COVID-19: Govt asks MDAs to leverage video conferencing, IP phones for essential meetings

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To avoid being infected as COVID-19 pandemic remains unabated, the Nigerian government has, in addition to social distancing to curb the spread of the deadly virus, recommended that ministries, departments, agencies (MDAs) and federal civil servants now on a stay-at-home policy, use Unified Communication Services (UCS) platform to provide reliable and secure audio and video communication within the 1Gov network.

COVID-19 is known to spread primarily through contact with infected persons, surfaces or environments, “so there is a need for civil servants and the workforce in the country to minimize physical and face-to-face meetings,” said Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, in a press statement released today in Abuja adding that one of its agencies under the ministry, Galaxy Backbone Limited, has provided video conferencing, telepresence and video IP phone facilities in most MDAs within its Abuja metro fiber network, to provide a smart means of communication and collaboration within the public sector.

Nigeria approaches a possible lockdown as coronavirus cases increase and government works on halting the trends. All civil servants from level 1-12 are to stay at home for two weeks. Schools have been shut down. International flights are cancelled as airports are closed. Government is likely to take a cue from other countries including South Africa and United Kingdom to lock down cities and stem the spread of the virus..  

But work can continue from home, said the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.  According to the ministry, platforms available to minimize the need for physical meetings while performing the day to day functions of government are:

  • IP Voice and Video Telephony Services: About 16,000 unit have been  deployed to provide users secure free voice & video communications over Galaxy’s network using physical handsets and software-based endpoints; and
  • Video Conferencing/ telepresence Services: About 120 terminals hav been deployed to provide real-time video conferencing for users to meet and collaborate with colleagues and partners across various locations nationwide and internationally.

“The Minister, therefore, calls on all MDAs and public officers that have these services deployed to use them by hosting remote meetings and conferences which will help limit the spread of the virus,” said Pantami’s spokesperson, Mrs. Uwa Suleiman in the statement released in Abuja.

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