Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
A regional humanitarian hub on Information and Communications and Technology will be established in Yola, Adamawa State, in June this year, according to the Federal Government.
According to the government, the ICT centre will bring young people in the North-East together in order to create solutions to address the challenges in the region, using technology.
The Special Assistant on Innovation and Entrepreneurship to the Vice President, Ife Adebayo, disclosed this in Abuja on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Gallery of Code, a research, development and creativity laboratory.
Adebayo said, “What is happening here at the Gallery of Code is quite amazing because these are the things that the government has continued to push. As a government that is very interested in young people and in the capacity and opportunities that young people are given, we’ve proven this by the various activities that we push.
“For instance, we have the North-East technological project, which will culminate in the establishment of a humanitarian innovation lab in the region that will also have an IoT (Internet of Things) and 3D printing lab. We also have the support for the innovation hubs, which are currently going on, as applications are out for the North-Central, South-East and South-South regions.”
He explained that the North-East project was a process that started as part of the government’s social investment programme to discover young people from the region, who had innovative solutions to the problems in the area.
Adebayo stated, “Beyond that, it is part of the Federal Government’s overall objective of supporting technology and innovation across the country. The Vice President announced this in 2016 and we’ve gone forward to make that happen and the key part of that for the North-East is this humanitarian innovation lab.
“This lab will provide opportunities for young people with innovative ideas to come together and build social innovative solutions to the problems in the North-East. But beyond that, they will be getting the support of the government, because we are partnering schools like the American University of Nigeria and our key partner for now is the International Committee on the Red Cross.
“The commencement of this project is in June this year and the Vice President will handle it himself. This will be in Yola, Adamawa State, and it is going to serve the region, meaning that there will be a lot of collaboration with institutions of higher learning in the North-East.”
He thanked the Austrian government for its support for the Gallery of Code, adding that “the things that are going to be built and developed from here are things for the future, which is where Nigeria should be going.”
The Founder, Gallery of Code, Oscar Ekponimo, said the centre was set up to develop solutions that would address Nigeria’s needs in various sectors of the economy.
He stated, “We run a research, development and creativity laboratory that is put together with Ars Electronica and a few other partners, including MIT Media Lab and some foreign universities, and we operate right here in Abuja.
“This centre offers tools, training and advanced technology to empower people with the skills to be able to create solutions for the society. This could be solutions in health, education, agriculture, etc. We want a situation where people can use tools and equipment to develop solutions to our local problems.”
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