The Minister of Information and Communications Alhaji Alpha Kanu and his deputy, Theo Nicol, whilst on an inspection tour to the ECOWAN project sites on Friday 23rd January, 2014, witnessed the blowing of the first phase of the fibre optic cable at Masiaka connecting it to the National Operation Centre at Jui.
The Minister and the inspection team that comprised staff of his Ministry, ECOWAN and other stakeholders expressed their satisfaction with the speed at which the work is going and noted their impression with the quality of work they saw on the sites.
Emphasizing the importance of the project, the Minister noted that the fibre will enhance communication and further facilitate the effective use of the internet thus making it very easy for researchers to carry out their research projects.
He said the fibre will be taken to almost all colleges and universities across the country in order to enhance research work for students and to also keep them in tune with the modern trend of e-learning, e-governance, e-commerce, e-procurement and the like, where they can pursue academic courses of all discipline both locally and internationally via the internet.
He assured his audience of Government’s unflinching determination to improve on the communication sector and also ensures that the use of the internet is not only accessible but also used at a reduce cost so that the benefit on the internet will be fully utilized.
ECOWAN Project Coordinator, Sahr Momodu Sewah, who directly oversees the work of laying the fibre, intimated that the laying of the fibre from the National Operation Centre at Jui to Gendema on the Liberia border and to Gbalamuya on the Guinea border will be completed within few months.
He said the project will bring immense benefit to internet users since the speed and easy transfer of data will increase and the e-governance project will also be effective.
Encouraging encroachers to leave the right of way, Mr. Sewah informed those that have erected structures on the SLRA right of way about the immense benefit the project will bring to the country and encouraged them to move there structures in order to give way for the laying of the cable. He noted that compensations for structures that will be moved from the right of way will be granted in order to appease the owners for their cooperation.
However, Mr Sewah pointed out some of the challenges they face in the course of the work is with the massive encroachment on the right of way where the cable will be laid noting that some encroachers even after receiving compensation were reluctant to give up their encroachment.
The ECOWAN Project is funded by the Islamic Development Bank and is borne out of the Abuja and Accra agreement between West African Heads of States whose focus is to improve communication within the sub region. The Project is geared towards interconnecting West African countries through fiber connectivity so that internet speed will be increased and the use of communication will be affordable.