The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on Thursday promised to partner with the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ), FCT Council on digital literacy and skill acquisition in Nigeria through interventions in the areas of ICT deployments.
The Director-General of the agency, Malam Kashifu Abdullahi, made this known when the executive officers of the NUJ FCT council led by Chairman, Emmanuel Ogbeche visited him in his office in Abuja.
Abdullahi said the partnership will help re-orient Nigerians on the relevance of digital technology for sustainable social and economic development.
”NITDA is focusing on building a national digital economy, hence the need to develop the digital skills of Nigerians to prepare them for decent work in the future.
”The media is key to achieving our mandate. The media can create awareness on digital literacy as it will help the nation navigate the aftermath of the COVID-19.
“To survive and thrive in the post-pandemic, there is need to reassess and redefine value proposition through digital literacy,’’ he said.
Earlier, the NUJ chairman, Ogbeche said that the visit was hinged on the councils’ desire to build partnerships with key institutions of government such as NITDA.
He said that the visit was timely since the coronavirus pandemic has exposed the urgency of digital literacy and skills in the country.
Ogbeche said Nigeria was blessed with ”brimming talents” eager to explore the digital space, but require tailored made digital training and IT hubs to scale up their startups.
“The NUJ notes that the NITDA under your watch has supported over 240 startups, but we are confident that you can do better.
“We wish to note that the COVID-19 has exposed Nigeria’s vulnerability in the digital market place as we grapple to hold virtual meetings and ensure that millions of children attend online classes.
“It is on this premise that I wish to urge your good offices on the need to embed digital literacy in our primary school curriculum. Catching them young is our guarantee to effectively compete in the digital sphere.
“If we give pupils the skills needed as a foundation for mastering breakthroughs offered by, for example, artificial intelligence, we will as a country earn much more revenue even than crude,’’ he said.
Ogbeche said that the media and the NUJ was a critical tool in reaching Nigerians and working with critical stakeholder in advancing your vision and mission for Nigeria and Nigerians.
“It is in this regard that I wish to appeal that journalists in the FCT should be included in digital skills and literacy trainings.
“Experience has shown that a digitally skilled journalist is prone to less sensationalism and factually incorrect reportage,’’ he said.
“We hear that over 25,000 Nigerians have benefitted from the NITDA’s digital literacy and skills initiative this year notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic, with some of our members inclusive, but we ask for more slots,’’ he said.