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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

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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Science and Technology

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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