The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi has re-emphasised the role of Nigerians in the diaspora as crucial to driving the agency’s initiatives towards the development of the nation’s economy.
Abdullahi made this known during a courtesy visit by the continental chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Organization, Europe (NIDOE), Dr. Bashir Obasekola to the agency’s corporate headquarters in Abuja.
Abdullahi said he believed that fostering partnerships with Nigerians in the diaspora would enable the Nigerian government to tap into the vast opportunities offered by Nigerians with industry exposure in the diaspora and provide a deeper sense of purpose for the national development.
Represented by the agency’s director of information technology infrastructure solutions department, Dr. Usman Abdullahi, the NITDA boss hinted that partnering with NIDOE would provide a foundation for further collaborations with Nigerians in the diaspora. “NIDOE is the second largest organisation of Nigerians in the diaspora and you being here is the beginning of a relationship we have been hoping to build,” he noted.
Abdullahi went ahead to restate his unflinching commitment to making the agency a high-velocity one. He pledged that the agency has developed a Brain Circulation Strategic Programme for 2023 – through its research and development department – by networking with people in the diaspora to drive the research and development ecosystem of the country.
While emphasising the need for effective collaboration with Nigerians in the diaspora on the agency’s initiatives, Abdullahi enthusiastically expressed the agency’s willingness to co-creating with them in the development of its regulatory instruments.
“Individually, Nigerians in the diaspora are making efforts and driving good initiatives but, collectively, we can work to sustain all these initiatives which is why, in developing our regulatory instruments, we have open invitations for volunteers across the world,” he said.
The DG further revealed that the code of practice for social media, National Artificial Intelligence Policy (NAIP), National Digital Skills Strategy (NDSS) and the National Outsourcing Strategy (NOS) are initiatives of the agency currently subjected to stakeholders’ engagement and have attracted interests from Nigerians in diaspora in support of their development.
Citing the LEAP event held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where two Nigerian startups won a combined $300,000 grant as an example, Abdullahi expressed belief that the engagement with NIDOE would further improve the flow of foreign direct investments into the country.
“This meeting is very important to us and we feel this is the beginning of the relationship we want to establish; one that will be mutually beneficial to Nigerians in the diaspora and to Nigeria,” he concluded.
Earlier in his remark, Obasekola appreciated the NITDA for the warm reception and applauded its immense contribution to the growth of the nation’s economy.
He assured of the organisation’s support in collaborating with the agency through effective training, mentoring, consultancy, investment and funding in areas of IT research and development, cybersecurity, amongst other initiatives.