Starlink Coming To Nigeria Means A Kid From Ojoto Will Have Same Internet Access As A Kid In Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt – Dr Mbamalu

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Media expert and Chief Executive Officer of Newstide Publications Limited, publishers of Prime Business Africa, Dr Marcel O. Mbamalu, has explained that the arrival of Elon Musk’s Starlink in Nigeria would offer a child in Ojoto in far-away Anambra State similar opportunity for faster connection to Internet as their counterparts in Gwagwalada, Abuja or Victoria Garden City in Lagos.

Dr Mbamalu made this known during Prime Business Africa’s quarterly Content Creation Workshop (CCW) for staff of the multimedia organisation on Wednesday, June 8, 2022.

Addressing journalists and contributors, including trainees and interns under the Prime Business Africa’s Journalism Mentorship Programme (JMP), the publisher said that Starlink’s expansion to Nigeria could in its simplest form help the country bridge its rural-urban dichotomy in development and stem rural-urban migration that has continued to put pressure on city centres like Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt.

“Until the recent escalation of insecurity in Nigeria’s Northwest region, the commercial city of Kano was also a prime destination for rural-urban migration,” Dr Mbamalu said.

“Internet access is the game changer and you can never get enough of it; the world becoming one virtual space, courtesy of COVID-19, has even made it more imperative to further liberalise Internet access and make it more affordable,” Dr Mbamalu told the group of media workers while speaking on the need for the media to leverage technology to effect positive change and development in society.

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“Recounting his growing-up experiences at Ojoto the headquarters of Idemili South Local Government of Anambra State, in the 1970s and 1980s as a child and adolescent who was eager to create change even without the kind of leverage offered by today’s hi-tech,  Dr Mbamalu, a former Editor at The Guardian, said that it is the duty of the media to hold governments to account on matters of development and provision of essential services.

”With the coming of Starlink, the child in that same Ojoto today, for instance, has the same opportunity with his or her peers in Gwagwalada-Abuja and Victoria Garden City in Lagos. That gap is bridged by internet access and it can only get better as Starlink adds to the competition to encourage existing providers like MTN, Airtel, 9mobile and Globacom, improve service quality and delivery.

“I agree that at $99, the entry price for Elon Musk’s Starlink is on the high side but competition always finds a way of settling issues of prices and quality of service delivery; it’s a matter of time. The expectation is that Starlink’s arrival will aid speedy expansion of internet services to rural areas and create more jobs in those areas to stem rural-urban migration,” the publisher reasoned.

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“Imagine the kind of human and vehicular traffic in Lagos and Port Harcourt. Abuja has also become an uncomfortable place to live in; whereas, our rural areas from where productive youths are meant to boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through improved agriculture and technology are being depleted by necessary migration.”

Dr Mbamalu, however, noted that all that government should be doing in the face of paucity of funds is to continue to provide the enabling environment for private sector to thrive and generate enough employment opportunities for the teeming population.

“At the heart of this job provision is Internet availability and access. Government must not asphyxiate local and foreign investments through obnoxious licensing or tax regimes.”

The media, Dr Mbamalu said, must not be lax in reporting issues of Tech and how they affect growth and development. “As professionals, we must also pay attention to tech companies, businesses and their regulators with regard to how these services affect the end users. This is our ultimate goal, since tech is the now and the future of every endeavor.”

He said: “Teachers working in Lagos, for instance, can move back to Ojoto; the same for medical doctors and others, and this means that, with the availability of robust and cost-effective internet, you can create local jobs.”

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