The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, has pointed out that through diligent implementation of the digital economy agenda, Nigeria has the potential of critical mass of ‘digital natives’ that can transform the country into a regional and global digital powerhouse
Pantami, who spoke as the special guest at the commissioning of a ‘Digital Nigeria Centre’ at the Father O’Connel Science College, Minna, Niger State, pointed out that collective commitment to the implementation of agenda the current unemployment and other social problems, especially among the productive but unemployed youths, would become a thing of the past
He said: “With the tools being provided through the DNC, creative Nigerians can play a key role in the creation of digital jobs across all sectors of the country. Such jobs are either based on or are dependent upon Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs).
Represented at the event by the commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Reuben Muoka, the minister said the current implementation of Nigeria’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030, emphasizes the importance of innovation and startup ecosystem to the development of Nigerian indigenous digital economy.
Pantami further explained that the DNC was commissioned at the college for skills acquisition in order to increase ICT literacy among school teachers and students; provide a platform for accessing online educational resources; equip students with ICT skills; facilitate ICT adoption in teaching and learning; and increase the pass rates in mathematics, English language and other science subjects.
The minister who was hosted at the occasion by the college community led by its old student and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada who facilitated the project executed by the Universal Service Provision Fund, USPF, advised the school to effectively utilize the DNC for value-addition endeavours
Pantami listed the four components of the DNC as including, ICT tool component comprising 40 desktop computers with embedded operating systems, server, printer, remote-controlled projector, high resolution scanner, and e-learning software) as well as the power structure, consisting of an inverter that comes with its charger, solar panels, batteries and automatic changeover.
He explained: “There is also a connectivity component, made up of routers, switches, and firewall for network protection, modem, fibre/microwave radio or Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) and bandwidth for internet connectivity. Lastly, there is a non-ICT component constitutive of the furniture, cabinet, cooling systems, and allied appliances.”
The DNC, formerly known as School Knowledge Centre (SKC), has an overarching objective to carry out the Commission’s statutory mandate of expanding the frontiers of universal access and universal service by ensuring service provision to unserved and under-served areas of the Nigerian economy.
Since the modification of the project from SKC to DNC, the Minna project became the second to be commissioned after the first DNC located at Ijesa Muslim Grammar School, Ilesa, Osun State, was inaugurated in January, 2022.