The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has restated its commitment to continuously give equal opportunities to the vulnerable, especially persons living with various forms of disabilities in the country.
The director-general of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, made this commitment at the just concluded five-day training and empowerment programme on digital skills and entrepreneurship for people living with disabilities (PLWDs), the south-south edition, held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The NITDA boss, who was represented at the closing ceremony by the acting director, corporate planning and strategy, Aristotle Onumo, maintained that empowering those specially enabled in the society would promote digital inclusion.
While describing digital transformation as one of the solutions to the myriad of problems confronting the nation, Abdullahi maintained that training and empowering PLWDs is part of the initiatives to lift Nigerians out of poverty, hence the approval of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
He said the training and empowerment for the PLWDs are to make them financially independent and close the digital divide created by their conditions.
“The empowerment programme is one of the many opportunities given to Nigerians towards the implementation of the NDEPS’ agenda. This programme also speaks to three pillars of NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP) 2021to 2024 – which are digital transformation, digital inclusion and digital literacy skills, all of which were designed to make Nigeria a sustainable digital economy.
“Through the training, NITDA has been able to provide opportunities for participants to acquire the ability to use digital technology to create an enterprise that would culminate into wealth creation,” he stated.
While encouraging the beneficiaries of the empowerment programme to continue to engage in personal development which would aid the increase of their productivity, Abdullahi encouraged them to return to their various communities and transfer the knowledge to others.
The director-general affirmed the NITDA’s continual inclusion of PLWD in all its initiatives adding that attaining a digitally inclusive society requires collaborative efforts from all stakeholders.
While encouraging the PLWDs to be more industrious, Abdullahi quoted Dr. Ashi Mary Magdalene of the department of the Special Education University of Calabar who posited: “No matter how disabled anyone is, they should not feel sorry for themselves. The disabled are not special, just a little different”.
The lead, technical and operations, Rivers State ICT Department, Mr. Austin Dimkpa, who represented the state government at the closing ceremony remarked that the empowerment programme provides an opportunity for the beneficiaries to join the league of the financially stable people in the world, adding that the 10 richest people in the world are in the information technology sector.
While expressing his profound appreciation to NITDA for training and empowering the PLWDs in Rivers State with computers and IT working tools, he advised beneficiaries to make judicious use of the tools to better their lots and reduce their reliance on other people.