By Rabiyat Usman, Abuja:
The acting President Yemi Osinbajo has thrown his weight for use of new ICT concept, smart city in governance and other spheres. Launching a project on “Leveraging on Technology Solutions to improve Efficiency of Cities” is one that is enthralling”, Osinbajo said “the world, as we know, is experiencing a shift from the traditional ways of doing things to a more ICT-driven approach where government and city administrators are forced to use technology to shape policy, make informed decisions and deliver quality public services”.
The Minister of communication Adebayo Shittu in his speech at the opening ceremony of the Smart Cities Nigeria Summit recently in Abuja stated that; “ with the development of new technological innovations -mainly ICTs- the concept of the “Smart City” has emerged as a means to achieve more efficient and sustainable cities. Since its conception, the Smart City notion has evolved from the execution of specific projects to the implementation of global strategies to tackle wider city challenges”. He said “the project would assist the federal government to develop practical steps and solutions that would bring together areas traditionally viewed as separate: energy and mobility, government and health, education and environment”. He stated that “the Muhammadu Buhari administration through the Ministry of Communications, has developed cogent policies, frameworks and guidelines for combating the challenges faced in the urban centres”. Shittu said “We know that cities just don’t become ‘smart’. It takes a strategic and integrated planning approach and a comprehensive and high-quality IT infrastructure. It needs to be broad based and holistic. It needs to be a smart revolution”. “In its efforts to diversify the Nigerian economy from oil based to a knowledge-based and sustainable economy, and in line with the mandates of the present administration, the ministry has embraced some landmark activities in the areas of policies, initiatives, infrastructure development and social programs that have resulted in significant achievements”, he added.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Umar Garba Danbatta called for alignment of synergy between the public and private sectors with a view to attaining the goal of smart cities in Nigeria. Danbatta spoke at the Smart Summit while chairing a session to discuss “Building Innovative Public Private Partnerships for Achieving Nigerian Smart Cities Vision “To ensure the deployment of required infrastructure towards meeting the National Broadband Plan objectives as well as building the foundation for smart cities in Nigeria, there is the need for partnerships and collaborations between the public and private sectors,” he said. Danbatta said, “Internet of Things (IOT) is the next big thing in the evolution of the information and communications Technology space,” stressing that IOT is a key aspect of smart cities that Nigeria aims to achieve.
Director Public Affairs NCC, Tony Ojobo, told DAILY ASSET in an interview congratulated the Ministry of Communications and all other sponsors for organizing the programme. He said: “ A month ago in Rwanda, of course Rwanda carried out a smart city innovation roll out. We Nigerians are already on our way there, broadband penetration in Nigeria is 10% but we are targeting 30% or more in 2018”. He added “I am trying to relate smart city with broadband. Talking about smart city, looking at the industry, government, business, e-government, e-health, technology can give life even to the lay man on the street. With technology, for instance can I sit in my house and book my transportation not minding my location in Nigeria, all of these has to be put in consideration.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications, Sonny Echono said “Nigeria needs smart cities that will link infrastructure and innovation to make cities more efficient, safe and conducive for all citizens. For us to be able to achieve this, we need the support and corporation of every citizen, ministry, agency, state government, and the organized private sector to come on board with the Ministry and help us make Nigeria Smarter”.
Among the dignitaries that attended the event were Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, Governor of Nasarawa State, Muhammad Musa, Minister of FCT, Aminu Bello Masari Governor of Katsina;Isa Ibrahim Pantami, DG NITDA, Yusuf Kazaure MD/CEO Galaxy Back bone Ltd, Tank LI Managing Director, Huawei Nigeria, Dipo Faulkner, Country General Manager, IBM, West Africa, Mrs Monilola Udoh, Director Ministry