The Cross River Government and Huawei Technology of China yesterday signed a contract to make Calabar Nigeria’s first smart city.
Governor Ayade, who was excited at the development, said the execution of the contract will herald the full digitalization of Calabar and the entire state.
The governor, while commending the Chinese firm for being favourably disposed to doing business with the state, expressed his gratitude to the company for offering to sponsor some aspects of the 2016 Carnival Calabar.
Ayade disclosed further that the smart city project will ensure availability of cheap wifi services everywhere in Calabar.
“This will be the first time that data would be provided from the cloud. With this digital cloud, it will offer opportunity to get information with ease and comfort, including boosting research and academic works.
“The project which is in partnership with Huawei of China, the equipment manufacturer, with Sino Infrastructure Development Company Limited as the technical partner in Nigeria for the project,” said Ayade.
He maintained that “this partnership will provide cheap access to connectivity; Cross Riverians will know that Huawei is bringing the best technology to us. They are a known name in the world and a pace setter in the industry.
“Cross River deserves only the best which they have to offer. The whole state is going digital as the Cross River super highway will have super-connectivity where all the best internet and technology services will be offered to users of the super highway. This will be the first fully smart city in Nigeria. Cross River will be the model for Africa and we are proud to be associated with this,” Ayade stated.
He reminded the firm that part of its responsibility is not “only providing 3g and 4g network connectivity but also fibre to home, which will afford the opportunity to download music, news, movies and even research materials.”
Earlier, the Commissioner for ICT, Chief Offu Aya explained that the smart city project is very dear to the governor.
“You have taken us to China to appreciate what Huawei has done in that country, a country with about 1.7 billion people, and how Huawei has turned China into a huge smart city and we have come back with a detailed report.
“Today is a very unique day for the ministry, as before the carnival the pilot scheme will be ready where there will be free wifi services. This will make Calabar the first smart city in Nigeria, it will benefit Cross Riverians and Nigerians as it will make communication faster and easier.”
In his response, the Managing Director of Sino Infrastructure Development Company, Mr. Li Yamping expressed happiness that Huawei and the Cross River Government are working with their company as technical partner on the project and assured that the expected goal will be achieved just as the standard required will be maintained. He stressed that the company was proud to work with the state in line with the governor’s digital policy of making the state the number one digital state in Africa.