From Mfon Ekefre, Uyo
The Akwa Ibom State government has tasked Global System Mobile (GSM) operators in the state to expand their coverage to rural communities in view of their importance to the progress and development of the state.
Commissioner for Education, Mr. Aniekan Umanah, made the appeal during a retreat organised by the MTN for its staffers
Umanah said expansion of the rural communication network coverage was a vital means of connecting the rural people with other sectors in the economy.
“We cannot neglect the development of the rural communities and expect to have meaningful development because a large percentage of the population resides in those areas,” he said.
Umanah said development can only be effective if the rural dwellers have access to timely and relevant information that can enhance their lives.
The commissioner, who was represented by the permanent secretary in the ministry , Mr. Oliver Udokpo said people in the rural areas need information on how to prevent diseases that affect people as well as awareness on available treatments and cost of treatment for ailments.
According to him, farmers and other rural dwellers will be better informed about improved seedlings, soil treatment and storage techniques in addition to having information on empowerment, housing and effective political participation.
The information boss said although MTN services have improved in the state, the need to upgrade their equipment for high signal transmission, especially in the rural communities was very necessary.
Responding, the Senior Manager, Government Relations, MTN, Mr. Austine Iyashere expressed his appreciation to the state government for providing an enabling environment for business to thrive and assured the government of future business relationship and partnership for the development t of the rural communities.
Iyashere however pledged to be more involved in rendering services to subscribers in the state and solicited government support to integrate communities design into its urbanisation and infrastructural planning.
He noted that MTN Nigeria Telecommunications Limited is the most indigenized company contributing over four per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) , assuring that the state cannot be excluded from their important packages and welfare scheme.
From Mfon Ekefre, Uyo