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Don asks FG to replace imported wheat flour with locally produced flour



Prof Joseph Abu
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***Utilize plant based foods through informed processing

To reduce foreign exchange pressures as well as promote local content, President Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) Professor Joseph Abu has urged asked the Federal Government to replace imported wheat flour with locally produced flour sources at the appropriate optimal levels for various wheat-based products like bread and cakes
Prof Abu who gave the indication recently when he delivered the 47th Inaugural Lecture of Jiseph Sarwaun Tarka University, Makurdi (Firmer University of Agriculture Makurdi) also urged the Federal Government to promote the utilization of plant based foods through informed processing to minimize or eliminate antinutrients, enhance nutrition and promote health.
The lecture which centered on Prof. Abu’s contributions to the field of Food Science and Technology together with his students efforts also emphasized the need to promoted general value addition to plant-based foods so as to enhance their safety.
He explained the complexities of plant food resources through the application of low to high technology processing for various purposes saying the target ultimately is to ensure the provision of wholesome, safe, affordable and adequate nutrition of the masses.

“Compared to animal food products, not only are plant-based foods more environmentally friendly to produce, they are less capital intensive to invest in.
“However, plant-based foods are non-uniform and complex in nature, requiring diligent understanding of their intricacies, functionalities as well as application of appropriate processing technologies for their optimal utilization for food and nutrition security.
“Plant-based foods remain the most affordable and healthy option for majority of people living in the developing regions of the globe.
“As no single plant-based food is rich in all essential nutrients (macro and micro), consumption of multiple plant-based foods at any given meal time rather than just one, is expedient as this guarantees compensation for nutrient shortcomings.”
This he said is critical for proper and adequate nutrition of the populace.

Professor Abu also urged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency inaugurate and fund the Nigerian Council of Food Science and Technology (NiCFoST) signed into law since October, 2019 but yet to be inaugurated to enable proper regulation of the practice and profession of Food Science and Technology.
As a follow up to that, he urged the Federal Government to adequately equip and create a Centre to run the pilot plant and postgraduate laboratories as well as the biscuit and confectionery factory to function as is the case in Makerere University and elsewhere.
He said it is expedient to complete abandoned projects such as the auditorium at College of Food Technology & Human Ecology (CFTHE), sports facilities, burnt down structures around staff quarters.
For more improvement in academics he said there should be consistency in the enforcement to employ first class graduates in their respective Departments.
The professor of Food Science and Technology said deployment of credible and steady ICT in all spheres of the University administration including fees, transcripts, registration, examination computation and library services is very crucial
He asked that funds be provided as publication subsidy for academic publications in credible, approved peer-reviewed journals for academics in partnership with development partners such as TETFund.

Prof. Joseph Oneh Abu is from Aiugbe, Otukpa, Ogbadibo LGA of Benue State but was born in Otukpo, Benue State on 3rd April, 1970.
He attended Central Primary School and St. Francis College, both in Otukpo, Benue State. Prof. Abu obtained the BSc (Second Class, Upper Division) and MSc degrees in Food Science and Technology, from the University of Agriculture, Makurdi (UAM).
In 2005, he earned a PhD in Food Science from the University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa courtesy of a DAAD, Germany scholarship and study leave from UAM.
He was a postdoctoral Fellow at Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa between 2006 and 2008 as well as a visiting Scientist at Fraunhofer, IVV, Freising, Germany in 2003.
Prof. Abu joined the services of the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Nigeria over 30 years ago as Graduate Assistant and rose through the ranks to the rank of Professor in 2014. He has published research articles in several peer-reviewed academic journals in Nigeria and beyond.

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Science and Technology

How Intel AI Programme is Propeling African DeepTech Ecosystem in Collaborative Success




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Intel and AfriLabs have celebrated the successful conclusion of the Intel AI Programme for African DeepTech Startups & Ecosystem Stakeholders.

This is coming on the heels of collaborative effort to drive innovation and foster growth in Africa’s DeepTech ecosystem
The event which took place in Abuja from March 5th to 7th, 2024, will serve as a pivotal platform for stakeholders to explore the transformative potential of DeepTech across the continent.

The event, organized by AfriLabs in collaboration with Intel, aimed to propel growth and innovation in Nigeria’s DeepTech ecosystem. Participants from diverse backgrounds including government officials, industry experts, startups, developers, and ecosystem stakeholders convened to explore the challenges, opportunities, and prospects of DeepTech in Africa.

The event commenced with opening remarks from esteemed government officials and representatives from Intel and AfriLabs.
Director of Government Affairs Africa and IGA CTO Liaison at Intel, Dr. Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo, set the stage with an insightful presentation on the socio-economic and policy implications of DeepTech in Africa.
This was followed by a thought-provoking panel discussion featuring high-level representatives from the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Intel, and other industry partners, moderated by Jennifer Okeke-Ojiudu, Senior Ecosystem Engagements Manager at AfriLabs.
The session provided valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities facing the DeepTech ecosystem in Africa. Finally, day one culminated with a High-Level Roundtable Discussion on AI Policy, facilitated by Dr. Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo of Intel, engaging the Director-General of the National Centre for Technology Management, other Government Officials and AI Ecosystem Stakeholders.

Day two of the event focused on empowering startups, developers, and innovation hubs with the tools and resources needed to thrive in the AI landscape. Highlights included an introduction to the Intel® Liftoff for AI Startups Program, presentations on the Intel Developer Cloud and OneAPI initiative, and valuable lessons learned from industry experts. The day concluded with presentations from leading innovation hubs, further enriching the discourse on DeepTech entrepreneurship and innovation in Nigeria.

The final day of the event centered on building vibrant startup communities and fostering collaboration among ecosystem stakeholders. Keynote addresses by notable figures such as Ajibola Odukoya, Chief Operating Officer at AfriLabs, and Dr. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director-General of NITDA, set the tone for engaging discussions on the role of government in driving innovation in Africa. Presentations from various innovation hubs underscored the importance of community-building and collaboration in nurturing Africa’s burgeoning DeepTech ecosystem.

Director-General of NITDA, Dr. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, emphasized the importance of collaboration and shared vision in his address: “When I learned of the aims and objectives of this workshop, my enthusiasm for our ecosystem was truly ignited. At NITDA, we firmly believe that no single entity can navigate this landscape alone; collective effort is imperative.
Our vision for Nigeria is one of digital empowerment, innovation-driven prosperity, and inclusive economic growth fostered by technology. The global AI race has commenced, and the nation’s leading it will shape the future. Africa, with its abundant talent and youthful population, is poised to play a significant role. In Nigeria, our path is clear: AI is our journey, our goals are defined, and our determination is unwavering.”

Reflecting on the event’s success, Anna Ekeledo, Executive Director at AfriLabs, remarked, “This collaboration has provided a platform for meaningful engagement, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration, laying the groundwork for future innovation and growth across Africa.”

As the curtains close on the Intel AI Programme for African DeepTech Startups & Ecosystem Stakeholders, the legacy of collaboration, innovation, and empowerment lives on. Looking ahead, the journey continues as Africa’s DeepTech community embarks on a path of growth, resilience, and boundless possibilities.

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KUST develops robotic machine for domestic chores




The Varsty's main gate
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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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