Sights and scenes from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria - Nigeria
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Directorate of Information & Communication Technology (DICT)

About Us
The Information and Communication Technology Directorate of Ahmadu Bello University is a statutory institution mandated to provide IT standards, guidelines and policy, strategic plan, and development in the University. ICT Directorate maintains oversight for matters delegated under this jurisdiction, and acts authoritatively within the scope of Council-established policies, procedures and guidelines for its operations. DICT's responsibilities and authority have evolved since its creation. These specific functions include:
  • Manage consolidated data center services as well as Implement and manage shared services;
  • Develop, implement, and manage a new consolidated Internet Protocol network to provide a more robust, efficient, and secure University wide infrastructure;
  • Provide enhanced and expanded telecommunications services to meet the growing needs of departments and units in the University;
  • Assist departments and units in providing secure, reliable, University wide IT operations;
  • Promote cyber- and network security through the development of a University wide Network and Security Operations Center;
  • Negotiate and manage University wide agreements for quality IT products and services to reduce the cost and increase the value of Ahmadu Bello University computer hardware, software, and services;
  • Develop and implement an enterprise architecture for the Ahmadu Bello University that results in rules and standards for information technology;
  • Provide Baseline audit, mapping, and selective benchmarking efforts that are guided by a clear vision and goals to make policymaking more focused, effective and user driven.
  • To Promote Innovative Use of Information Technology that Adds Value to the academic environment
  • To Protect Technology and Information Assets.
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Brief History
The Director, ICT Directorate ICT Park & Hotspots
Project donated by First Bank Nigeria Plc.

The story of computerization in Ahmadu Bello University started  in 1976 with the creation of the Iya Abubakar Computer center.The center in the era of the mainframe was  truly a center of excellence, however, when the era of personal computing dawned the  concept of  Information and Communications Technology  gained mandate. When the NUC therefore directed Universities to establish Management Information Systems Units in the early 1990s the first office was in Electrical Engineering Department with Dr Z.O.Oyedokun as its pioneer coordinator. Shortly after its inception the MIS developed the SR examination package and has been in use since 1995.The MIS later relocated to the senate building and instead of receiving due attention suffered neglect, was incapacitated and up to 2005 never lived up to expectation. In 1999, however, Ahmadu Bello University   articulated a plan for the provision of internet connectivity which got it a Federal government grant. An implementation Committee then was set up headed by Professor Y. Aku  of Mechanical Engineering The committee was to  work a strategic plan for computerization and networking  of the University and ensure its implementation. Actual implementation, however, could not commence until August 2002. Fundamentally the ICT programme's blueprint did not spell out the need and thus did not provide relevant management framework structure for the ICT Infrastructure, subsequently, the execution and or implementation of the ICT programme suffered a lot of setbacks, which cumulatively reproduced an incoherent process. At some point along the line Dr George Kwanashie, (then Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics) took over as the chairman of a computerization and internet project task force, which saw to the completion of the VSAT project  (of 128 kbps uplink and 512 kbps downlink capacity)  and network center equipment  along with a few remote sites in early 2005.The close up report by Messsrs TTI Nig ltd , one of the project consultants, however, indicated there was no full integration of the network center to all proposed radio sites. By August 2005 as a result, the ICT Infrastructure could deliver Internet access to only less than 5% of the University community and most of the University community relies on private Internet outlets. Sometime in 2003, the CISCO Networking Academy  was set up to provide for the training of middle manpower for the ICT programmes in  Ahmadu Bello University and Dr. P.F.U. Taylor of Electrical Engineering was appointed pioneer Coordinator. In the last  quarter of 2005, Dr. P.F.U. Taylor was appointed to double as the university ICT coordinator, with Dr. Aminu Ibrahim then, of the Nigerian Universities Commission as the University ICT Consultant. Along this period a draft ICT blueprint coupled with a policy on strategic plan for computerization, multimedia and networking had been developed. However, there was no synergy between the blueprint and its implementation.

Early into his appointment in 2005, therefore, Dr P. F. U. Taylor was replaced by the duo of Dr. Kabiru Bala of Building Technology Department (as ICT Coordinator, main campus and Coordinator CISCO Academy) and Dr. N. Maiturare of Bussiness Administration Department (as ICT Coordinator Kongo campus).This followed the setting up by university council of an investigation into the entire circumstances of the ICT project from 1999-2005,which was chaired by Dr. K.S. Chafe. Under the leadership of Dr Kabiru Bala the University website was designed and a wireless Hotspot network sponsored by First Bank commenced. Following the recommendations of the February,2006 report of the Council committee on ICT, in march 2006, Council setup an ICT Technical Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. D.D. Dajab of Electrical Engineering Department which studies and analyses all designs, concepts and documents as it relates to the ICT project in the whole University. The committee re-evaluated the design of the ICT programs and presented a report which articulated requirements that would thus provide Ahmadu Bello University with the implemental blueprint to provide the general framework and structures of Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure.

Having established the need for a strategic focus on IT the next stage was to determine the most desirable ways of achieving it. This can be done either by allowing things to evolve by themselves, which option did not work since 1999 or by adopting an organised approach where actions and activities which have been well thought out are carried out guided by appropriate policies and organs. The pre-2005 management structure or arrangement of the ICT was not capable of driving or achieving the policies and objectives of the programme, therefore on the recommendations of the investigative panel on ICT from1999-2005, an ICT Director, Dr. K.S. Chafe, was appointed in March 2006 to nurture the creation of an ICT Directorate.

Armed with a reviewed ICT policy guideline the ICT Directorate won a £1.4 million McArthur Foundation grant in 2007 for the implementation of an optical fiber intranet for the University based on a proposal it articulated. Meanwhile, this ensured the take off of an appropriate and resourceful ICT policy and programme for the University.

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Organisational Setup

In the Council document setting up the Directorate, it is made up of four departments, each function with peculiar responsibilities of ensuring that the ICT policies  turn into actions. In order to operationalise the objectives of the DICT a structure is formulated and implemented. The structures are implemented directly by the creation of Departments under its jurisdiction. The following broad Departments are implemented by the DICT.


Equipment Maintenance and Support Services Department

A Standardization, Testing & Quality Certification (STQC) unit/ office of the Directorate of Information and Communication Technology is a key assurance service-providing department in the area of Computers/accessories procurement ,their maintenance and user support. Apart from being a maintenance center the unit is also in charge of maintaining the Telephony/PABX systems in the University. Starting from its initial mission the unit is envisaged to in-house be building/assembling desktop computers , as it progressively builds competencies and an enabling ecosystem and institutional framework for innovation, skills development, collaboration, and partnerships.

Support for User access to university systems and information resources as available in faculty digital centers are governed by the type of workstation or device used as follows:

  • Managed Workstations and Devices: Workstations and devices that attach to and access University Network both in terms of maintenance and antivirus/worms management.

  • Non-Managed Workstations and Devices Non-Managed workstations and devices may include but are not limited to faculty and staff workstations, personal computers, PDA's, etc.


Network Infrastructure and Security Department

Delivery of high quality Digital Learning environment requires an underpinning of a robust IT infrastructure, both within the Academic and Administrative areas of the university.The operation and maintenance of an Education & Research Network (ERNET), and related activities are the responsibility of this unit. These are broadly in the area of Data Communication and its Application; High-end Networking and Campus-wide High Speed Local Area Network. The NIS unit shall work to ensure that end-users enjoy the best experience and satisfaction to deliver broadband value added service and applications like Web casting, IPcasting, Digital Library and Distance Learning mainly to promote utilization of Information Technology , computer communication, informatics, and development of services. It is an arm of the directorate for implementing ICT networking projects of the University. This responsibility includes information security with the need to foster an open and information-sharing atmosphere among members of the academic community. All systems hosting server services shall be registered and maintained by the Network Infrastructure and Security Office.

  • Management of Networks and Devices Creation, maintenance and documentation of Network configuration and addressing policy and its translation into specific configuration settings and their implementation in deves university-wide. Network level management and maintenance of antivirus/worms.

  • Service Delivery Maintaining ICT infrastructure/Devices uptime ,ensure increased network utilization and optimal network performance as a matter of priority.


Management Information Systems Department

Here the responsibility of System Developers and Information Integrators are for the development and deployment of appropriate application softwares for information management and archiving of relevant data, and other information resources for use of University management ,its organs and the University community .They coordinate and secure all University Information placed in their care and to ensure Security compliance with Standard Information Security Procedures. Their responsibilities additionally include development and management of a portal for student records administration (online registration, online fees payment and student accommodation allocation, online transcripts etc).They manage the following infrastructure to provide an adequate, relevant and ongoing development programme to enable staff and students to create, access, manage and disseminate information resources effectively.

  • Portal servers A unified platform for information resources with university-wide data accessibility presence across various departments or academic units. These systems, considered business-essential, require a high degree of availability.

  • Department Servers Servers that provide an academic records and/or administrative functions that may house Restricted or Sensitive Information. Examples include Human Resource Servers, Audit and Accounting Software Servers etc


Multimedia and Web Services Department

The responsibility of this unit includes Strategic positioning of university web presence and rethinking the strategic strength and positioning of the University in its local /regional and, as far as justified, national or international competitive environment. Adaptation of links within the University community as part of this rethinking. Content development, management, and storage issues that enables content assets to be more quickly repurposed, repackaged, and delivered into the world wide web to orchestrate interactions with disparate systems currently residing within distinct silos, creating a unified, homogeneous system. The automation of processes that can be applied to video-on-demand (VOD) as well as downloadable protected content, and any other sources across the University and throughout the content ecosystem. Facilitating and increasing the quality and effectiveness of access for all to ICT e-learning Infrastructure and systems in the University. Application servers managed by the unit includes web and repository servers. Others critical roles include

  • Guiding the university well on ICT matters - To ensure university's better rooted to make best use of the ICT infrastructure necessary for widespread uptake of eLearning and to promote ICT in teaching or innovation in teaching ( Audio-visual, smart boards , video conferencing technologies etc) and to support learning in non-traditional ways plus media and library facilities in a coordinated resources and support structure accessible for the whole university community and filling of gaps if they appear.

  • Department Critical Systems - Systems with a localized departmental presence, essential for conducting business processes or delivery of academic content.

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Management Team
The Director, ICT Directorate Dr. Danjuma D. Dajab
Director

The Director

The Director, Dr. Danjuma Danshik Dajab received his M.Sc in Automatic Electrical Communications from the Bonch-Bruevich State University of Telecommunications, St. Petersburg and Ph.D in Telecommunications at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He has been an Engineer with Leningrad Telephone Networks, Russia and a Senior Executive Engineer at Intercellular Nigeria Ltd.

With extensive WAN knowledge along with deployment experience of at least 5 years he has practical experience of project management/delivery through the lifecycle of a project. He is a corporate member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).


The Head, Network Infrastructure & Security Mr. Wale Adedokun
Head, NIS

Network Infrastructure & Security (NIS)

The responsibilities of NIS include:

  • Setting up the communication infrastructure to provide effective services;
  • Estimating costs of system hardware changes including competitive analysis of future requirements;
  • Providing operational support and management of networks;
  • Integrating voice, video and desktop services within networks;
  • To undertake installation and monitor basic maintenance of network equipment;
  • Providing training and support for the internet/promoting awareness campaign;
  • To load and update software packages required;
  • To assist in personnel development and training;
  • Responsible for evaluating existing configuration management systems and designs;
  • Implementing solutions estimating and planning work and resources;
  • Monitoring and reporting progress and network status to Director.

The Head, Management Information System Mal. Rabiu Gambo
Head, MIS

Management Information System (MIS)

The responsibilities of MIS include (in addition to mandates and job specifications as currently obtained in MIS):

  • To provide top management with relevant statistics and information on critical success factors in the management of the University by maintaining databases;
  • Support management decision making through deployment of Decision Support Systems (DSS) softwares, Executive Information Systems (EIS) softwares etc;
  • Responsible for the integration of all student, academic, registry and management records into the ICT automation plan and policy;
  • Monitoring and reporting progress and network status to Director.

The Head, Multimedia & E-Learning Technologies Mal. Bashir
Head, MELT

Multimedia & E-Learning Technologies (MELT)

The responsibilities of MELT include:

  • To deliver, set up and collect ICT/audio visual equipment and resources for e-learning;
  • To record appropriate educational resources and publicize the materials to relevant units using information technology;
  • Monitoring the progress of e-learning productions against any defined learner agreements and policies;
  • Providing academic support and care to learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities e.g. sign language, interpret information;
  • To deliver and assess needs, key skills to learners and staff;
  • To manage and maintain the learning and information resources, materials and technical equipment;
  • To design, manage and maintain systems of control and retrieval;
  • To provide expertise and advice on the selection and acquisition of learning and information resources, materials and technical equipment;
  • To deliver induction and demonstration sessions;
  • To instruct learners in the use of learning and information resources;
  • To facilitate effective learning through maintenance of learning environments;
  • Monitoring and reporting progress and network status to Director.

The Head, Web Application Development Mal. Muhammad S. Umar
Head, WAD

Web Application Development (WAD)

The responsibilities of WAD include:

  • To deliver, set up and collect ICT/audio visual equipment and resources for e-learning;
  • To record appropriate educational resources and publicize the materials to relevant units using information technology;
  • Monitoring the progress of e-learning productions against any defined learner agreements and policies;
  • Providing academic support and care to learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities e.g. sign language, interpret information;
  • To deliver and assess needs, key skills to learners and staff;
  • To manage and maintain the learning and information resources, materials and technical equipment;
  • To design, manage and maintain systems of control and retrieval;
  • To provide expertise and advice on the selection and acquisition of learning and information resources, materials and technical equipment;
  • To deliver induction and demonstration sessions;
  • To instruct learners in the use of learning and information resources;
  • To facilitate effective learning through maintenance of learning environments;
  • Monitoring and reporting progress and network status to Director.

The Head, Equipment Maintenance & Support Services Mrs. Lydia Temilade
Ag. Head, EMSS

Equipment Maintenance & Support Services (EMSS)

The responsibilities of EMSS include:

  • Providing operational support and maintenance of network equipment , computing devices and supervise the provision of Telephone services and networks.
  • Ensuring the stability of both software and hardware performance in computer systems and accessories by handling various faults in time and maintaining the stable operation of the systems.
  • Maintaining ICT infrastructure / system uptime, ensuring increased network utilization and optimal network performance as a matter of priority .Additionally also to ensure that any degradation of service or fault must be resolved as efficiently as possible so as to have minimal impact on users.
  • Finding and resolving the problems existing in networks equipment and document network trends that are tracked for analyses.
  • Be responsible for the administration, specification and aggregation of the computing needs of university departments/units and maintaining documentation on same (i.e. computer laboratories/e-learning centers etc).
  • Maintaining an ongoing inventory of all network devices.
  • Monitoring and reporting progress and status to the Director.
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ABU Cisco Networking Academy
The Co-ordinator, ABU Cisco Networking Academy Dr. M. B. Mu'azu
Co-ordinator, ABU Cisco

Background

Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria formally joined the Cisco Networking Academy Program (CNAP) as a Local Academy (LA) under the University of Jos Regional Academy (RA) under the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (South Africa) Cisco Academy Training Centre (CATC) on the 24th of July 2003.

The ABU Cisco Networking Academy started with the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) curriculum in 2003 and by 2006 had also commenced the Information Technology Essentials (ITE) curriculum and till date over five hundred (500) ABU and non-ABU staff and students have undergone training in one or both of these curricula. Indeed, a lot of our trainees have moved on to acquiring full CCNA and CCNP certifications

The ABU Cisco Networking Academy has actively been participating in all Cisco organized programs in our sub-region, especially the African Safari, starting with Accra, Ghana in 2006 (where we won the most gender friendly academy award), to Lagos in 2007, Abeokuta in 2008, Jos and Abuja in 2009 and 2010 respectively, where on both occasions, we won the best LA awards. In recognition of the giant strides of the Academy, Cisco finally upgraded the status of the Academy from a Local Academy (LA) to a Regional Academy (RA) in June 2010.

Sequel to the upgrade, the ABU Cisco Networking Academy can now assist in setting up LAs and provide technical support and quality control assistance to them and to other LAs that may wish to come under it and also to undertake instructor training. This will be for the following curricula: Academy Fundamentals, IT Essentials (ITE), CCNA Exploration and Discovery.

In November 2010, Cisco granted the ABU Academy provisional approval to operate as a Local Academy for the CCNP Curriculum. The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) program is a higher level program than the CCNA and presently ABU Zaria is the only Academy having that status in Nigeria. The status will become full once at least two (2) instructors have been sent on training at the CATC in South Africa.

The Academy has begun the process of acquiring computer-based test centre status from PearsonVue (www.pearsonvue.co.uk, www.pearsonvue.com/mena). This will greatly complement our training programs as the students will have a readily available and convenient centre to write their certification examinations.


Philosophy

The ABU Cisco Networking Academy was set up in line with the guiding principles of Cisco Systems Inc.'s Networking Academy program to provide high level hands-on training in IT and networking to ABU and non-ABU staff and students based on the theme "LEARN THE SKILLS … LEAD THE FUTURE"

A Local Academy (LA) is set up with the explicit mandate from Cisco Systems Inc. to "teach individuals the problem-solving and critical thinking skills in addition to the technical knowledge students need to pursue a career in networking and succeed in the 21st century workplace".

A Regional Academy Academy (RA) is set up with the explicit mandate from Cisco Systems Inc. to "function as training and support centre for the LAs to which it is accountable".


List of Programmes

  • Academy Fundamentals
  • IT Essentials (One Semester)
  • Wireless (One Semester)
  • CCNA: Discovery/Exploration (Four Semesters)
  • CCNP (Three Semesters)

The ABU Cisco Networking Academy presently has a Co-ordinator, a Registrar, nine (9) part-time instructors, two Lab Attendants and a Messenger.


Enquiries

For all enquiries about the Academy and Cisco programs, contact:

Dr. M. B. Mu'azu
mbmuazu@abu.edu.ng,
muazumb1@yahoo.com
0803-7272365
Co-ordinator


Or

Engr. Adewale Adedokun
wale@abu.edu.ng,
adewaleadedokun@yahoo.co.uk
0803-7035811
Curriculum Lead

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Vision

University wide access to, and utilisation of Information and Communication Technologies to enhance the standing of Ahmadu Bello University as a center of Academic excellence.

Mission

To create a truly digital learning environment and ensure a high and sustainable availability of Information and Communication Technology resources through total quality management, control, maintenance, and development processes that are user focused.