The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has instituted and endowed Professorial Chairs to the tune of N40 million in two more Nigerian universities. The two universities, the University of Ibadan, Oyo State and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi State, were endowed with N20 million each over the next two years to embark on massive research to promote innovation to drive socio-economic development in the country.
According to a statement signed by the Commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, the gesture was in line with the Commission’s ongoing initiative to ensure a sustainable telecommunications industry that is responsive to global technological changes as well as national consumer preferences.
Speaking during the award and signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the two varsities in Abuja, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta who was represented by the NCC’s Director of Legal and Regulatory Services, Josephine Amuwa, said the move was in continuation of NCC’s initiative aimed at strengthening the telecommunications industry to continuously contribute to national development.
“The Commission’s engagement with the academia, therefore, is to ensure that there is the application of knowledge generated in the tertiary institutions in the telecommunications industry. The endowment of Professorial Chairs in Universities is one of the initiatives to support the Academia in focus research areas in ICT and contribute to the advancements in emerging technologies,” he said.
The EVC further explained that the initiative is in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020 – 2030, which was unveiled by the Federal Government in 2019 with the mission of building a nation where digital innovation and entrepreneurship are used to create value and prosperity for all.
Specifically, Danbatta said NCC’s collaborations with the academia would impact Pillar 3, 4 and 6 of NDEPS bordering on Solid Infrastructure, Service Infrastructure and Digital Services Development and Promotion, respectively.
The EVC also stated that the scheme aligns with two additional pillars of the Commission’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP), 2020-2024 on Promotion of Development of Digital Economy and Strategic Partnering.
Danbatta, therefore, charged the beneficiary universities to ensure that regulatory and technological solutions with potential for improving the industry are developed through dedication of the required human and material resources to the programme.
Earlier in his welcome address, Director, Research and Development, NCC, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, said the new professorial chair endowment further demonstrates NCC’s conviction that the academia is a key driver to innovation in all spheres of human endeavour, with specific reference to ideas, inventions and prototype development for improving the level of productivity and efficiency in the industry.
The instituting and endowing of professorial chairs in the two premier universities brings to four, the number of tertiary institutions of learning that have benefitted from the NCC’s innovation-driving initiative, having endowed professorial chairs in Bayero University, Kano (BUK) and Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) in May, 2019.