NEDC Graduates Trainees, Keys Into ICT National Agenda
By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
North East Development Commission (NEDC) has said that it has keyed into the national agenda for information and communication technology (ICT) with a view to improve access to IT in the zone as a deliberate effort to bring it out of its lowest rank in ICT, among other zones of the country.
The commission’s managing director, Mohammed Alkali said that the move was to fast-track development and resuscitate the economy in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the present administration.
Alkali explained at the NEDC commissioning of its Bauchi Resource Centre, Graduation of trainees and distribution of items over the weekend, that it recognized technology as critical to developing an inclusive, knowledge-driven and prosperous economy.
According to him, the NEDC – ICT programme is to improve access to IT resources within the North-East zone and empower the population with the necessary vocational education, skills and tools that can make them self-reliant.
He said that the commission initially embarked on resuscitation of 3 ICT Entrepreneurship centres based in Yola, Waka-Biu and Gashua in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states respectively for training to the youths, thereafter established 3 new centres one each in Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba.
Alkali said however that the commission was surprised when it advertised for admission where 61, 026 candidates applied, but only 1, 200 were admitted, attributable to the present carrying capacity of the six centres, saying out of the number, 176 trainees are from Bauchi state.
“Another set of 1, 200 candidates were invited to participate in the second batch of training commencing soon across the six states of the North-East zone. Due to importance of ICT, the commission also planned to replicate additional ICT Resource Centres in all the 18 senatorial district in the zone”.
He congratulated the 176 successful graduands as the first set of NEDC ICT training beneficiaries, saying been fully equipped with ICT skills of computer graphics and cell phone repairs, each one of them will be kitted with a free starter packs and N20, 000 to enable them hit the ground running.
“We hope that the Entrepreneurship and ICT training you acquired will not only empower you as individuals, but also turn you into employers of labour soon. Because of the premium we place on your empowerment and self-reliance, the commission will monitor your progress to reward those that may fare well on their jobs”.
Alhaji Alkali appealed to Governor Bala Mohammed to encourage and further support the successful sons and daughters of Bauchi state by allocating strategic business premises to them for the next two years to enable them commence their vocational seamlessly.
He recalled that at the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, NEDC sensitized public on dangers of the contagious disease as it provided food to cushion the effects of lockdown, and provided diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic facilities, consumables and other supplies across the Northeast zone.
“The commission donated personal protection equipment (PPE), hospital beds, ventilators, ambulances, COVID-19 laboratory facilities, among others, to all the six state governments, as well as Federal Tertiary Health Institutions in the North East zone”.
Alkali also said that the commission is supporting the efforts of Bauchi state government with the donation of some items to boost personal protection against COVID-19 especially among children in both public and private schools, security agencies and National Union of Road Transport Workers.
They include 10, 000 and 5, 000 pieces of branded face masks for public and private primary schools respectively, 4, 000 branded masks for military and other security agencies.
Also provided by the commission are 5, 000 branded face masks for Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), 100 pieces of Infrared Thermometers for primary schools and 2, 000 pieces of hand sanitizers.
The commission is also extending its gesture to the education sector in Bauchi state by providing 10, 000 blankets to public boarding schools, 60, 000 exercise books to public schools, 20, 000 exercise books to private schools.
Other provisions by the commission are some building materials such as roofing sheets, woods, nails, and food items among others to victims of last year’s flood disaster in Giade LGA of the state.
On agriculture, the managing director disclosed that the commission is rolling out its Integrated Agriculture Programme involving the provision of agricultural machinery and equipment, seeds, fertilizers, agrochemicals and other logistics to enhance the production capacity of smallholder farmers in the Northeast to enable them improve their livelihoods.
Commissioning the Bauchi NEDC – ICT Resource Centre, Governor Bala Mohammed gave each of the 176 State graduands the sum of N50, 000 as a token appreciation for that the commission has done to build the capacity and set-up capital of the graduands.
He noted that this support is minimal as, according to him, the state government will monitor and evaluate their performance with a view to take them to any level of capitalization as affordable to them.
Senator Bala Mohammed, said that Bauchi has a place called ‘Container’ given to young people to display their skills and potentials based on innovation and invention.
“I’m therefore calling on all the graduands of the commission’s ICT Centre to partner with our young men that we have already provided spaces, where the spaces are not enough as far our call, we are going to give more”, he assured.
He described Information Communication Technology (ICT) as a new age in governance, hence its development by President Muhammadu Buhari is the only way to provide the required national digital economy.
The Governor noted that the establishment of Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy drives the point that technology, especially ICT is the panacea in terms of governance management and skills acquisition.
Mohammed hold the view that the establishment of the Resource centre in Bauchi would enable the state government partner with the federal government and the commission in particular.
He also observed that with the establishment of the NEDC despite all odds and impediments, President Buhari has written his name in gold, and prayed that the commission would not go the way of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) beclouded by financial irregularities and recklessness.
Governor Bala similarly noted with satisfaction that the rolling out of laudable projects and programmes by the commission has made states in the zone proud, stressing that its transparency, science and technology, and knowledge-driven initiatives have positive impact on the lives of the people in the zone.
Bauchi also commended the commission for its integrated agricultural policy involving the provision of agricultural machineries and equipment, seeds, fertilizers, agrochemicals and other logistics to enhance production capacity of smallholder farmers in the zone to enable them improve their livelihood.