Nigeria not ripe for Artificial Intelligence, says expert
Abuja, April 15, 2019 Dr Jimson Olufuye, the former President of African Information Communication Technology Alliance (AfICTA) on Monday said Nigeria was not ripe for deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.
Olufuye told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, that the AI would require huge investment; as well as stable and functional institutions for the technology to be efficient.
AI is the theory and development of computer systems to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.
“The core of AI is programing, algorithm, machine language; and we have a lot of skillful people that can do machine works.
“When it comes to the hardware part of it and the machines that can use AI, it requires a huge investment and the need has to be there.
“Right now the real need is not there yet, we are still struggling with the basic needs, majority of our population is still trying to make ends meet,’’ Olufuye said.
According to him, embracing such technology requires a critical mass that is obtainable in countries like Japan, China and the U.S., and which Nigeria lacks.
He said the country’s development index was still low, adding that Nigeria needed to tackle the basic things first such as improving on its seamless internet connectivity.
“Right now there is little or no connectivity and there are still some blind spots across the country,’’ he said.
Olufuye said that though the ICT sector had the capacity to create massive job opportunities for the unemployed, the government still needed to unlock the opportunities.
He reiterated that government processes needed to be transparent and it should approve more executive orders and enforce existing ones to ensure the sector grew.
“If the government does not move, nothing moves in Nigeria, Africa and across the world because government policies are helping economies to grow.
“For Nigeria, we need to get our policies right, we need to get drivers of policies right, ensure there is more transparency and proper auditing.
“Government should curb bureaucracies, ensure the ease of doing business is sustained; and enforce regulations for Ministries, Department and Agencies.’’
According to him, Nigerians were hardworking people who use every opportunity to create wealth and therefore urged the government to create the enabling environment for citizens to realise their potential.
Lagos to become Africa’s biggest innovation hub
Sanwo-Olu said that his administration’s financial commitment to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) was to position the state as key player in global technology space.
He said that this was by harnessing local capabilities in developing technological solutions that would reduce the state’s reliance on foreign technology inventions.
The governor said the recently approved seed capital of N250 million was particularly aimed at enhancing young people’s innovative skills.
According to him, the seed capital will empower young people to be tech solutions providers as the world progresses in digitisation.
”Technology has gotten to a stage where we all need it to leapfrog and enhance accuracy in governance.
”As a government, we have always promoted technology to take the lead and be a strong enabler for us to deliver on our promises to the people.
”We are taking steps to further collaborate with partners that will strengthen our capacity to be big player in global tech space.
”We just concluded a two-day Art of Technology where we announced the establishment of innovation research council and N250 million seed capital to support young innovators locally.
”We are not looking at what is going to be our immediate benefit by this investment; rather we want to create a robust technology culture.
”We want to create technology culture that will give young people opportunities to explore their innovative skills in bringing about tech solutions and applications we can use to advance our service delivery,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that the technical support offered by Oracle Group had helped to stabilise processes in the state’s civil service and in promoting accountability in administrative process.
The governor, however, said that the relationship between both parties must be consolidated to boost the capacity of the state government and keep it abreast of the latest technological solutions developed to ease processes.
Sanni said that the two-decade partnership between Lagos Government and Oracle Group was ”mutually beneficial”, as Lagos was one of the IT firm’s success story in deploying technology solutions to improve governance.
”Lagos State is one of the places we use as an example globally in terms of what we have done in helping governments transform their business using technology.
”Oracle wants to consolidate on this partnership and make commitment that will help Lagos State sustain its growth,” he said.
Sanni said that the IT firm was willing to review and build on its technical assistance to the state government for improved service delivery.
He also promised to boost the capacity of the current administration in using data to take predictive analysis of situations across the state.
Edited by: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi
Onu advocates inclusion of innovation in educational curriculum
Dr Ogbonaya Onu, the Minister of Science and Technology, has called for review of the nation’s educational curriculum to include creativity and innovation, as subjects, to promote national growth.
Onu said this in a statement signed by Catherine Ejuamah,the Senior Information Officer of the ministry on Friday in Abuja.
Ejuamah said the Minister gave the advice while addressing the management and members of staff the Nigerian Institute of Food, Science and Technology (NIFST), who were on a courtesy visit to his office.
He said that there was the need for educational institutions to work closely with the Federal Ministry of Education to achieve targets to ensure that positive ideas and creativity were added to the academic curriculum.
Onu said by so Nigeria would start producing problem solvers, team workers, innovative researchers and enhance creativity skills to solve prevailing challenges.
Onu said, “The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has achieved a very high level of self-reliance in food security and food safety.
“Many agencies under the supervision of the Ministry know the importance of food security and safety.
“This is because their interest is to grow food crops, harvest, efficiently store and process them in a way that even when it is off season, food will be available.’’
The minister identified support of all forms of research innovations, anywhere and at any level in the country, as key mandate of the ministry.
He noted that Nigeria was in transitional phase, moving from an economy based on natural resources and commodity to an innovative and knowledge-driven one.
Earlier in his remark, Mr Oluwole Toye, National President of NIFST, said the institute had over 9,000 professionals across academia, research institutes, government, regulatory agencies, food and allied industries within and outside the country.
“Our mission, here, is to seek approval of the Minister to approve a committee to interface with NIFST on implementation of the charter Act.
“To constitute the Council in accordance with the law, inaugurate the council and help them to set up the secretariat,” Toye said. .
Edited & Vetted By: Angela Okisor/ Dada Ahmed
FG reaffirms commitment to establishing National Policy on Nanotechnology
The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology on Friday, reaffirmed its commitment to establishing a national Nanotechnology Policy as guide to ensure effective operations in Nigeria.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Bitrus Nabasu, said this in a statement signed by Mrs Ifeoma Irondi, for the Head of Press and Public Relations of the Ministry on Friday in Abuja.
Irondi said Nabasu said this while inaugurating the Committee on First Validation Exercise of Draft National NanoTechnology Policy Document in the ministry.
According to Nabasu, when eventually produced, the policy will spearhead the use of nanotechnology and make products to be lighter, smaller, stronger, cleaner and precise.
Nabasu said: “Nanotechnology is an emerging technology set to revolutionalise the manufacturing technology process.
“Application and utilisation of this technology is being made in various fields such as agriculture, health, medicine and Chemical industries to enhance the quality of lives of citizens.”
The permanent secretary, therefore, mandated the committee to produce a national nanotechnology policy to guide operations of the technology, assume responsibility and come up with a draft national nanotechnology policy document.
Earlier in his remarks, the Director, Department of Chemical Engineering, Mr Akinyemi Oyefeso said the purpose of the validation programme was to start from within.
“This is why they invited mainly scientific officers and some non-scientific officers to critique the policy document before passing it to the minister for further necessary action,” oyefeso said..
Edited & Vetted By: Chioma Ugboma/Dada Ahmed
Implement FG’s policy on digital economy, Minister urges states, LGs
Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has urged states and local governments to implement Federal Government’s policy and strategy aimed at developing a digital economy for Nigeria.
The minister made the call at the end of the Seventh regular meeting of the National Council on Communications Technology and Digital Economy, in Gombe on Friday.
“That is why it has been predicted that by 2022, 60 percent of world economy will be dominated by digital economy, and we don’t want to be left behind,” he said.
The minister said that government at all levels must be on board in order to achieve a digital Nigeria.
He called on all stakeholders to collaborate to tackle some of the challenges that could impact negatively on the digital economy initiative.
In his remarks, Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe commended the minster for choosing the state for the meeting, assuring that his administration would ensure the implementation of all the recommendations made by the council.
Yahaya, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Manassah Jatau, said government would take the advantage of ICT to facilitate more development for the state.
Edited & Vetted By: Shittu Obassa and
Foundation trains handlers on proper e-waste management
The President, E-Waste Relief Foundation (ERF), Mr Ifeanyi Ochonogor, on Friday said the Foundation would ensure computers and allied products dealers and handlers, were educated on dangers of improper handling of e-waste.
Ochonogor said this at the 2nd edition of Lagos E-Waste Handlers Capacity Enhancement Programme (LEHCEP 2), aimed at training informal waste handlers in Computer Village and those in Olusosun Dumpsite in Lagos.
According to him, the Foundation is trying to educate and create awareness of the dangers of e-waste handling by the informal handlers since there is no NGO dedicated to such crisis.
“When we looked at e-waste that passed through the hub, it was crisis and that was why we chose here so that it would have the best impact in going forward next year,” he said.
He, however, commended the government for the implementation and enforcement of e-waste for Business-to-Business (B2B) through its environmental agencies.
Ochonogor said that the Foundation was complementing government’s effort by creating awareness for the masses on proper handling of e-waste and not taking away their livelihood.
He said that the Foundation would also partner with Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN) to train and sensitise e-waste handlers on proper and safe handling.
Prof. Oladele Osibanjo, President, Waste Management Society of Nigeria (WAMASON), said that the programme had enabled the participants to be exposed to the dangers of improper handling of e-waste.
Osibanjo said that the e-waste handlers had been exposed to the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as nose mask, which ensured that they remained healthy as they picked them.
”We want them to live a decent life and enjoy the fruit of technology.
“It is a business the handlers found themselves in without understanding the dangers of it and no clue about health and environmental issues.
“I will like to commend the president of the Foundation for going into the Computer Village, the hub of technology, to create the awareness on proper handling of e-waste,” he said.
Osibanjo said that it would be unforgivable if the Foundation failed to extend its knowledge on dangers of improper handling of e-waste and did not impact such knowledge to those who did not know about it.
He said that the Foundation’s partnership with the electronic dealers should be supported as it would provide avenue for many people to join in the training of proper handling of e-waste.
According to him, Nigeria produces 1.1 tonnes of e-waste which can be a small gold mine and provide employment for young graduates if properly harnessed.
Osibanjo said that there were many dangers in managing e-waste, saying that it was time Nigerians paid attention to the environment.
Aliu Usman, Garage Chairman, Olusosun Dumpsite E-waste handlers, said that the training had exposed the handlers to the dangers of improper management of e-waste and how to prevent being exposed to its numerous health hazards.
Usman appealed to the government to do more by encouraging the Foundation to train and sensitise the handlers on proper management of e-waste.
Edited & Vetted By: Chidinma Agu/Adeleye Ajayi
Lagos govt. releases N250m to boost science, technology research
The conference, with the theme: “Bridging the Gap’’, was organised by Eko Innovation Centre and sponsored by First City Monument Bank, Microsoft, Malta Guinness, Oracle, among others.
Sanwo-Olu said that the fund was for research and development in science and technology across different thematic areas in the state.
The governor said that the fund, to be managed by the Lagos State Science, Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC), was to research and develop areas like Artificial Intelligence (AI) to robotics, health informatics and green energy.
According to him, the Council will direct funds to solve issues of national significance through science and technology research.
The governor said it was a platform on which the future of Lagos State as a smart city would be unravelled.
”At the inception of our administration, we had a vision of growing Lagos State with a population above 20 million from a mega city to a smart city, equipped with infrastructure and facilities that work seamlessly to enhance life experiences.
”Our dream and vision of transforming the landscape in Lagos State was anchored on the pillars of our administration’s ”T.H.EM.E.S” philosophy to tackle perceived challenges.
”It is instructive to note that technology has redefined the way we live and think. Indeed, it is the bedrock of social integration and harmony because of its multiple applications to solve or enhance the art of living itself.
”We are prepared to provide Lagosians with the opportunity to connect on the global stage.”
“We cannot disaffirm the intractable challenges we face as a state. With a population of about 22 million and a crumbling infrastructure, new sustainable methods of transportation and infrastructure deployment must be formulated to keep up with the population growth.
”The use of artificial intelligence to predict movement of human resources and materials and reverse environmental degradation are critical solutions we need to adopt,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that the state’s challenges put it in a unique position to engineer not just its own solutions but solutions for the world at large.
”In view of these and other issues, our administration is committed to releasing and turbo charging our nascent problem solving potential through innovations in science and technology,” he said.
Highpoint of the event was the launch of the ”Innovation Master Plan” by the governor, aimed at highlighting the government’s critical focus areas that will unleash a culture of problem solving.
Sanwo-Olu said that the plan addressed the four main pillars that were required to enable a vibrant innovation ecosystem, namely: Access, Talent, Infrastructure and Funding.
According to him, with the administration’s activities in these four main areas, the innovation ecosystem is sure to receive the needed boost to raise its contribution to the state’s economy.
”There is no gainsaying the fact that any society that wants to be reckoned with on the global stage must be grounded in the application of technology to growth and development.
”It is, also, gratifying to note that the world has accepted that Lagos State is the ”Silicon Valley” of the African Continent, with major investments by Microsoft and Google in the Ikeja based ”Computer Village” and emerging tech hubs, which have served as launch pads for the digital careers of numerous youths as software developers.
”We have provided more opportunities for our children in the public primary and secondary schools to acquire ICT knowledge through exposure to Coding.”
”There are many opportunities available for the development of software that can transform the way we see, do or think about life activities.
”Art of Technology 1.0 will open the window for ideas, concepts and principles buried in the creative recesses of our people to break out and transform the landscape.
”It is our goal to foster the gains achieved by the Art of Technology 1.0 to enhance and empower the residents and investors in Lagos, the obvious and preferred location of first choice,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr Hakeem Fahm, in his address, unfolded more of the state government’s plans in the state.
“Three thousand in 2020 and 3,000 in 2021, in addition to that, he is providing 2, 000 high definition cameras so as to accomplish a safe city initiative and e-governance.
“Pooling all these together will give us smart mobility, healthcare, education, grid and smart energy, smart home, use of internet things and smart relay.
“So, we need a sustainable framework to do this,’’ the commissioner said.
Fahm said that in Smart Lagos, transformation would be seen in key domains such as health, transport, urban solutions, safety and education.
The commissioner said that the state would be safer, more comfortable and more sustainable with the use of sensors, monitoring cameras and smart systems.
Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Innovation and Technology, Mr Olatunbosun Alake, said the AOT was an innovation, ecosystem catalysing event that the government was bringing to the people.
“The Art of Technology Lagos 1.0 is an innovation, an ecosystem catalysing event in which the government wants to bring everybody together in an ecosystem.
“Let us make these catalysing connections where funders can meet creators, incubators can meet people with ideas and let’s make all of that work in a serious poll such that the government has support.
“That is what this event is all about,’’ Alake said
NAN reports that AOT Lagos 1.0 brought together 2,000 tech giants, policy makers, government officials, software engineers/programmers, etc., to drive innovations that would pave way for the evolution of a smarter, digital, more efficient and more competitive Lagos State.
Edited & Vetted By: Oluyinka Fadare/Oluwole Sogunle
CPAN seeks financial opportunities for members, digital entrepreneurs
The Computer-Based Test Centres Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (CPAN) on Thursday said it would empower its members and digital entrepreneurs by partnering with other groups to create financial opportunities.
Akwuruoha said that the CBT centres could be empowered through the partnership with ‘One Network’ by registering Nigerians for the National Identity Number (NIN) and helping to achieve the registration of all Nigerians in 2020.
According to him, it was as a result of desperation that most digital entrepreneurs who were graduates involved in examination malpractices.
”With such opportunities of making extra income legitimately, it will reduce the examination malpractices among the CBT centres.
”The centres will also serve Financial Technology (Fintech) agents, through Pay Attitude.
”The centres will be providing financial services to the under-served and creating income for themselves as well,’’ Akwuruoha said.
He said that as such, most of the centres were under-funded and running into debt and could give in to examination malpractices.
Akwuruoha said that the association would also be partnering with Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria to help accredit those who would be trained on coding by the centres.
According to him, most students were not exposed to computer and through such training they will be empowered by the training given at the computer centres.
He said that the empowerment of students would also boost the income of the CBT centres.
Edited & Vetted By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Adeleye Ajayi
YouTube celebrates top trending videos in Nigeria
YouTube on Thursday released YouTube Rewind, to celebrate the biggest moments and trending videos on YouTube in 2019.
Mr Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Communication Officer and Public Affairs Manager for Google West Africa, said in Lagos that the top trending videos in Nigeria for 2019 reflected the nation’s love of sports and entertainment.
Kola-Ogunlade said that the top three trending videos in Nigeria were Commander by Mark Angel Comedy; Aiyetoro Episode 1 by SCENEONE TV; and UEFA Champions League – Liverpool vs Barcelona highlights by SuperSport.
He said that beyond the affinity for entertainment and sports, the 2019 list also revealed that Nigerians were turning to YouTube to keep up with trending news stories.
”The BBC Africa Documentary – Sex for Grades undercover and Ynaija’s interview with celebrity Photographer, Busola Dakolo, made it as top trending videos.
”YouTube also released the list of top trending music videos for the year. Topping the list is the official video of Zlatan and Burna Boy – Killin Dem.
”The official Blow My Mind music video by Davido featuring Chris Brown and Rudeboys’ Reason With Me official video follow on the list, ’’ Kola-Ogunlade said in a statement.
According to him, the top trending videos on YouTube for 2019 were based on views, shares, comments, likes and more.
He said that YouTube Rewind brought together the biggest viral videos featuring today’s biggest YouTube stars, mainstream and current affairs personalities.
He said that YouTube’s Rewind video had taken on a fresh look and feel in 2019.
“Featuring a montage of clips from the top videos, channels and moments of the year as well as the latest release from Glass Animals, featuring artistes on the rise, Denzel Curry,’’ Kola-Ogunlade said.
He, however, said that the Top 15 Videos watched in Nigeria in 2019, excluding major music labels were Mark Angel Comedy – COMMANDER (Mark Angel Comedy) (Episode 193) Scene one TV, Aiyetoro Town Episode 1
GhenGhen Jokes – INTERVIEW (ATIKU OR BUHARI), among others.
Kola-Ogunlade noted that the top 15 Music Videos watched by Nigerians included Zlatan featuring Burna Boy – Killin Dem (Official Music Video).
He also mentioned On A Spaceship Davido featuring Chris Brown – Blow My Mind (Official Video), Rudeboy – Reason With Me (Official Video), among others.
Edited & Vetted By: Adeleye Ajayi
NIMASA donates computers, instructional materials to Kogi school
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has donated computer hardware’s, textbooks and other instructional materials to Abdulazeez Atta Memorial College in Okene Local Government Area of Kogi.
Presenting the materials to the School Principal in Lokoja on Wednesday, Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, Kogi Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, on behalf of the Governor, thanked NIMASA for the gesture.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the donation was done under the recently introduced School Based Management Committees (SBMCs) in every primary and Junior Secondary School in Nigeria by the Federal Government..
Osikoya that there were limited instructional learning and teaching aids in Kogi schools, but that the ministry had been able to identify the minimum requirements, which had been forwarded to the Gov. Yahaya Bello.
The commissioner added that the process of supplying those materials to schools were ongoing.
”We have also advocated stakeholders’ involvement, ownership and participation in assisting schools in form of old students’ associations, parents, communities, individuals and corporate organisations.
”What we are doing today is a welcome development about stakeholder’s responsiveness, because we are having positive responses from various stakeholders.
She further appealed to stakeholders for more support for Kogi education sector in adopting one or more schools, technical and vocational and also to support out of school children.
”When we all do that, the vision of the governor for ensuring that quality education becomes a norms in Kogi State would be achieved.
”We are also hopeful that Kogi state will be considered for the World Bank support for out of school children,” Osikoya said.
She noted that the ministry had also started ‘Performance Appraisal’ for all schools in the State, based on some key performance indicators as a way of motivating teachers and students.
Items donated includes 12 hp desktops computers with UPS, eight HP laptops with bags, textbooks for various subjects for Senior and Junior Secondary, and Primary School, exercise books, white boards, packets of pen, pencils, among others.
The School Principal, Mr Ajayi Umoru, on behalf of the school management and the students, thanked the donor for the gesture, while commending the commissioner and the governor for changing the narratives in education sector in the State.
SBMC is a unique template which brings communities; parents, non-parents, teachers, artisans, school children and governments under one umbrella for synergy towards addressing challenges in the basic education sector particularly funding, infrastructure and service delivery rather than waiting solely on the government.
By this, communities automatically become stakeholders and actively participate in management of public schools in their environments in partnership with government for judicious and timely cogent actions.
Edited & Vetted By: Hawa Lawal and Abdullahi Yusuf
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