By Oluwatobi Opusunju
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has embarked on a tour of critical ICT facilities in Akwa Ibom State as part of the plans to promote the Akwa Ibom ‘StartUP Friday’ edition, an event designed to bridge the gap that exists amongst ICT startups and investors.
The National Coordinator, Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE), Dr. Amina Sambo led the team to assess the ICT facilities in the state. The OIIE is managed under the NITDA as the vehicle to promote and foster ICT entrepreneurship.
Sambo commended the hubs in Akwa Ibom state for the level of work they have done in advancing ICT capacity building in the region which is particularly known for its dependency on oil. The ICT facilities that were visited include Start Innovation Hub, Roothub, and Hubitz among other ICT clusters.
“We at NITDA/ OIIE are impressed with the level of work done by young people in Akwa Ibom despite the very limited resources they are exposed to. We hope that with this facility on the ground, there would be change of narrative from an oil dependent region to an ICT hub.”
She added that “in 2017, we met the Jiggle team at Lagos and congratulated them again for the cheque they won and also noticed that some of the startups that competed in the programme came from various places outside Lagos and this is why government and investors will have to look beyond high income areas of Nigeria for their programmes.”
In response, the CEO of Start Innovation Hub, Hanson Jonson remarked that the hubs in the state were pleased with the visit which has only demonstrated that the government is serious with ICT as well as the drive for a diversified economy driven by technology.
“We believe that this recognition would spur us to achieve greater things in future,” Hanson reckoned.
Also, the Commissioner, Ministry of Science and Technology in Akwa Ibom State, Prof. Nse Udo Essien who was in attendance at the occasion expressed delight in the visit, saying that the state would continue to work with the OIIE to ensure they have a wonderful “Startup Friday” experience in Uyo. Others in attendance were the Special Advisers on ICT to the Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Mr. Solomon Eyoas and Mrs. Meflyn Anwana on New Media.