The director general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, has said nurturing entrepreneurship skills and creating desired social and economic outcomes through the use of ICT among people with special needs is top on NITDA’s agenda.
He made this known at the opening ceremony of a five-day training programme for People Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) at the Enugu State Technology Hub and Youth Innovation Centre, Enugu.
The NITDA boss, represented by the director, corporate planning and strategy department of the agency, Dr Agu Collins Agu, said the aim of empowering persons with special needs is for them to acquire ICT skills, digital literacy and its applications to prop up their relationship with people and the world at large.
He said the five-day training programme is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy being implemented by the agency.
He added the primary purpose of the training programme was geared towards empowering PLWDs through investments in ICT infrastructure, policies and solutions to enable them live productively, and to give them a sense of inclusion in the IT ecosystem, their immediate society and the country at large.
“The objective of the training is to build capacities of people living with disabilities, make them employable and self-reliant in order to have effective economic independence in pursing their livelihoods,” he said.
He added the training will boost all the participants’ digital literacy an d proficiency to efficiently participate in the fast-growing digital economy and entrepreneur ecosystem.
He pointed out the programme is in line with the vision of the minister of communications and digital economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, to ensure the entire citizenry is empowered with Information Technologies (IT) skills through development of a critical mass of IT proficient and globally competitive manpower.
He expressed delight at the theme of the programme “Training in IT and entrepreneurship,” which signifies the need to leverage on entrepreneurial technologies and job creation especially in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He categorically stated that NITDA, through this initiative, has trained over 750 persons across the country and has created over 1000 jobs because the programme which is a ‘train the trainer’ has an exponential ripple effect.
This, he said, necessitated the need for the agency to bring the event to Enugu state with the purpose of using ICT to improve the entrepreneurship skills of persons living with disability in the region.
He averred studies have shown that people with disabilities experience high level of discrimination in the society which consequently effects their social and economic dispositions.
“The training programme will potentially make significant improvements in their lives. It will, no doubt, give them opportunities to enhance their social, cultural, political and economic integration in the society while at the same time, expanding the scope of opportunities available to them,” he added.
He, therefore, urged participants to take the opportunity of the training seriously and make the best use of it to promote innovation and wealth for a sustainable national growth and development.
Earlier, the executive governor of Enugu State, Rt Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, represented by the commissioner for science and technology, Hon Obi Kama, expressed his delight to be part of the laudable training initiated by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, and thanked NITDA for implementing it.
He said massive unemployment due to the post COVID-19 pandemic, has prompted the state government in taking proactive steps in ensuring that youths leverage on the new entrepreneurial and economic opportunities associated with digital economy which led to the establishment of the Enugu State Technology Hub and Youth Innovation Centre.
“It was therefore necessary to empower the PLWDs in the ‘new normal’ situation through capacity building programmes on ICT which will accelerate their opportunities in tapping into the endless possibilities unlocked by digitalization.
“I appreciate the inclusive nature of this training organized by NITDA in bridging the digital divide among PLWDs in the South-East, especially Enugu State. The state government is willing to partner with NITDA by making available an office space for the agency to set up her South-East zonal office” he added.
Other dignitaries present at the event were the special adviser to the executive governor of Enugu State on ICT, Mr Emeka Ani, the Sarikin Hausa of Enugu State, Sarikin Yusuf Sambo II, the coordinator of the non-governmental organization, Helpsfair Foundation, Mrs Sandra Gabriel amongst many others.