commission and the Universal Service Provision Fund (USFP), the intervention unit of the NCC would look at the map and pick point areas where there are access gap.
Danbatta also commended the Air Force for their effort in securing the country.
“We have seen the massive mobilisation of human resources in security prone areas of the country and over time we have seen the spectacular result attained with military precision.
“We have also noticed what is happening in other insurgency prone areas in the country and I would attest to the very important work that the Nigerian Air Force is doing in securing this country, ‘’ he added.
Earlier, the Chief of Air Staff called on NCC to support the Air Force in building the capacity of its personnel, especially in the area of ICT.
Sadiq said that the Nigerian Air Force as a highly technical service, which required capacity building to function effectively.
He said that the force needed the right caliber of personnel to be trained to operate and make the service function effectively to ensure Nigeria was secured and its citizens were able to pursue their legitimate aspiration without any hindrance.
“On assumption of office, we realized that there was a huge gap in terms of capacity in certain areas particularly IT and we have taken steps to train quite a number of people.
“We have trained about 12 officers in the U.S. and trained eight officers in Indian but we decided to look inward as we believe that we have capacity within Nigeria.
“It is important for us to partner with those agencies of government that will think can help us in building capacity so that we can manage our information and communication properly,’’ he said.
Sadiq said that the Air Force was expanding its number of air ranges for air weapon delivery so that pilot could practice how to shoot with an aircraft.
He said that the force was about to have one range in Toro Local Government Area “and we are also looking at one in Lugu Forest somewhere between Katsina and Zamfara states.
“We have noticed there are gaps in communication in these area and there is no way we can have an air range in a location where it is difficult to communicate.
“And telecom services are not there, so we solicit the support of NCC or persuade service providers to take a look at these areas as it is a security issue.
“And there are also a lot people in the area that need telecom services,’’ he said.