The Nigerian Communications Commission on Monday in Abuja rewarded winners of the Nationwide Essay Competition titled: “Broadband – A catalyst for national development.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the first prize winner of the essay competition, Odonoekuma Ekuma, a 500 level medical student of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, got N500,000 cash, a laptop and a printer.
Abdulkareem Ibraheem, a student of History and International Relations of the University of Ilorin, who came second, got N300,000 and a laptop.
The third prize winner, Asogwa Peter, also a medical student at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, got N200,000 and a laptop, while seven winners were given N50,000 each as consolation prizes.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, promised that the provision and deployment of broadband services would form a major strategic thrust of his vision for NCC and the telecom industry for Nigeria.
Danbatta said: “This is consistent with the national broadband plan, which envisages deployment of broadband infrastructure as very important responsibility that been assigned to NCC.
“As a result of this important assignment given to NCC, we have since licensed the infrastructure companies that will provide broadband infrastructure with fibre technology in the Lagos zone as well as the North central zone of the country.”
Danbatta congratulated the winners for emerging the best in the essay topic, which he described as apt.
He said: “And I am very happy to say that the President is a listening one who is very much committed to the broadband development plan, which we are trying to implement to the letter.
“I urge everyone in the commission and friends of the commission to assist towards ensuring that we achieve this important task, which is well thought of and to be implemented.”
Earlier, the Director of Public Affairs of the NCC, Tony Ojobo, said the commission placed adverts in major dailies to announce the commencement of the essay competition for interested participants.
Ojobo said the essay competition was organised in order to increase awareness on the subject matter.
He said the competition was also designed to engage and enhance research skills, encourage academic competition and excellence and build the capacity of students in higher institution across the country.
He said: “At the close of submission of entries on January 13, the commission received 639 entries for the competition from both public and private universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the country.
“This is an overwhelming increase from the 339 entries received for the first essay competition.
“However, only the first 500 entries were eligible for consideration and evaluation.
“After the assessment, a total of 444 participants scored 10.6 per cent, while 56 participants scored 70 per cent and above.
“A plagiarism check was carried out on all the participants who scored 70 per cent and above.
“In the end, three students emerged winners.”
Ekuma, the winner of the first price, said he was excited because he had contributed to the growth of deepen internet use in the country.