The second wave of COVID-19 is here and a few of my close friends have been hit, with two others losing their relatives to the cold hands of death.
This is no joke, dear readers. I urge everyone to obey all laid down protocols such as good personal hygiene and wearing of face masks at all times.
However, I remain shocked by the Government’s actions. How can you say you are fighting the spread of the virus and yet come up with a policy such as the SIM-NIN integration directive that is unarguably contributing to the spread?
Just as I was concluding this piece, I read the report that workers of the National Identity Management Commission have begun a strike action due to the spread of COVID-19 at their various offices and are now making key demands before they can return to work. So, what exactly was the Government thinking?
A few days after the last piece I wrote with some recommendations, I read a report of Government now approving a NIN mobile app, which I have personally not tested but then again shows how unprepared the Government was and yet using military-style to want to get 150 million or mobile users connected to NIN within two weeks.
Anyways, we all can now see how impossible this is. So, once again I call on the Government to extend this directive by at least 6 months or watch COVID-19 spread like wildfire primarily due to what happens daily at various NIMC centres across the country.
That said, as a continuation of the key issues of 2020 which was first published last week, I will be sharing the final excerpts extracted from our top contents for 2020. For this second part of the series, key issues ranging from the #EndSars movement to fake news and of course, the controversial NIN directive are highlighted below.
The unrealistic SIM-NIN integration directive
2020 also witnessed the unrealistic edict issued by the Nigerian government on SIM-NIN integration. In the column of Sunday, December 20, 2020, I wrote the following:
“Unfortunately, this directive might be another avenue for unscrupulous elements of the society to exploit the populace out of their lean resources considering the urgency with which registration has to be done. I know for a fact that people are now being charged as much as N10,000 to get express service at various NIN centres.”
In the face of the panic and frustrations of people owing to this decree, I called on the government to re-think this policy and shelf it for a period of at least one year.
I concluded by writing that “the extension will afford them the opportunity to carry out a massive sensitization campaign that will keep citizens informed as well as safe.”
Staying in control of technology
To all parents and guardians out there, it is more important than ever to help your children/wards use technology judiciously in order to avoid social issues that ultimately lead to depression, loneliness, and even suicide.
In my ICT Clinic column of Sunday, October 4, 2020, I wrote a piece titled “Staying in control of technology” where I revealed this fact:
“We are being trailed by artificial intelligence and other types of algorithms and they are learning our every move. If you research the phrase engineering addiction or learn more about Dr BJ Fogg who founded the Behaviour Design Lab at Stanford University, then you would get a bit of understanding of how tech giants build ‘addictive’ products.”
Hence, my advice then and now is this: “In whatever you do, just ensure that you stay in control of technology and know that keeping your human touch ought to be paramount.”
#EndSars Lekki Killings: A dark Tuesday to remember
It was a dark Tuesday indeed, October 20, 2020, the day that is indelibly marked in our collective memory.
I wrote this piece to record the lives, sweat, and blood of Nigerian youths that were inhumanely shed on the altar of corruption and police brutality.
It was a traumatic period with no one to own up to the grisly murder of citizens whose “crime” was their quest for justice in a free and fair society which sadly, Nigeria isn’t.
I asserted the following: “The EndSars movement has demonstrated and proven that the youths have all it takes to recover the very heart and soul of this country from greedy, self-serving and wicked politicians who care about no one but themselves, their immediate family and cronies.”
“At the heart of the impressive organisation of the movement has been technology. Social media and tech helped a great deal, bearing testament to the fact that the movement is an organised and well-structured one. It was so much so that it put fear into the very seat of power.”
“Leveraging technology, social media, and the power of software, a lot can be achieved over the next two years leading into the 2023 general elections. It is high time the youths gave these politicians a run for their money, albeit in a non-violent way.”, I strongly urged.
How to tackle fake news
Today, there is a menace that is increasingly on the rise. It’s the fake news phenomenon. In my ICT Clinic column of Sunday, December 13, 2020, my discussion revolved around “How to tackle fake news.”
I wrote: “I remember reading a 6-part report published by the BBC, which described multiple scenarios of how fake news, fueled through social media, led to the death and maiming of some people. This is indeed a challenge that we must confront collectively.”
After citing instances of how this technology has been used maliciously, I outlined tips on how to spot fake news.
“I request that social media and mobile platforms users particularly WhatsApp should stop forwarding ‘as received’ or sharing whatever comes your way.
Always ensure you verify before sharing because that is one sure way of ensuring that we collectively combat fake news.” I concluded.
To all our esteemed readers we remain committed in our efforts to contribute to the growth and general adoption of technology, the digital economy, startups.
We are equally dedicated to pushing for the enactment of policies that can effectively support innovation; boost the country’s economy, and positively impact Nigerians.
Welcome again to the year 2021. May we be determined to create and make the best of opportunities and whatever surprises lie ahead!
ICT Clinic by CFA is published weekly in the Sunday Punch