Over 124million Nigerians are using internet — NITDA

By Dirisu Yakubu & Fortune Eromosele, Abuja

Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, Thursday, said Nigeria must leverage on the opportunities provided by a digital economy for national development.

He said this at the 2021 National ICT and Social Media Summit, organized by the National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN in Abuja, with the theme: “ICT: Use of Social Media for National Integration and Development”.

He noted that Nigeria cannot afford to stay behind a fast growing technological world, adding that a digital economy will provide Nigeria vast opportunities that would not only promote national development and nation building, but also put the nation at the front burner of a digital driven economy.

He said: “The world is changing, and it is characterized by how we live in an increasingly capable system. In the history of mankind it is in this time we have systems doing what only humans can do in terms of making decisions and been creative.

“Today we have systems that are more intelligent than us, that can do more than what we can do. So what can we do? Are we to compete with them? Or are we to augment and use them for our own benefits? We talk about social media, which is one of them.

“Today social media is leveraging on our weakest points. social media is driven by algorithm, the algorithm was designed to learn about us, predict what we are going to do and even tell us what to do, that means it is taking advantage of our psychology.

“We need to know how to live with this system. Secondly there are increasingly integrated technology, what we should look at is how to harness these platforms to grow the economy and promote nation building.”

He further stated that youths remain the greatest resources any nation, family, society can have, saying that building capacity of the Nigerian youths, should remain a priority, as a rejected prospective youths is at the detriment of the nation.

“We crafted a strategic roadmap and action plan 2021-2024 and the strategy is anchored on certain strategic pillars. The first is capacity building. When we say capacity building we are talking about digital economy.

“We are talking about knowledge based economy. The youths are our greatest resources in this country, because we have extraordinary people among them. We want them to be creating extraordinary jobs, products and services,” he stressed.

Delivering his goodwill message, Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, said the NYCN, compliments the Ministry’s efforts in the implementation of the National Youth Policy.

He added that there is need to harness the creative nature of youths for national growth and development, maintaining that there is also need to encourage them to harness opportunities for positive use.

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He cautioned the populace against using social media to bring strife and disunity, but instead they should use it to promote unity and tranquility.

“Social media helps to facilitate the sharing of ideas and has had a positive impact in the society, therefore making it an essential part of modern life.

“The ministry will continue to advocate for constructive use of the social media for social integration and nation building. I plead with the Nigerian youth to make good use of social media as a tool for promoting peace and unity,” he said.

In his remarks, Vice President of NYCN North Central Zone, Amb. Akoshile Mukhtar, said a country that will build youths will build the nation, and a country that will destroy the youths will destroy the nation.

He opined that the nation should harness social media for national integration and development. “National integration is the bringing together the different groups that comprise the entity called Nigeria around consensus issues, to achieve a common goal of development.

“It is finding the glue that holds our diverse peoples together in defining our role as citizens and making unified standard demands of the Government.”

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