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Johnson, Juwah, to Lead Discussions at WAFICT Confab

By The Citizen

The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, and the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah, are billed to lead discussions at this year's West African ICT (WAFICT) conference and exhibition, which opens November 7 in Lagos.

Juwah is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the conference, which runs concurrently with an exhibition for two days. He will be discussing issues on legal and regulatory policies and how they impact telecoms growth in the sub-region.

According to the organisers, IT & Telecom Digest, the theme of the conference is 'Bringing Digital Dividends to West Africa: Tackling the Challenges Posed by Legal and Regulatory Frameworks.'

Confirmed speakers at the conference are, the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr. Emeka Mba; the Chairman of Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo; the President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Lanre Ajayi; Chairman of Open Media Group who is the immediate past EVC of the NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, among others.

Mba will lead discussion on Nigeria's planned switch from analogue to digital communications by 2015.  According to him, 'It is important for the public to realise that this is not about switch-over or switch on; but it is actually a switch off. So just imagine that from the deadline date of June 2015, when we are expected to switch to digital, that we are suddenly switched off from receiving television signals, which of course is much closer than people may think, especially given what needs to be done prior to that date.'

Mba further said the digital migration would also result in the availability of more frequency spectrums that currently occupied by television stations, and that the spectrums would be available to government for auctioning, to serve telecommunications purposes. The WAFICT conference, which is described as a grand platform for ICT activities in West Africa, is geared towards encouraging governments and operators to bring digital dividends to the sub-region.