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The Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu has opened up on the ravaging scale of youths and graduate unemployment in Nigeria, saying figures available to him show that over 20 million graduates are not employed.
Though he did not proffer immediate solution to the scourge or give further details on the statistics, he said the emerging Information Communication Technology (ICT) University can drastically reduce the annual capital flight of about N1.5 trillion being spent on Nigerian students studying in foreign educational institutions.
He was optimistic that if the Federal Government succeeds in establishing the proposed ICT University of Nigeria, the country will not only develop world- class local capacity, but also reduce the strain on the naira through reduction of foreign currency sourced for the training of citizens outside the country.
However, the minister did not explain if the new university will offer all other courses Nigerians go to study abroad which ordinarily will not be offered in an ICT University including Medicine, Engineering, Law, Business related fields and so many other professions that cannot be studied in an ICT inclined institution to justify the expected drop in capital flights.
Giving more details during a lecture titled; Jobs Nowhere But Jobs Everywhere: ICT To The Rescue Of Unemployed Youths And Graduates; at the Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan, he said “government is prepared to use ICT to foster youth empowerment and development through granting of loans, sponsorships and financial support among other innovative schemes to lucrative business ideas”.
The minister made this disclosure at a lecture titled; Jobs Nowhere But Jobs Everywhere: ICT To The Rescue Of Unemployed Youths And Graduates at the Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan at the weekend said about 20 million youths and graduates are currently unemployed.
Shittu recalled that “Buhari’s administration is using ICT as a critical pillar to leverage on job and wealth creation as well as on economy,” noting that “a critical tool in diversifying the Nigerian economy and recognising the role of ICT in making it a reality is the policy of establishing one form of ICT infrastructure or the other across the six geopolitical zones”.
According to him, “the plan to build a national ICT Park and Exhibition Centre in Abuja is part of the preparations for the 4thIndustrial Revolution is on course”.
He said there is also another plan to “build a $1 billion-dollar ICT company” to boost indigenous technology.
On the planned ICT University, Shittu said,” We already have the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) which is for short term training programmes, in six locations across the country and we will transform this Institute into the ICT University of Nigeria. This unique University would by God’s grace take off effectively in September 2017 and would be run as a Public Private Partnership with the best business and entrepreneurship models.
“I have engaged with several stakeholders at the international level, Facebook, Motorola, Ericson and am still talking to many more stakeholders. We are encouraging them to come and adopt the respective university campuses as their own.
“I am happy to report that this project is receiving a global boost and endorsement. The committee set up has been working round the clock on the realization of this objective, and has indeed submitted its final report on Tuesday 18th July 2017. A Vice Chancellor and other senior officials would soon be appointed.
“The ICT University will be a multi-campus institution of the present Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) located in Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Kano, Asaba and Yola.”
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