NITDA DG Champions Integration Of AI In Nigeria’s Security Sector

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The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi.
The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi.

The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi has advocated for a collaborative integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into Nigeria’s security sector.

In a meeting with the Commandant of the National Institute for Security Studies (NISS), Alhaji A. S Adeleke, represented by Deputy Commandant D. E Egbeji, Abdullahi discussed the potential synergies between the security industry and the startup ecosystem to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the nation’s security infrastructure.

The occasion, attended by faculty members and participants of the Executive Intelligence Management Course (EIMC 17), explored the theme “Artificial Intelligence, Security & Emerging Economies in Africa: Challenges and Prospects” at the eGovernment Training Centre (eGTC), Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN), Kubwa, Abuja.

Abdullahi underscored the unique approaches of the security and information technology (IT) sectors, emphasising the need for collaboration to leverage IT opportunities, including AI, the Internet of Things (IoT) and other emerging technologies, to fortify the security sector. He acknowledged the distinct operational methods of the two sectors but highlighted the potential for improvement through joint efforts.

“The way you do things in Security is different from the way we do things in the Information Technology (IT) sector, but if we can work together, we can make things better by utilising the numerous opportunities that IT offers, leveraging AI, IoT and emerging technologies in strengthening the security sector,” stated Abdullahi.

Dispelling misconceptions about AI, Abdullahi emphasised its role in simplifying tasks, providing quick answers and offering solutions globally. He categorised AI into three types based on capability: narrow intelligence, general AI and deep learning AI, explaining the functions and capabilities of each.

Abdullahi further outlined four categories of AI functionality: reactive machines, limited memory, theory of mind and self-awareness. These categories encompass AI systems’ ability to operate on given data, store and use historical data for predictive analysis, understand human behaviour and exhibit self-awareness comparable to human cognition.

To support AI growth in Nigeria, Abdullahi detailed NITDA initiatives, including the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) and the ongoing development of the National Artificial Intelligence Policy. He expressed openness to strategic collaboration, aligning with the NITDA Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2.0), particularly the pillar focused on forging strategic partnerships and collaborations.

“We are open to strategic collaboration as it aligns with a pillar of the NITDA Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2.0), which is to Forge Strategic Partnerships and Collaboration. Synergistic relationships will amplify Nigeria’s digital initiatives and global presence,” Abdullahi affirmed.

Adeleke expressed the institute’s intent to glean insights from NITDA’s experience for an executive brief to President Bola Tinubu. This brief aims to contribute to policy formulation and implementation.

“We are here to share from your experience and to gather all we can from the beginning of the course because at the end of the course, we are expected to make an executive brief to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, that will aid policy formulation and implementation,” Adeleke explained.

The director of corporate planning and strategy, Dr. Aristotle Onumo provided an overview of NITDA’s evolution, highlighting the agency’s pivotal role in shaping information technology and development in Nigeria. He emphasised NITDA’s commitment to fostering innovation, digital literacy and technological advancement over the years.

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