Northern Nigeria Still Backward In ICT

TECH DIGEST – Participants at a workshop on the digital reporting agenda for a digital Nigeria have lamented that Northern Nigeria is still backward in the area of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

The participants made the observation at the closing of a two-day workshop organised for journalists and social media influencers from 19 northern states held in Kano.

The workshop was organised by PRNigeria Centre for Strategic Communication and Arewa Agenda with support from NITDA.

The spokesperson of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Hajiya Hadiza Umar who was the guest speaker also expressed the same sentiment.

Hadiza said “Initially, NITDA used to establish centres to communities, but later realised that most of them don’t put it into appropriate use, so we decided to start doing so only on request by the community so that they can take its full control and ownership.

“Our agency is into capacity building, managing government digital services, promoting indigenous content development and training.

“We are glad that things are beginning to change now as more people are beginning to fully harness these facilities.

“Since it inception in 2001, our agency has so far trained over 20,000 youths with different digital skills, including journalists, women, farmers and people living with disabilities.

“In recent times, we have sponsored so many youths with outstanding IT ideas to international fora.
Infact, it is as the result of NITDA’s intervention that the Federal Government introduced ICT subjects into schools curriculums,” Hajiya Hadiza added.

According to her, the agency has established over 700 digital centres across the country with the aim of bridging the digital gap between Nigeria and other developed countries in the area of ICT.

Hadiza however lamented that government alone through the agency cannot do it all hence, the need for public-private partnership.

Also speaking, the Editor-in-Chief of PRNigeria and Economic Confidential, Yushau A. Shuaib reminded participants of the workshop of the role they can play in curbing fake news as well as using social media to effectively tackle the negative narrative and stereotyping in the North.

“It is very sad that the North is still behind. This workshop is therefore timely as it will help build the participants’ capacity on digital technologies.

“I am glad that NITDA is intervening in digital literacy and skills. The technology is the future, and this future is already here to stay,” he added.

Shuaib also promised that the PRNigeria centre would continue to organise similar training programmes towards achieving the desired objectives.

The workshop with the theme, “Setting the digital reporting agenda for a digital Nigeria” brought over 56 journalists and social media influencers from different media organisations across the Northern states.

At the end of the workshop, participants formed a forum ‘Network for Advocates of Digital Reporting (NADIR)’ to help coordinate advocacies of journalists and social media influencers in the country.