…As NITDA trains ICT journalist on digital reportage

BY GLORIA USMAN, ABUJA – The Federal Government has successfully increased broadband Penetration from 31.5 to 40.18 percent within a period of one year, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has said.

Pantami, who announced this at a Training Workshop organized by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), said the government has achieved almost 10 percent increase.

He said that the digital Nigeria project cannot be achieved without capacity development, stressing that ICT journalists have a role to play.

The Minister said that similar training workshops will be conducted for people living with disabilities, farmers, artisans, civil servants among others, in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria launched and unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He therefore called on media practitioners to uphold professionalism and integrity in reporting, stressing that responsible journalism is key to democracy and good governance.

Pantami also underscored some of the achievement recorded under his leadership to include development of a National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025, protection of telecom infrastructures, addressing the challenges of Right of Way among others.

In his words; “With all sense of humility, as at the time I assumed office, Broadband Penetration was at 31.5%. As of today in less than a year in office, Broadband Penetration stands at 40.18%”.

The theme for the five-day training programme is “Digital Skills in News Reportage for ICT Journalists.”

The training was geared towards upgrading the skills and knowledge of members of the media as the new knowledge acquired during the programme would benefit the larger society.

Speaking in turn, the Director General of NITDA, Mr Kashifu Inuwa said that ICT remains a sure way of escaping the COVID-19 pandemic adding that the training is important towards achieving digital economy.

Inuwa also added that digital skills can open new opportunities as there are challenges everywhere but less opportunity, saying; “so when the skill you have created the opportunity, you grab it,”.

The President, FCT Chapter of Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), Blessing Olaifa in his goodwill message, described Dr Pantami as a goal-getter in President Buhari’s team.

Olaifa also commended the Minister for being the first cabinet member to address journalist and give an account of his stewardship early this year.

Chief Executive Officer, Advanced Management Academy, Mr Peter Oyeneye, who is one of the resource persons, said that reporting in the COVID-19 pandemic era is the new normal and advised journalists to acquaint themselves with the new changes.

Oyeneye said that journalists as change agents, should use their mediums to educate their audience using ICT facilities, adding that there are more than 100 human activities going on online which engender digital economy.

He noted that despite the benefits of digitalisation, the challenge of change remains potent as people prefer to stick to the known than the unknown and therefore called on media organisations to embrace change in the style of communication, sponsor roadmap, train journalists on the new normal, and be ready to build resistance management.

Oyeneye also advised journalists to lead the change, sell benefits of digital economy, research into challenges of digitalisation and base their stories on their research and do comparative analysis of Nigeria’s digital economy to others.

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