Lagos Governor commends Airtel’s role in State’s Development

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Lagos, February 28, 2011 – Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola has commended the pivotal role played by leading mobile services provider, Airtel Nigeria, in the growth and development of the nation and the state in particular.

Speaking in his office during the courtesy visit of Airtel Nigeria officials led by the Chief Operating Officer, Deepak Srivastava, the Governor acknowledged the huge investment made by the telecom giant in Nigeria and indeed in the state while also praising the company for its decision to heed the call for corporate organisations to embrace the government's Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme.

Listing some of the highpoints of Airtel Nigeria's contributions, he identified the deployment of infrastructure throughout the state, provision of affordable and innovative products and services to the residents, introduction of the Airtel's Adopt-a-school initiative and assistance in crime fighting and medical and other emergencies management through the supply of toll free lines as well as the creation of jobs.

On the decision of Airtel to pursue massive rollout in the state following its acquisition of Zain across Africa and subsequent launch of the brand in Nigeria, Fashola observed that the move is a further proof of the increasing preference for Lagos by many organisations as an appealing, safe and secured investment haven.

He noted that the present government has walked the talk by creating a flourishing business friendly environment which is capable of assisting every citizen and foreign investors to realise their business objective irrespective of their choice of area of investment.

Commenting on the Airtel's education Corporate Social Responsibility  programme  which was launched recently with the adoption of Oremeji Primary School2 in Ajegunle, in Ajeromi/Ifelodun Local Government Area of the state, the Governor expressed hope that the initiative will greatly enhance the government's capacity to increase access to quality education to every child especially those from financially challenging background.

He explained that when the adopt-a-school model was introduced a few years ago in the state, the initial expectation was that the programme would be more attractive to religious organisations who already had structures on ground at the time but noted that the scorecard however, indicate that private organisations are increasingly showing interest in the initiative.

While assuring the Airtel team of the government's support and cooperation even as it seeks to provide Nigerians a greater freedom to express themselves through mobile services, he applauded the wisdom of the state in investing in the company in 2001 alongside other forerunners.

“The government of Lagos state gave life and expression to a mere “paper” (licence) and contributed enormously alongside other equally eager shareholders to propel the company to great height before cashing out before Airtel's acquisition of the mobile operator. I am happy that Airtel was attracted to the company because of the value created through this investment”, he said.

Also speaking at the occasion, the Chief Operating Officer of Airtel Nigeria thanked the Governor for the audience, promising to continue to empower Nigerians to conduct their business effectively, maintain social cohesion by keeping in touch with friends and family as well as pursue their academic pursuit through the provision of wallet friendly, pertinent, and modern communications services.

He assured the governor of the commitment of Airtel to the market, adding that company was here for the long haul and would make a difference in the daily lives of Nigerians.

Srivastava was accompanied on the visit by the mobile network's Director of Regulatory and Government Affairs, Osondu Nwokoro, Head of Corporate Communications, Emeka Oparah and Public Relations Manager, Emmanuel Otokhine.