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HEDA Questions Pantami for N24.2B Airports Internet Project

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Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), a civil society organization, has written to Prof. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.

They are requesting answers for the newly announced N24.2 billion internet connection project at the country’s airports.

The group asked Prof. Isa Pantami for clarity on the procurement procedure that resulted in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approving the allocation of N24.2 billion to the project in a letter addressed to him and signed by its chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju.

HEDA wants to know if the project in question was included in the approved 2023 budget as well as the precise budget line it falls under.

The group wants to know if the project sought details on the approved contractors who will be carrying out the contracts, such as their names and the terms of the deal.

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Release of Freedom of Information

In the letter, HEDA stated that on March 29, 2023, the minister made public the information regarding the funding allocation.

The Freedom of Information (FoI) Act of 2011’s Sections 2, 3, and 4 were invoked by HEDA to make a thorough information request regarding the procurement procedure that resulted in the FEC’s approval.

The civic society organization stated that it expects to get the information sought within seven days of receiving its letter.

The organization said it would be happy to offer more details if needed.

The Effort

According to Pantam, the minister of communications and digital economy, the government will invest N24.2 billion to install Internet access at 20 airports, several educational institutions, and marketplaces nationwide.

He claimed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had authorized the sum.

He never mentioned where the funding will come from or whether the project was already included in the 2023 Appropriations Act’s budget.

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), according to the Minister, will take the lead in setting up Internet access at the specified airports and institutions.

The NCC, a parastatal under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, has received approval from the Federal Executive Council for two memos.

The NCC will conduct specific intervention projects as outlined in these memoranda.

To promote micro, small, and medium-sized businesses, internet will be made available in 20 Nigerian airports of choice, as well as some markets and higher education institutions.

Higher educational institutions, several markets, and 20 chosen Nigerian airports will all have internet access to promote micro, small, and medium-sized industries.

He said that airport visitors will have free access to high-speed internet, and he added that a sustainability model had been devised for efficient facility upkeep.

He added that 43 institutions of higher learning would be connected to the Internet service.

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