Zeenat O. Sambo
Zeenat O. Sambo

Pantami: Unveiling Tech Infrastructure for National Development, By Zeenat Sambo

TECH DIGEST- The ever-evolving technology revolution has continued to cause disruptions resulting in progressive change across the globe. These changes charge the techies to constantly acquire newer knowledge and keep abreast of the latest innovative developments and trends to expand digital literacy and digital innovation for the promotion of digital inclusivity. As such, to ensure knowledge-sharing for development, great minds never stop learning, no matter the responsibility they are saddled with.

Certainly, there is no end to knowledge acquisition as the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mallam Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami demonstrated his commitment to academia by confirming that he still teaches and supervises various postgraduate students, despite his huge responsibilities as a serving minister.

Pantami made the revelation in an appreciation to the management of the Maryam Abacha American University of Nigeria (MAAUN), Kano, while commissioning the School of Computing named after him there. The minister used the ceremony to reemphasise the important advantage of the continuous acquisition of knowledge in the technology ecosystem. This is another landmark contribution by institutions to the advancement of knowledge and skills in cybersecurity, information technology, software engineering, and computer science in Nigeria.

Also Read: ICT as a Colossal Symbol of Nigeria’s Digital Economy

The founder of MAAUN, Adamu Abubakar Gwarzo, informed that the School of Computing was named after the minister as a result of his lofty achievements in building Nigeria’s digital economy and encouraging technological advancements across all sectors of the economy.

In continuation of Kano’s emerging status as the innovation hub of Nigeria’s North-west geo-political zone, the minister also commissioned another giant structure in the ancient city of pyramids, in the shape of the world-class Digital Services Infrastructure and Tier 4 Kano Data Centre launched by Galaxy Backbone (GBB) Limited as a response to the demand by stakeholders and tech companies for more digital data centres in Nigeria.

Inspecting the GBB Digital Services Infrastructure, the minister commended the agency for the step taken to design the centre in order to improve the total customer experience of its demanding clients that cut the public and private sectors. He declared that the new digital infrastructure will serve as a backup to the Uptime Institute Certified Tier III Data Centre in Abuja.

The new data centre infrastructure will provide secure and available data centre services across the nation and enhance online information required for seamless research and programming purposes. This is because the data centres, also known as supercomputers, have the capacity of storing enormous volumes of information.

Data centres are supercomputers that store all online information, and the data of millions of people all around the world. The new data centre in Kano is further validation that the world is becoming more and more interconnected every day.

Galaxy Backbone Limited was established to enable and deliver technology services to public sector agencies and institutions, as well as the private sector, by managing information technology and shared services for the Federal Government of Nigeria.

While supporting organisations and businesses in the public and private sectors in hosting and securing their data for business continuity purposes, it has also engaged in numerous projects to deepen the national digital infrastructure experience in the country.

The Kano Data Centre is not the first in Nigeria, as the agency had executed Nective 1, which is the backbone of the National Information and Communication Network in the southern states. As such, the commissioning of Nective 2, which covers the northern parts of the country, is another tech milestone achievement of GBB Limited.

GBB’s North-West Regional Office and Network Operating Centre have provided numerous benefits to Nigerians, especially for the northern region to broaden its tech innovation ecosystem. The Data Centre Storage Capacity is being implemented in phases, with the first phase being 0.7 Petabyte, with the ability to expand as the need/demand increases.

The new data centre infrastructure will provide secure and available data centre services across the nation and enhance online information required for seamless research and programming purposes. This is because the data centres, also known as supercomputers, have the capacity of storing enormous volumes of information.

As GBB Limited commits to continuously invest in enhancing digital infrastructure and human capacity to meet the rising and sophisticated demands across government institutions, it has established a fibre connectivity network across the nation to enable seamless communication among ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) of government.

The closer a data centre is to a business, the faster the business’ overall internet speed will be. This means SMEs have greater business advancement in this region. Whether it is in sending emails, shopping online, playing video games, or just casually browsing the social media, every single byte of what is saved online is stored in a data centre. This will also help national security agencies/institutions by storing information in a secured space, rather than with traditional hardware devices.

As GBB Limited commits to continuously invest in enhancing digital infrastructure, tech and human capacity to meet the rising and sophisticated demands across government institutions, it has established a fibre connectivity network across the nation to enable seamless communication among ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) of government. It has redefined virtual collaboration within and across the MDAs by facilitating e-Government through the Unified Communication Service.

The GBB has completed the second phase of the e-Government Masterplan, titled “Building Foundations for Digital Governance in Nigeria (2022–2026), and is engaging the private sector to enhance social impact and outreach to Nigerian businesses and individuals. While predicting its progress, Muhammad Bello Abubakar, managing director/CEO of GBB Limited, noted that the agency has a Fibre Optics Backbone Network spanning over 2,500 kilometres and an Abuja Metro Fibre Network spanning over 1,500 kilometres, which are expanding rapidly.

To deepen the reach of mobile connectivity, GBB Limited is currently operating 18 active base stations in Abuja, Bwari, Zuba, Lafiya, Enugu, Owerri, Kano and Kaduna, with 30 more being installed across the country. The agency has continued to provide infrastructure for virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings since May 2020 and deployed over 18,000 IP phones for seamless toll-free collaboration across MDAs.

In the final analysis, I can only urge GBB Limited to sustain all efforts for stronger synergy and useful engagements with institutions of government and private sector stakeholders to ensure the effective utilisation of the data centres and other tech innovation infrastructure to foster the development and growth of Nigeria’s digital economy.

Zeenat Sambo writes from Abuja.

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