Chairman, senate committee on communications, Gilbert Nnaji, has taken a swipe at the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson, over the non-take off of the National Rural Telephony Project despite governmentâ€™s huge investments in the project.
He was speaking at the budget defence by the ministry of communications technology and itâ€™s parastatals at the National Assembly last week.
According to the law maker, â€œthe fact that our nation has little access to broadband services, even with the number of undersea cables running across the country, is worrisome, we still lag behind in terms of broadband and internet penetration.
â€œUntil there is a seamless network service, there is no way the committee can shy away from raising alarm in the face of poor quality of service because the situation is perplexing.â€
Nnaji accused the ministry of reluctance and keeping unnecessary quiet on the National Rural Telephony Project, saying it would have relieved pressure on the GSM.
â€œ If we agree that ICT is a powerful tool for national development; if there is a consensus that Nigeria still ranks abysmally low in terms of knowledge creation, penetration of ICT, as well as physical infrastructure; if we believe that there is urgent need to deploy ICT to address the challenges of terrorism and national security and more importantly, create opportunities in every sector of our national life, then the onus is on the Ministry to enlighten the committee on how it intends to utilize this fund in a way that itâ€™s mandates, programmes and policies will be well executed,â€ he posited.
Responding, the Minister, Mrs Omobola Johnson said the Ministry is committed to its mandates, which include speeding up of the building of ICT infrastructure, enabling access of Nigerians to good quality telecom service and high speed internet as well as bridging the digital divide and stimulating job creation in the industry.