The Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, has said that the proposed Information and Communications Technology (ICT) University would kick off in September this year.
According to him, government is prepared to use ICT to foster youth empowerment and development through loans, sponsorships and financial support, among other schemes, to encourage business ideas.
The minister made this disclosure at a lecture titled “Jobs Nowhere But Jobs Everywhere: ICT To the Rescue of Unemployed Youths and Graduates” at the Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, at the weekend.
He said about 20 million youths and graduates in Nigeria were unemployed but the President Muhammadu Buhari administration would use ICT to leverage on job and wealth creation as a tool in diversifying the Nigerian economy.
Shittu said government has established one form of ICT infrastructure or the other across the six geopolitical zones and the plan to build a national ICT park and exhibition centre in Abuja as part of preparations for the Fourth Industrial Revolution was on course. The minister disclosed that government plans to “build a $1 billion ICT company” to boost indigenous technology.
Elaborating on the planned ICT University, Shittu said, “We already have the Digital Bridge Institute, which is for short-term training programmes, in six locations across the country and we will transform this institute into the ICT University of Nigeria. This unique university would, by God’s grace, take off effectively in September 2017 and would be run as a public-private partnership with the best business and entrepreneurship models.
“I have engaged with several stakeholders at the international level, Facebook, Motorola, Ericsson and I am still talking to many more stakeholders. We are encouraging them to come and adopt the respective university campuses as their own.
“I am happy to report that this project is receiving global boost and endorsement. The committee set up has been working round the clock on the realisation of this objective, and has indeed submitted its final report. A vice chancellor and other senior officials would soon be appointed.
“The ICT University will be a multi-campus institution of the present Digital Bridge Institute of the Nigerian Communications Commission located in Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Kano, Asaba and Yola.”
Shittu informed his audience that the Federal Government was committed to the development of ICT and that if it succeeded in establishing the proposed ICT University of Nigeria, the country would not only develop world-class capacity, but also reduce the strain on the naira through reduction of foreign currency sourced for the training outside the country.