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LASG, Tech Co-create Solutions for Smart City Agenda

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In fulfillment of Lagos State’s promise to engage with the technology ecosystem in co-creating solutions for its Smart City agenda, Art of Technology 1.0, themed ‘Bridging The Gap’ was held on the 5th and 6th of December at the Lagos Oriental Hotel.

Sponsored by the Lagos State Government, through the office of the Special Adviser on Innovation and Technology and the Eko Innovation Centre, the event attracted over 1,500 people drawn from government, tech, finance and academics.

According to the Curator of Art of Technology Lagos 1.0 and Founder of Eko Innovation Centre, Mr. Victor Gbenga Afolabi, the two-day summit was building on the earlier engagement of government and the tech community during the design thinking parley which saw the co-creation of solutions in the areas of access, infrastructure, talent and capital culminating in the Lagos Innovation Master plan.

He said, “For the first time in this country, whether state, sub-regional, or national, we are having a government committed to an innovation master plan. It is part-product of the co-creation session. It is called Lagos State Innovation Master Plan; it tells us where we are going, where we need to be and how we can achieve more.”

The Lagos Innovation Master plan was unveiled by Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State, in the company of Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Deputy Governor, Lagos State; Mr. Hakeem Popoola Fahm, Commissioner of Science and Technology, Lagos State and Mr. Tunbosun Alake, Special Adviser, Innovation and Technology to the Governor of Lagos State.

In addition, the Governor announced a tech fund of N250 million to be managed by the Lagos State Science, Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC) headed by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe. This will support research and development of tech-focused solutions across the six pillars of his administration’s development agenda. LASRIC will also invest in research and development in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, health informatics and green energy.

Buoyed by its commitment to deepening collaboration between government and the tech ecospace, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu also launched the Open Government Initiative, and Lagos State Solution Hub. It is expected that these initiatives will further drive synergy between policymakers in the public sector and innovators in the private sector.

Commenting on the Lagos State Solutions Hub, he said, “Democratising access to state actors is a critical strategy of this government as such, the Lagos State Solutions Hub serves as the first point of call for innovators, solutions providers and innovators on proposing their solutions to the state. It will enable us to evaluate different solutions from you, our most important stakeholders. The website is LagosSolutionsHub.com.”

On the Open Government Initiative, he stated: “Data Access is seen as critical for the building blocks of a solutions culture. Open data promotes inclusiveness, participation and more fit for purpose solutions. The Open Government initiative has kicked off and we will be communicating subsequent milestones with the public soon.”

Andrew Nevin, Advisory Partner & Chief Economist, PwC made a case for Lagos becoming a major player in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem given the growing number of Nigerian startups coming up with innovative solutions to societal problems during his keynote address.

Juliet Ehimuan, Country Director, Google Nigeria, also a keynote speaker, discussed how technology is being deployed to solve problems in education, transportation, health and business.

Kola Aina, Founder, Ventures Platform shared practical ways for government and tech to work together in his keynote address, ‘The Enabling Role of Stakeholders in Innovation.’ He posited that Lagos should focus on enabling market creating innovations and strengthening the ecosystem.

Amauche Emenari, Doctoral Researcher, M.I.T., looked at how humans can leverage on artificial intelligence to build better solutions to individual and societal challenges during his keynote address.

The highly interactive event also featured hard talk conversations as well as plenary and breakout sessions on tech & culture, building MVPs, consumer-centric products (not just apps), the future of work, funding mechanics and women in tech.

Mr. Tunbosun Alake, Special Adviser, Innovation and Technology to the Governor of Lagos State, launched Idea Hub, a mentorship platform designed to help innovators take their ideas from conception to actualisation.

He said, “The platform allows people to input their ideas, get matched with mentors to get their ideas validated for execution.” He added: “The Idea Hub is supposed to professionalise your idea, structure it properly, so that you get a minimum viable product and then launch into the market.”

Another high point of Art of Technology Lagos 1.0 was when StanLab claimed victory in the keenly contested maiden edition of Collaborate Lagos Pitch Competition. StanLab is a 3D virtual laboratory that leverages Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to provide practical science education to schools without traditional science laboratories.

Mr. Job Oyebisi, CEO, StanLab said, “It was an awesome experience exhibiting our product and participating in the pitch competition. We had insightful feedback from judges and participants who came to know about our EdTech product. The highlight was the MoU from the Lagos State Government and the acceleration support from Eko Innovation Centre.”

Commenting on the involvement of Eko Innovation Centre, Mr. Afolabi said, “Our emphasis is on localising technology to solve our problems. As part of our commitment to Collaborate Lagos, Eko Innovation Centre will offtake the winner, StanLab and accelerate them for government adoption.”

He also expressed his satisfaction with the high turnout and quality of engagement recorded at Art of Technology Lagos 1.0. “AoTLagos is positioned to continue the engagement. We have to solve our problems ourselves, let’s get to work now!”


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Nigerians Pay Some N87m in Bribes to Public, Private Officials In 2023

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At least N87 million bribes were paid to Nigerian public and private officials in 2023, according to data from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Nigerians Pay Some N87m in Bribes to Public, Private Officials In 2023

NBS data also indicated that of all Nigerian citizens who had at least one contact with a public official in the 12 months prior to the 2023 survey, 27 per cent paid a bribe to a public official.

According to the Bureau, Nigerians’ confidence in the government’s anti-corruption effort has been declining over time and across regions.

“While in 2019, more than half of all citizens thought that the government was effective in fighting corruption, in 2023, the share declined to less than a third of all citizens.

“The downward trend in the citizens’ confidence is observable across the entire country, with all six zones recording reductions of more than 10 percentage points between 2019 and 2023 in terms of the share of citizens who thought the government was effective in fighting corruption,” it stated.


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12 Professors, 15 Others Inducted into Shell Sabbatical, Research Positions

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The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) Joint Venture has significantly expanded its educational initiatives by inducting 27 Nigerian academics and research interns.

12 Professors, 15 Others Inducted into Shell Sabbatical, Research Positions

A cross section of participants in the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Joint Venture’s 2024 sabbatical and research programme in a group photograph with the leadership of SPDC’s Corporate Relations team at the induction ceremony held in Port Harcourt…recently.

This year’s programme, a 35% increase from the previous year, welcomed eight professors, four senior lecturers, and 15 other participants.

Held at the company’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, the induction ceremony marked the beginning of a one-year programme focused on knowledge exchange and skill development.

Drawn from 13 Nigerian universities, these participants will gain valuable industry experience in fields like biodiversity, petroleum engineering, and environmental impact assessment.

“The research and internship programmes are central to our commitment to supporting higher education in Nigeria,” explained Mr. Igo Weli, Shell Nigeria’s Head of Corporate Relations, and SPDC Director.

He described the programme as mutually beneficial nature by offering Shell access to specialised expertise from professors and lecturers, who in turn acquire practical industry knowledge and exposure to cutting-edge technologies.

Despite operational challenges, Mr. Weli reaffirmed Shell’s position as the industry leader in fostering a positive learning environment and empowering people.

Representing Mrs. Bunmi Edith Lawson, NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services, echoed Mr. Weli’s sentiments. She highlighted the programme’s significance in scientific exploration, environmental stewardship, and knowledge advancement.

“This is an investment in the next generation of innovators,” she stated, “and a way for us to give back to our stakeholders.”

The 2024 programme includes participants from a diverse range of universities across Nigeria, including the University of Benin, Rivers State University, University of Ibadan, Niger Delta University, and Ahmadu Bello University.

Others are Bingham University Karu, Federal University Wukari, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo State, Covenant University, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, University of Uyo, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, and Michael Okpara University of Agriculture.

 

 


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Ex Power Minister who Allegedly Stole N33Bn Gets N10Bn Bail

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Saleh Mamman, former minister of Power, who was charged for a N33 billion fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been granted bail.

Ex Power Minister who Allegedly Stole N33Bn Gets N10Bn Bail

During a sitting on Friday, at the Federal High Court in Abuja, Mamman was granted N10 billion billion with two sureties in like sum.

Issuing the verdict, James Omotosho, chief judge, held that the sureties must be owners of landed properties within the Federal Capital Territory with a minimum valuation of N750 million.

The judge stated that the sureties must swear an affidavit of means and submit their three-year tax clearance certificates, adding that certified copies of the defendant and sureties’ bank statements and their most recent passport photograph must also be submitted.

In addition, the judge directed the defendant to turn in his international passport to the court’s registrar, stating that the registrar must confirm every document before the defendant is allowed to leave custody.

The court further ordered that the defendant be held in jail until all bail requirements were fulfilled and that the sureties could provide a bank guarantee or bond of N10 billion. The case has been adjourned until September 25, 2024.

On Thursday, July 11, the judge ordered the remand of the former minister at the Kuje Prison after his not-guilty plea to all the 12-count charges preferred against him. His lawyer, Femi Ate, a senior advocate, however, told the court that a bail application had been filed on behalf of his client.

Although the judge stated the bail application had not yet made it into the court file, the lawyer representing the EFCC, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, also a senior advocate, admitted that the application had been received.

Meanwhile, the defendant had collapsed outside the courtroom before the hearing on Thursday but was revived with the help of his lawyers and some medical personnel at the court.

 


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