Pantami, other’s absence stalls NASS public hearing on NITDA

The absence of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami among other factors, stalled a public hearing on a Bill to repeal the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

The Director-General of the NITDA, Kashifu Abdullah, was also absent from the hearing.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Umar Danbatta, and other stakeholders also failed to appear at the public hearing.

The hearing was convened by the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on ICT and Cyber Security and held on Friday in Abuja.

The Chairman of the joint committee, Yakubu Oseni, said the bill sought to provide for the administration, implementation and regulation of information technology systems and practices as well as the digital economy in Nigeria and for related matters.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that only Mr Oseni and Ibrahim Hadejia (APC-Jigawa) were present while four House of Representatives members: Isiaka Ibrahim, Samsudeen Bello, Zaiyad Ibrahim, and Idem Unyime were in attendance.

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The invited stakeholders were Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the federal and state governments, Civil Society Organisations, and the entire business community among others

Stakeholders and members of the general public who were invited by the joint committee attended the event except for the heads of critical MDAs in the communication sector.

The stakeholders had described the bill as important to the Nigerian economy but also controversial on the basis that it arrogated the powers of existing government agencies to NITDA as an agency.

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They argued that the bill sought to make NITDA a mega regulator of regulators in the country, going by the provisions in the bill.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who was represented by the Deputy Whip of the senate, Sabi Abdullahi, inaugurated the opening of the event.


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