The Federal government of Nigeria has approved contracts worth N24.20 billion to provide free internet broadband services in 75 public places, including 20 airports, tertiary institutions, and markets across the nation. Professor Isa Ali Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, disclosed this after the federal executive council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa. The Nigerian Communications Commission will be responsible for the implementation of the project, which is expected to last for a minimum of four months and a maximum of five months.
According to the Minister, the decision to provide free internet services in universities is due to the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the government wants to ensure that students and staff benefit from unlimited internet services. Similarly, free internet access will be provided in airports to alleviate the difficulties passengers face when landing without any connectivity. For markets, the aim is to support innovation-driven enterprises championed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, giving global visibility to micro, small, and medium enterprises.
The Ministry of Environment also received approval for the construction of a Centre of Excellence for environmental restoration in Kana council area of Rivers State and a 100-bed specialist hospital in Ogoni. These projects aim to facilitate efficient and cost-effective approaches to contamination management and environmental restoration while supporting the well-being and welfare of the people impacted by contamination in those areas.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Works and Housing received the biggest approval at the Council meeting as the Minister of State for the ministry, Umar El-Yakub, disclosed that for his two memoranda, FEC approved the sum of N95.98 billion. The Minister of Transportation, Muazu Jaji Sambo, also received approval for two memoranda, one for the renewal of a management contract for the management of ports facilities and the second for the procurement of two tugboats for operations at the Lekki Deep Seaport, with an aggregate sum of N26.77 billion.
The provision of free internet services in 75 public places, including 20 airports, universities, and markets, is a welcome development that will improve connectivity and drive innovation. The Nigerian government’s commitment to the welfare of its citizens is commendable, and the approval of projects that facilitate efficient and cost-effective approaches to contamination management and environmental restoration is a step in the right direction towards achieving sustainable development in Nigeria