Two contracts worth N24.20 billion have been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the provision of broadband to provide free internet in 75 public places, including 20 airports, tertiary institutions and markets nationwide to support micro, small and medium enterprises.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Pantami, announced this Wednesday while briefing State House reporters after the federal cabinet meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said the projects approved after the presentation of two memos would be implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission, a parastatal under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
The Minister said the selected 20 domestic and international airports come with an average of three picked from each of the six geo-political zones.
According to him, “In the South West are two in Lagos and Ondo. For South East are Imo, Anambra, and Enugu. For South-South are Port Harcourt, and Akwa Ibom. For North Central are Abuja and Ilorin. For North West, we Kano, Sokoto and Kebbi and for North East, we have Yola, Maiduguri and Gombe.”
He said: “The duration for the project is four months minimum and a maximum of five months and there is a budgetary provision for that. Also, the fund to sponsor the implementation has been secured by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“For universities, it’s because we have learned bitter and better lessons during the COVID-19, so we don’t want to go back to that, we want to ensure that students and staff benefit from unlimited internet. For airports, we know the difficulty when you land without any connectivity. So it will even at least make our airports more lively if there is at least internet connectivity that is for free.
“Thirdly, for the market, it’s to support innovation-driven enterprises that are being championed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where we try to give global visibility to our innovators, to our micro, small and medium enterprises, so that their market is not going to be narrowed and restricted only to our local communities”, he explained.