The Federal Government of Nigeria, through her agency created for the regulation and development of information technology, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Monday commissioned the North East ICT Hub in Gombe, Gombe State Capital.
The centre, which houses over 250 computers and other ICT infrastructures, is to serve as training facility for ICT capacity development in the geo-political zone.
While commissioning the hub, the Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, stated that the wisdom behind the establishment of the centre is to promote the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP) of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari towards diversifying the nation’s economy.
He observed that the present government is obsessed to creating enabling environment for Nigerian youths to encourage them come up with crazy and innovative ideas that have tendencies of disrupting the existing technological innovations.
“World over, we know that it’s almost impossible for government to create the required number of jobs for their graduate. So, inability of the government to provide jobs for all Nigerian youths is not a peculiar problem to Nigeria. However, the government will continue to create enabling environment to nurture entrepreneurs to be self reliant and become employers of labours,” he said.
The Minister remarked that Nigeria is blessed with youths who are naturally talented and gifted. What they need is the enabling environment for critical and analytical thinking with right mentorship that will guide them for proper implementation and translation of their ideas to marketable solutions. While admonishing the youths to be innovative, he noted that 90 percent of the first 20 richest people in the world carved niches for themselves in ICT circle. Adding that the youth need to challenge themselves to come up with disruptive innovations that can change the way we live.
Dr Pantami added that the federal government, through NITDA, has completed the establishment of three ICT hubs in the country which are located in Ibadan, Katsina and Gombe for the South West, North West and North East geo-political zones respectively.
He informed that works are at advance stages in eight other centres across the country. “This intervention is to help the states to solve the challenges of unemployment and to create a culture of self reliance among Nigerian Youths who will in turn become employers of labours,” he concluded.
Earlier in his remark, the NITDA Director General, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, lauded the identification of ICT by President Buhari as one of the tools that can help in resuscitating the nation’s dwindling economy at the inception of his first term in office.
He said; “NITDA, in line with the vision of President Buhari crafted seven strategic pillars to prepare Nigeria for ICT readiness for socio economic development”.
The DG re-emphasises the determination of NITDA to invest in our own people for them to be self reliant in term of job creation and to reduce the over reliance on government for job opportunities. “What we are about to commission today is to aid the capacity building and strategic pillar of the Agency, thereby creating opportunity for digital job creation and boosting of local content development in both hard and software, he informed.
While justifying the choice of Gombe state as the right location for the facility being the gateway state to other states in the North East, the DG advised the people of the zone to use the facility for the purpose of which it was established so as to change the narrative of unemployment in the zone in no distance future.
The Gombe State governor, Alhaji Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya applauded NITDA for various interventions the state had benefitted from the Agency in the last two years.
“We appreciate NITDA for what it has been able to do in our state in the last two years of the administration of former Director General and now the Minister of Communication Dr Isa Ali Pantami and his successor, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi.
“We have received various interventions, and numerous capacity building trainings and donations of ICT tools for the beneficiaries. What I can say is that for all other things you plan to do for the state towards the development of human capital through ICT, you will find in me a dependable ally”, he Governor said.
In the same vein, the Agency flagged off the training of 100 artisans in ICT capacity building. The training is to focus on mobile phone repairs.
The trainees were selected from the state after scalling through a rigorous screening exercise.
The highlight of the event was the donation of 300 computers to teachers in the state to aid teaching and learning.