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FG partners NCS to boost artificial intelligence



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From Daniel Abogonye

The Federal Government has made commitment to partner Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) to promote research on artificial intelligence (AI) in order to catch-up with other developed Nations.

Minister of Communication and Digital Economy Prof. Isa Pantami, made the disclosure on Thursday in Lafia, Nasarawa State at the maiden summit on AI organised by NCS.

The Minister was represented at the occasion by Director-General, National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Yaa’u Garba.

Prof. Pantami commended NCS for organising the summit in an area he described as the most facinating technological development in the world today.

He said the event which was apt and timely, provided a platform for discussion of a roadmap for the adoption of AI in public and private organisations.

“It will also help to provide guidelines for rapid development using the emerging technology for the benefit of the country.

Artificial Intelligence is offering a new way of living and is creating unprecedent opportunity for humanity in all sectors,” he added.

According to the minister all countries over the world embrace artificial intelligence to enhance their efficiency, productivity and competitiveness.

“Artificial Intelligence has the potential to analyse and ensure progress in health, education, communication, social protection, transport and engineering system.

He added that artificial intelligence can also increase productivity of science as it was evidence at the peak of coronavirus pandemic.

He added that on its effort to promote research on AI, the FG through National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) established National Centre for Artificial Intelligence.

He therefore commended the society for the summit and promised to partner them and other stakeholders toward promoting research on it to help address some challenges facing the country.

Earlier, President of NCS Prof Adesina Sodiya, said the summit was an initiative by them to contribute toward addressing national challenges using artificial intelligence technology.

He explained that AI has helped many countries of the world in making significant progress in different areas hence the need for Nigeria to also embrace it.

The President of NCS added that adopting AI in public and private sector would help in policy better formulation and tackle corruption among others.

On his part, Gov. Abdullahi Sule represented by his deputy, Dr Emmanuel Akabe, said AI is presenting opportunity for breakthroughs and problem solving in all sectors.

Gov. Sule added that the state government had invested a lot in Information Communication Technology with a view of digitalising government’s activities.

Sule said the state government would partner NCS to train civil servants in the state on AI.

The event had in attendance delegates from academia, captains of industry, students, government’s representatives across the 36 states and federal capital territory.

The theme of the summit is artificial intelligence for National Development

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Science and Technology

KUST develops robotic machine for domestic chores




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The Kano State University of Science and Technology (KUST) Wudil has developed a robotic machine that enables staff to carry out domestic chores like cleaning, sweeping and knighting in the institution.

The vice chancellor of the university, Professor Musa Yakasai while addressing newsmen indicated that the robotic machine is meant to assist the staff in discharging their duties optimally.

He said the new crave by the institution managers is to greatly improve on Artificial Intelligence and Information Technology utilization to allow students to fully utilize technology and be part of the Global IT transformation.

According to him, the robot had already been tested and is working optimally according to the design.

He said the university is poised to creating many types of machines that will help reduce the workload of the institution.

While explaining further the vice chancellor said the newly-renovated library had the capacity of seating over 500 students and was fully connected to the internet and other IT materials.

Professor Yakasai said though the university had created an e-library that is fully functional, students are encouraged to continue with the normal library system for improved reading culture

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NIMC Self Service App launched recently poses no threat of data breach, says expert




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The Self Service application recently launched by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Barnksforte Technology Limited, an indigenous Technology company has reassured Nigerians of the formidable security features embedded in the application.

This is coming against the backdrop of needless concerns raised in some quarters regarding the safety of the application

The Chief Executive Officer, Barnksforte Technology Limited, Mr Dayo Bankole, allayed fears generated on the application, noting that necessary security measures had been put in place to ensure that the integrity of the application was thorough, with no gaps for security breach or compromise.

According to him, the self-service mobile application, which is a giant stride in digitalization of biometrics enrollment, was developed by NIMC in partnership with Barnksforte Technologies Limited, a local ICT company.

He said it was unfortunate that some persons for selfish reasons would discredit such a laudable innovation that had the capacity to change the narrative across Africa and the world at large.

He further said the narrative that Nigeria’s database would be compromised by foreigners using the the self service application was not only mischievous but an attempt to undermine NIMC’s capability.

He assured Nigerians that their biometrics were safe, adding that the choice of the current NIMC director general, an expert with proven years of experience was not a mistake.

Bankole expressed disappointment with masterminds of the wrong reports about the effort of government to place Nigeria on world stage in terms of technological advancement.

He said rather than carry out due diligence on the features of the application before going public, they were quick to put out reports to dissuade Nigerians from keying into the renewed hope agenda of the present government on that regard.

The CEO said if those behind such reports had made enquiries, they would have realised that the application process was only part of the whole package, adding that there was a formidable backend technology to verify every information provided by an applicant.

The technology expert further said that NIMC was collaborating with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and other local technical partners to ensure that one of the basic requirements for enrollment for NIN for diasporans, the international passport number, must be provided by applicants to be able to apply.

“The application is the front end identity solution and all data is sent directly to the NIMC database which is also well secure.

“So, no diasporan will be able to generate NIN without validation from immigration data base through the passport number and this helps with the confirmation that the applicant is a Nigerian citizen.

“NASDRA, a Pakistani technology company is behind the identity of Nigeria as a country and they have lunched the self service for their Diasporans about 2years ago after the lunch of contactless by the then President through the Minister of Digital Economy and they are doing well,”he said.

He said beyond the provision of international passports, there were multiple layers of safety measures like data encryption being deployed to prevent security breach if any.

Bankole said “To guarantee the safety of the application, the necessary physical, technical and administrative controls have been implemented.

“These essential measures serve as defence against myriads of threats, creating protective fortress for the platform.”

The technology expert further said the application was designed with strict adherence to the provisions of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Regulation on data protection and data privacy in Nigeria, following the business requirements of NIMC.

He explained that contrary to the belief in some quarters that no country had explored self service mobile application before now, countries like India and Pakistan had deployed the technology.

Bankole said the application would give applicants the opportunity to enroll, modify, validate, and obtain digital Identity adding that in addition to other details, another basic requirement for successful application was facial capturing, adding that none of the applications would pull through without it.

He stressed that the application also had features that allowed for certain checks and balances such as eliminating multiple registration.

“The Self Service mobile application was designed in strict adherence to the data security and data protection law, with the National Space Research and Development Agency(NASDRA) managing NIMC’s back end.

“So, Nigerians do not have anything to fear as all security concerns were put into consideration while designing the application,”he said

Bankole commended President Bola Tinubu and the Acting Director General of NIMC, Abisoye Coker-Odusote for rolling out the initiative as part of the new administration’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

According to him, it is not an accident that Nigeria is gifted with a selfless president, who would stop at nothing to ensure that Nigeria competed favourable among the comity of nations.

He said with the application, Nigerians in the Diaspora would not require to travel back to Nigeria to enroll, modify, validate or obtain digital Identity.

He also added that the application eliminates the bottlenecks around delays in the enrolment process and modification of the NIN, thereby increasing the turnaround time for applications.

Bankole said while the self service mobile application was designed for Nigerians in the Diaspora, there was agent based solution designed for Nigerians within the country,

“The application among its numerous benefits would help liberate Nigerians in the Diaspora from extortion and racketeering, while creating room for NIMC to generate foreign exchange, which would go into the government’s coffers.

“A London based Nigerian commended the initiative while recalling that he had paid 120 dollars to registere his NIN and later paid for verification,”he said.

On the enrollment process, the technology expert said the process was seamless once downloaded from Google Play Store or IOS.

Other steps according to him are authentication, adding that “those with NIN, it is the key to access the self-service enrollment.

“Those without NIN are accommodated through secure emails, adjusting the process accordingly.

“The process entails one device, one enrollment for enhanced security and it is to prevent multiple enrollments on a single device.

“In view of that we have fortified the application with security measures, preserving its integrity and thwarting fraudulent activities.

“There is also dual authentication for comprehensive security

“It is Our two-factor authentication and approvals, using Contactless Face Biometric and Contactless Finger Biometric, enhance security and user authenticity.

He further said, another feature is the provision of international passport number, adding that” Diasporan adults use their Nigerian International Passport numbers as crucial identifiers, streamlining the process.

“The integration with the Nigerian Immigration Service via secure APIs bolsters this method’s accuracy.

“There is also provision for child enrollment. So enrolling Diasporan children is thoughtfully designed.

“Here, parents with NIN play a pivotal role and integration with the NPC ECRVS system ensures additional validation for children.

“Also there is rigorous backend approval for scrutiny and validation

“Our stringent backend approval process ensures thorough scrutiny and validation before granting a valid NIN to Diasporan applicants.

“This combined with existing security measures and guarantees legitimacy.”

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Science and Technology

Artificial intelligence: Spendify Technologies Promote Financial Inclusion in Africa with App




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By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

SPENDIFY Technologies, an online finance technology company has launched a generative Artificial Intelligence product code named “OLA” to address crises arising from limited access to financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Addressing newsmen at a press conference in Lokoja, Mr Philip Etim, founder of Spendify Technologies described “Financial inclusion” as a crucial enabler for the attainment of many of the goals in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He said available data had revealed that approximately 66% of sub-Saharan Africans are considered underserved and have limited access to financial services.

Etim said that the innovation which would also address and general financial exclusion crisis will be utilized on the Spendify mobile app and web platform and useable on personalized individual WhatsApp.

He said that the new features on the Spendify Mobile app reduces the gap by ensuring better money management for all, through educating users on financial literacy.

The situation, according to him, exacerbates poverty, hampers personal financial management and hinders economic growth at large and on the short and long run.

He said that the application which helps individuals to manage their little available resources effectively with budgeting, tracking expenses and income and investment targets people from all social strata including students.

“The application features a chat-based platform, budget manager, in-built financial educator and an Artificial intelligence (AI) tool that detects spending trends and alerts users on deviations from their budget.

“In this current state of high inflation and high cost of living, with the use of spendify mobile applications on your phone, be it android, iOS and web, one can easily budget, tracks expenses and income, get reminders on outstanding bills or debts and get real-time reports by simply asking to OLA”, he said.

Etim stressed that the Spendify Mobile app is user-friendly, and can be downloaded across all devices adding that the app’s cloud-based architecture ensures users’ data is encrypted and stored safely in the cloud.

“The app offers much more than just expense tracking. It enables users to change their financial habits, monitor their financial status, personalized advice, receive financial tips and performance reports to aid their journey towards financial stability.

Ameh Friday Onuche, co-founder and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of the company, also speaking, stated that the Fintech company was pioneering personal financial management features by utilizing generative artificial intelligence.

Onuche said that the AI is being used to bridge significant disparities in the field of personal finance adding that this innovative approach sets Spendify apart as the first Fintech organization to offer such comprehensive capabilities.

Ayodele Aransiola, Product Manager and the Developer Advocate, in his remarks said, “Our mission is to remove the obstacles that prevent individuals from efficiently handling their finances.”

“We understand the challenges posed by managing multiple apps, dealing with high costs, and lacking essential financial knowledge. By addressing these barriers, we empower individuals to effectively manage their money and achieve financial well-being”.

The mission of Spendify Technologies is to increase financial inclusion and literacy, and improve users’ financial habits, commitment, and control. A personal financial infrastructure for underserved in Africa, promoting financial literacy and inclusion.

Spendify Technologies, which completed the 2020 Forbes Digital Startup Accelerator Program, was founded by seasoned professionals with years of experience in finance and software infrastructure development. (Ends)

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