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NCS President Canvasses for Technology-Driven Economy

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Prof. Adesola Aderounmu, President, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), has called on the Federal Government to raise modern manpower that could sustainably drive the nation’s economy.

 

Prof. Aderounmu made this call recently while giving Keynote Address at the first International Conference on ICT for National Development and its Sustainability organised by the Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences, University of Ilorin, to mark its 10th anniversary.

 

In his lecture, entitled “Leveraging ICT for National Development and its Sustainability”, the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), he lamented that the country’s economy has not fully embraced technology as its driving force.

 

Prof. Aderounmu said that nearly 90% of technologies used in Nigeria are imported despite the huge knowledge infrastructure of 162 legally recognized universities, 125 polytechnics and more than 500 agencies.

 

The NCS President said, “It is sad that after 58 years of independence, Nigeria had failed to come up with neither a globally recognized company nor product originating from Nigerian indigenous technology because the national economy had not been technology-driven”.

 

He then called on the Federal Government to develop the Information Technology Industry through research centres, technology parks and incubators, provision of reliable and affordable infrastructure and provision of fiscal incentives for indigenous software developers.

 

He further suggested that the government could develop the sector through the creation of a special fund to assist start-up businesses as well as grow existing developers, enactment of a law that mandates MDAs to patronize indigenous software while mandating the immediate implementation of the approved Scheme of service for IT professionals.

 

While recommending that priority should be given to registered IT professional in the award of IT contracts in the country, Prof. Aderounmu equally tasked the academia to promote productive collaborations and partnerships both internal and external and create learning opportunities for the students.

 

He said, “The system of mentoring, apprenticeship and tutelage, which existed in the past should be re-introduced and strengthened.

“Split-site arrangements should be encouraged to enable young researchers to be acquainted with new trends, globally. Spend a considerable portion of its yearly budget on global promotion activities”

 

Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, Vice-Chancellor, University of Ilorin, while declaring the conference open, assured the participants that the University would do everything possible to ensure conferences are successfully held in the institution.

 

He submitted that conferences are crucial to the students’ development and growth as it gives them exposure and cross-fertilization of ideas, adding that students should be invited in large numbers to attend conferences.

 

Prof. Abdulkareem revealed that discussion is ongoing to mobilize the Faculty leaders and talented students to work together to house the University’s ICT incubation room so that the entire University processes could be automated.

 

He also disclosed that facilities required in improving ICT research activities for staff and postgraduate students have been identified.

 

Dr. Rasheed Gbenga Jimoh, Ag. Dean Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences, In his welcome address, explained that the conference received over 100 articles from over 41 different academic institutions nationally and abroad cutting across computing, library and information science, telecommunication science, mass communication and media technology, information and cyber security and information technology.

 

Dr. Jimoh said that a major hindrance to national policy implementation is lack of full integration of ICT, which he submitted, has prevented the nation from being able to retrieve vital information for effective decision making.

 

He said, “The Faculty under my leadership is therefore committed to doing everything possible to assist the University to realize her dream of becoming a citadel of learning to be reckoned globally with full integration of ICT”.

 

Awards were later presented to some distinguished Nigerians for outstanding services.

 

Notable among the recipients were former Vice-Chancellors of the University, Prof. Shuaibu Oba Abdulraheem (OFR), Prof. Is-haq O. Oloyede (OFR), and Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON); as well as the incumbent Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem’ the Aragbiji of Iragbiji, Osun State, HRM Oba Abdur-Rasheed Ayotunde Olabomi.

 

Other awardees are Former Deans of the Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences, Dr. Omenogo Mejabi, Prof. Lenrie Aina and Prof. Joseph Sadiku; as well as the pioneer Head of the Department of Mass Communication, late Nureni Doyin Mahmoud were also awarded at the Gala Night that marked the end of the conference

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OAU, Unilag students win BlueChip Inter-Campus Machine Learning competition

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Mr Bayo Adekanmbi, convener, Data Science Nigeria and some of the Winners at the Inter-campus Machine Learning competition.

After an intensive 5-day learning bootcamp, Olajide Abdulrazzaq Folarin (from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State), Sadiq Aderinto and Stanley Obumneme Dukor (both of the University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos) jointly won the first Inter-Campus Machine Learning competition.

 

Sponsored by Bluechip Technologies and organised by Data Science Nigeria, the three first-place winners individually earned the highest score for machine learning algorithm development.

 

The bootcamp was facilitated by 11 visiting international experts in artificial intelligence, 5 online tutors and 15 Nigerian-based business leaders.

 

More than 10,000 students from 95 campuses participated in the 4-stage competition. It included a pre-qualification pre-study, a quiz, a Kaggle competition and a validation call.

 

The top 85 students competed at the 5-day all-expenses-paid bootcamp at the Peninsula Resort, Lekki-Ajah Expressway, Lagos, from 10-14 October 2018.

 

At the bootcamp, the students were immersed in intensive sessions of theoretical learning, use case applications, face-to-face teaching, virtual online classes, and a hands-on hackathon using the newly launched Zindi platform for real-time model evaluation.

 

Distinguished data scientists from leading global institutions including Google’s AI Lab, GitHub, MIIA and Bankable Frontiers Associate, USA facilitated the sessions.

 

Leading executives from the Nigerian banking, telecommunications, energy, and investment sectors shared their invaluable contextual insights with the students.

 

The Inter-Campus Machine Learning competition strives to increase Nigeria’s experience and expertise in data science and to enhance the opportunities and employability of Nigerian students through an incentivized exposure to advanced world-class knowledge.

 

Data Science is now the world’s no. 1 career, and is critical to high-impact transformation and innovation in Nigeria and worldwide.

 

In order to ensure the maximum inclusive participation, all the participants who travelled to the bootcamp from outside Lagos received full travel grant, while 10 additional special provisions were made for ladies who did not meet the cut-off selection mark.

 

The bootcamp included participants from all six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.

 

Mr Bayo Adekanmbi, convener, Data Science Nigeria, in his welcome speech, said, “in our quest to play big in the Artificial Intelligence space, we must raise our game and combine the best of theoretical knowledge and real use cases with solution orientation, hence our tutorial approach of having world-class experts from leading AI centres in the world and local business leaders at the bootcamp”.

 

Olumide Soyombo, the co-founder of Bluechip Technologies Limited, shared Bluechip’s 10-year story and inspired the participants about the possibilities of artificial intelligence and how the students could leverage their knowledge to become technology entrepreneurs.

 

A group photograph of facilitators and participants at the Inter-campus Machine Learning competition.

 

Mr. Soyombo emphasized the importance of collaborative learning, network building and high-quality solution orientation.

 

He said, “We are proud to sponsor the 1st ever Intercampus Machine Learning Competition as part of our 10th anniversary, which is a demonstration of our commitment to knowledge development, especially in strategic areas like AI which will shape the future and make the world a better place”.

 

Kazeem Tewogbade, the managing director of Bluechip Technologies Limited, said “Bluechip Technologies is excited to have created a platform that brought together some of the world’s best and Nigeria’s budding talent across over 90 higher institutions.

 

“We are convinced that Nigeria is raising a new breed of experts that will play big on the global space”.

 

Each of the three winners received $1,000 US dollars and an opportunity for a short-term internship at the Bluechip technology firm.

 

In addition, campus volunteers from the universities with the highest number of participants in the pre-qualification process were also rewarded for promoting and mobilizing participation in the competition.

 

The University of Lagos, Ladoke Akintola University Ogbomoso, and the University of Ibadan campus volunteers received N150,000, N100,000 and N50,000 respectively.

 

Some of the speakers at the bootcamp included Matt Grasser, Director, Inclusive Fintech, Bankable Frontiers Associate, USA; Moustapha Cisse PhD, Google AI Lab; Professor Tom Dietterich, Distinguished Professor and Director, Oregon State University and the founder of  BigML; Dr Emmanuel Doro, Principal Data Scientist, Jet.com, USA; Dr Sulaimon Afolabi, Argility, South Africa; Ekow Duker, ex-Chief Analytics Officer of Barclays Africa/MD IxioAnalytics, South Africa;

 

Other were Dr Jacques Ludik, CEO of Cortex Logic, South Africa; Karim Beguir, the founder/CEO of Instadeep AI, London; Omoju Miller PhD, Senior Data Scientist, GitHub, USA; Abiodun Modupe, PhD Researcher, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; Adewale Akinfaderin, Graduate Researcher, FSU & Senior Data Scientist, Lowe’s Inc., USA; Osayi Igharo, Founding and Managing partner, Ripple VC, San Francisco, SA; Robert John, Chief Data Scientist at Enter5ive and.

 

In addition to theoretical and hands-on exploration of topics like Anomaly detection, unsupervised classification, sequential rule mining, Deep Learning theories, Deep learning in Natural language processing; the bootcamp attendees spent time brainstorming on real business problems which were facilitated by the leadership teams of companies like FCMB (credit risk scoring), Terragon Group (AdTech recommendation), Guardian News (recommendation system), Octave Analytics (Financial inclusion geomapping), Axa Mansard (AI for insurance) and Microsoft (possibilities in MS Azure).

 

The bootcamp focused on applying Artificial Intelligence to a real-world problem of financial inclusion in Nigeria.

 

The bootcamp’s Machine Learning Hackathon was based on loan default models for an anonymised real-world dataset of low-income customers and required the participants to use geographical data (longitude and latitude), historical usage and mobile phone behaviour to determine the likely risk of loan defaults, as captured here.

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Groups to Host New Media Conference in Abuja

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Enough is Enough Nigeria, Paradigm Initiative and BudgIT will host the 3rd New Media, Citizens’ and Governance Conference (NMCG) at the NAF Conference Centre Abuja.

 

The Conference, as its name implies, will turn the spotlight on the increasingly important role of new media platforms, including social media, in facilitating discourse between government and the governed, particularly within the African context.

 

The NMCG will convene some of the most important stakeholders in new media and governance to shape conversations and policy on this emerging yet important theme.

 

The former Chairman, Governing Council of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, will be delivering the Keynote address at the NMCG.

 

Odinkalu who is now Senior team manager, Africa Program of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

 

Joining the conversation at NMCG 2018 are fifty-one thought-leaders representing seven African countries.

 

These include Farida Noubremma, outspoken Togolese political activist, Chris Ihidero, writer and filmmaker, Samson Itodo, the convener of #NotTooYoungToRun, and Idayat Hassan of Centre for Democracy and Development West Africa.

 

According to Yemi Adamolekun, Executive Director, Enough is Enough Nigeria, ‘’this year’s conference is well placed to set the agenda for the effective use of new media platforms for strengthening Nigeria’s democratic processes ahead of the 2019 elections.’’

 

Tope Ogundipe, Director of Programs at Paradigm Initiative, stated, ‘’set against the background of tight government control of traditional media in Africa, new media channels are perhaps the remaining independent avenue through which Africans can engage freely with themselves and elected officials, challenging the status quo’’.

 

Gabriel Okeowo, the General Manager of BudgIT, said, ‘’never in the history of mankind have we had the capacity to rapidly engage with each other at such fast speeds.

“New media platforms such as social media gives citizens the capacity to continuously monitor and track the performance of their elected officials thus aiding transparency and open government. ’’

 

The conference will be attended by two hundred and fifty participants and broadcast live to a worldwide audience via the internet.

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Academy Halogen Deepens Cyber Security Conversation with Digitization Confab

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(L-R) Mr Jimi Awosika, Vice Chairman/GMD, Troyka Group; Dr Yemi Ogunbiyi,Pro-Chancellor &Chairman of the Council, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, Vice-Chancellor, OAU, Ile-Ife; Dr Wale Adeagbo, Chief Operating Officer, Academy Halogen; Professor G A Aderounmu, Co-Centre Leader, ACE, OAU, Ile-Ife and Professor Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Chairman, FASMICRO Group, USA at the Knowledge Sharing Session on Cyber Security held in Lagos on Thursday with the theme 'Digitizing Nigeria, A Meeting of Town and Gown' organised by Halogen Academy and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Osun State. Photo credit: Academy Halogen

Academy Halogen, the Halogen School of Security Management & Technology, has emphasized the need to create a clear policy direction for Nigeria’s digital economy to facilitate effective cyber security practice.

 

This is because, in today’s digitized world, cyber security has become a vital component of enterprise risks solution helping organizations to deliver their bottom-line.

 

Dr. Wale Adeagbo, Chief Operating Officer of Academy Halogen, echoed the importance of a strong cyber security policy direction at the opening of a policy development session hosted at the Ikeja GRA, Lagos campus of the institution.

 

Tagged ‘Digitizing Nigeria; A meeting of Town and Gown’, the cyber security policy confab was a joint initiative of Academy Halogen and the ICT-Driven Knowledge Park of the Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU.

 

The Academy Halogen boss described the cyber security knowledge sharing session between industry experts and thought leaders from the academic community as a gathering meant to “trigger vital public discussion on how best to digitize Nigeria for the benefit of commerce and knowledge management”.

 

Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, while delivering his keynote address expressed happiness on the collaboration between his University and Academy Halogen on cyber security knowledge development on one hand and plans to work with Troyka Group on other levels.

 

He noted that OAU now have a sustainable policy of engaging with the community and organizations within the industry towards producing graduates who are both academically sound and industry savvy.

 

Professor Ogunbodede further gave assurance that the cyber security learning session is a product of thoughtfulness between OAU and Academy Halogen for the good of Nigeria.

 

“This is an initiative we are driving together for the benefit of the entire country.

 

“The purpose is not about making money, the purpose is to contribute effectively towards digitizing Nigeria in the area of cyber security”, the Vice-Chancellor said.

 

Speaking earlier, Professor Ganiyu Aderounmu, Co-Centre Leader, OAU ICT Driven Knowledge Park noted that the institution is already bridging knowledge gap between the academic and the industry through collaboration with many corporate big players in the ICT and allied sectors for industrial knowledge transfer to graduates.

 

“At OAU, the ICT-Driven Knowledge Centre is already blocking the leakage of students lacking practical and industry experience.

 

“We have a lot of partners. We are partnering with Academy Halogen to further enhance our growing collaboration in the area of cyber security.

 

“We are committed to stimulating creativity and excellence in research and innovation in ICT”, Professor Aderounmu explained.

 

In his presentation on competencies and requirements in addressing cyber security, Professor Ndubuisi Ekekwe, a Micro Electronics and Medical Robotic Engineering expert added his scholarly perspective to the cyber security discussion and the need for a robust digital policy direction.

 

“The world is made up of numbers. Everything we do as humans is about numbers.

 

“We can reduce frictions in business by deploying right technology. Companies are moving from the physical to the digital realm.

 

“Digitizing Nigeria will bring about a new nexus of opportunities. Our nation will only be bounded by the limitation of the mind”, Professor Ekekwe analyzed.

 

Vice-Chairman Troyka Group, Mr. Jimi Awosika in a presentation tagged ‘Business and the need for safety in an open world’ observed that we now live in an open world full of risks, which requires security and intelligence to survive.

 

“On the part of business and society is the requirement for appreciation of the present danger of the open world and the need to invest not only in these services but more so the propagation of the knowledge that the open world presents for as they say, the panacea for the spread of any communicable disease conditions is knowledge”, he explained

 

In a presentation titled Enterprise Risk in Cyber, Director General, Association of Enterprise Risk Management Professionals (AERMP), Mr. Olayinka Odutola, who stood in for the Association’s President, Mrs Taiwo Ige noted that cyber security is an enterprise risk management issue: not just an information technology issue.

 

Other participants commented on the benefits of digitization to the private sector in terms of collaboration, the need to digitize the Nigerian populace and the lack of central data for quality policy formulation.

 

Academy Halogen’s policy development session is in furtherance of the Academy’s commitment to continuously raise conversation for effective enterprise security risk management and policy formulation.

 

The institution which is reputed to have trained about a million security personnel of various cadres in the Halogen Group’s over 25 years of existence, was formally known as Halogen School of Security Management & Technology, transforming, in a recent re-branding exercise to Academy Halogen.

 

Academy Halogen which offers a wide range of enterprise security risk related certificate, diploma & MBA courses in partnership with top universities like Babcock and Elizade universities, is also deeply involved in capacity development programmes in the area of enterprise security risk management for various corporations, small, medium and top businesses as well as public enterprises, government institutions and security agencies.

 

 

 

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