Initiated by Pantami and implemented by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in line with its mandate, the centre is Nigeria’s first physical structure for skill development in AI and robotics.
According to Pantami, “The global paradigm shift from mere paper qualifications to proven skills, particularly digital skills, has necessitated the establishment of a high tech skill acquisition centre such as this.
“The Centre will serve as a leading hub of innovation, research and development, knowledge transfer and training in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics and other emerging technologies.
“In addition, the Centre will also create a vision for AI, develop an AI Ecosystem, support data stewardship while providing access to specialized technical skills in the country.”
The journey to digitalise Nigeria began with President Buhari’s approval to include the Digital Economy mandate under the ministry’s purview, which led to the development of the NEDPS, the foundation for implementing the Digital Nigeria agenda, added Pantami.
He said “The centre will provide a robust platform for achieving a digital economy for Nigeria through digital literacy and skills development and innovation.
“I am confident that the centre will productively engage the youths, create more jobs and inspire digital entrepreneurship.”
He commended the Director General NITDA, Mallam Kachifu Andullahi and his team for bringing the vision to life and urged them to do more.
Minister for FCT, Mallam Mohammad Musa Bello, also commended Pantami for his remarkable achievements in the ICT sector which had impacted on not just the sector, but the nation’s economy as a whole.
He cited the steady rise in the sector’s contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Earlier, the NITDA boss, Andullahi, had challenged youths to leverage opportunities for skill development being initiated by the agency with the support of the ministry.
The new centre is fully equipped with training facilities, 3D Printers, co-working space for start-ups, a digital innovation laboratory, Makerspace and fabrication laboratory infrastructure, printed circuit board facilities.
The centre houses the offices of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT – REAP) and the Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE), NITDA’s subsidiary arm for Innovation. (SS)
The ceremony was witnessed by the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Barrister Mohammed Bello, the Executive Secretary Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) Mallam Mohammed Bobboi, and all the CEOs of agencies under the Ministry Communications and Digital Economy, as well as private sector stakeholders.