The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday commenced the bridging of existing digital divide expected to transform the country from social exclusion to an all-inclusive one that would guarantee communication services for all.
Owing to this, the NCC convened an awareness and engagement programme for persons with disabilities in Lafia, Nasarawa State. The programme afforded the commission opportunity to evolve policies and regulatory guidelines that would address concerns of the physically challenged regarding ICT accessibility.
In a welcome address at the awareness and engagement programme, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the commission had undertaken several initiatives geared towards assisting the people with disabilities in communications services provision.
Danbatta, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Zonal Operations of the NCC, Mr. Isa Olatiwo said: “An industry consultative meeting on service provision with respect to the disability group which was held in July, 2008 in order to sensitise both operating companies and equipment manufacturers on the need to jointly address challenges faced by people with disabilities.
“To join the information-rich countries of the world, the government of Nigeria pursued a continuous programme and aggressive market liberslisation policy that has made Nigeria one of the most liberalised telecom markets in the world.”
The NCC executive vice chairman maintained that the full spectrum of ICT required everyone to have equal opportunities for participation in everyday socio-economic life in the digital economy which included ICT products such as mobile phones, computers, and ICT devices.
Danbatta concluded that the need for everyone to have access to ICT services was the basis for the inclusion of a forum for people living with disabilities.