Nigeria has been urged to explore and use Artificial Intelligence (AI) in bolstering productivity in critical sectors of the Nation’s economy, as the world increasingly leverages cutting-edge technology in shaping lives and businesses.

The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa made the call while delivering a Keynote Address on “Artificial Intelligence: Effective Communication for National Security” at the 2023 Security and Spokespersons Awards and Conference held in Abuja.

According to the DG, Artificial Intelligence is already changing daily lives, almost entirely in ways that improve human health, safety and productivity. Thus, AI is beyond a tool, as it is a new way of building a relationship between humans and machines.

“In building that relationship, we need to look beyond just having a tool we use for our daily activities and start thinking in the direction of developing a system that can help meet certain human needs,” Inuwa said.

He noted countries around the world are making efforts toward deciphering the functionalities of artificial intelligence and coming up with policies and putting standards in place to ensure they are AI-ready countries, and so Nigeria cannot take the back seat.

The DG disclosed that Nigeria is looking at three perspectives; having AI-ready principles, data and AI-ready security. Meaning, that the country should have redlines that AI must not cross. To achieve this, he said Nigeria started a journey by crowdsourcing on how to build a National AI Policy with the first draft ready.

He added that based on President Bola Tinubu’s directive, a research has been launched, where the country is offering a grant to forty-five Nigerians to research Artificial Intelligence that will get feedback on how to use AI in Health, Education, Agriculture, Finance, Security and many more.

“We have given up to a million to each researcher because we want to co-create and design the policy collaboratively, not the government using armchair theories to come up with the policies, we need everybody to be onboard,” he disclosed.


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