Nigeria’s first Professor of Geography, Professor Akin Mabogunje, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Olanike Adeyemo, Chief Executive Officer, GIS Konsult Limited, Mr Tolu Afolayan on Wednesday, decried the slow adoption of Geographic Information System (GIS) by state governments for their planning activities.
Noting the relevance of GIS to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals, tying people to their location, solving societal problems, siting developmental projects, these personalities said it was high time government at different levels were up to speed with technological advancements.
Speaking at GIS Academy, Ibadan, these personalities said the government must increase the training and capacity of their staff across Ministries, Departments and Agencies to adopt the peculiarities of GIS to their operations.
In his comments, Mabogunje said people must be tied to their cities or localities, rather than just floating, such that government can have adequate information for planning purposes.
Noting that GIS helped in tracking down people with communicable diseases, he warned the nation would continue to be left behind if it did not adopt GIS for its sustainable development.
Adeyemo, in her remarks, emphasized the need for students in secondary schools and universities to adapt GIS to solving real-life problems.
“Research is important to the development and if conceptualized in the right way, it should be solving societal problems. The government should be looking at the gaps. There is a gap between researchers and the government and the industry. We must be able to interact with the populace and not be a stand alone. It is applicable to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and we cross-fertilise ideas,” Adeyemo said.
While giving his presentation, Afolayan said awareness of Nigerians about GIS was increasing going by its infusion in the curriculum of senior secondary schools.
Though he noted that MDAs were beginning to deploy GIS in their operations, he said the government had to train its staff for them to effectively use GIS to process geographic information.
“Every state in Nigeria is deploying GIS in their departments, agencies, ministries. The awareness is high but the challenge is that there is a knowledge gap in utilizing GIS. Most governments that have set up this project only set up big buildings but they do not use it solve problems.
“GIS helps solve problems but apart from government deploying GIS, there is the need to increase capacity, training. They should not just look for experts to drive the system but look at how it the training can be spread to all MDAs such that everybody is using GIS.”
“This knowledge will ensure that people take a decision based on adequate information. The leaders of government can also use the information for planning,” Afolayan said.
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