Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has called for the promotion of interstate cooperation, in a bid to create an enabling national smart city ecosystem.
The governor made the call on Tuesday at the 2021 Sustainable Smart Cities and Digital Economy Forum with the theme, “Accelerating the realization of smart cities and digital economy”, in Abuja.
TheFact Nigeria reports that the Nigeria Smart City Initiative (NSCI) is designed to bring city administrators, urban developers and emerging innovators together, to develop scalable, replicable, interoperable and measurable solutions, with the goal of enhancing the liability and resilience of Nigerian cities.
The Governor, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Innovation and Technology, Olatunbosun Alake, noted that the smart city agenda was directly correlated to driving increasing socio- economic outcomes .
” However, to create an enabling national smart city ecosystem we need promote inter-state cooperation, drive standardization across our civic sectors and work together to deliver the Nigeria we have all envisioned.
“It is important that to accelerate the realization of smart cities and the digital economy, we must increase our investments in Human Capital Development, drive digital economy interventions in our workforce and build the capacity for the future of work within our people.
“Increasing the pace of the Smart City and Digital economy development will also require us keeping pace with the adoption of effective urban governance ideologies that are dynamic and agile, leverage multiple technologies to improve the performance of health service, transportation, education, implement intelligent and sustainable infrastructure, and drive effective monitoring and evaluation strategies to speak to the outcomes”, he said.
While commenting on how the initiative can help in curbing corruption, he said that ,”If we are digitizing the entire land administration process for instance, for you want to purchase a piece of land and you see a digitized record of that land because some of these records are available, any dispute you have can have an immutable source of information that can be used in adjudication process in court so there is no need saying he said she said, the records are there.
“There is a digitized process that eliminates human interaction so you don’t have to go somewhere to pay somebody. The digital platform will show you all the bills you have to pay, you pay it and get your allocation. This is what we are talking about and this is the direction we need to move. Also other e-government services as other agencies interact with the people digitally, there is a reduction in the human intervention in all these processes so we have reduction in corruption and all these nefarious activities in the state”.
On his part, the Director of strategy, National Information Technology Development Agency ( NITDA), Dr. Agu Collins, explained that the smart city initiative would create employment for the youth in the country
According to Collins,: “When you say smart city there are there are other underlining technologies that drives smart city . Internet of things (IOT) which forms one of the pillars of the fourth industrial revolution. IOT is made up of forces, hardwares firmware, connectivity , data , cloud , control, . As I can see, it covers all the facet of ICT when you drive smart city as technology , it is necessary to build the capacity and that is where some of the employments can be.
“Once smart city development is promoted there will be demand in these areas that will create a domino effect to activate demand in some of these key areas what we call the industry sort after professions”.
Commenting on the safety of smart city initiative for Nigerians, he added: “When you talk about cybercrime there is no city that is completely safe a lot depends on what we call the security layers that apply to things that has to do with online transmission and processing of data . So security comes in here, cyber security and with global cyber security, because with the application of some of these emerging technologies like blockchain, there could be actually becomes .
“Example is like your eNaira now, it is protected by blockchain and there will be constant periodical review of the security layers and infrastructure, so I don’t see that as a challenge but what matters most is that since we are in a volatile and dynamic technology ICT there is that constant need to review some of the underlining technologies that have been applied on some of these platforms and that makes it very secure.”, he added .
The lead consultant for AFRITEX, Oyesola Oworu said the forum is committed to be the place to collectivize agenda for sustainable smart city and digital economy initiative for Nigeria.
He said the entire smart city initiative is people oriented.
“ There will be a lot of citizen education. We will educate them on how to take advantage of the technologies that are been integrated into how the city works, how people live in the city . Citizen education is actually the integral part of smart city development that make people to be able to adapt to changes that will come up as technology is been initiated in the cities.
“It is about educating the people and that is the main focus of the sustainable smart city forum where the stakeholders come together interms of creating the policy , creating an inter government collaboration, creating a framework that will be people central and also the community is also represented in the forum in seeing how to adapt the change that comes interms of implementation of smart city agenda to make life better,” he said.
He further clarified that the digitalization will help to curb corruption in public service.
Hear him: “One of things that technology does is to bring transparency. The concept of E-government makes record available for everybody. When there is transparency there will be accountability. People can ask questions. There will be adequate record. Data in the new era is stored in different kinds of form and you can create several layers of backups and make the data to be more secured,”.
The Nigeria Smart City Initiative ( NSCI) is driven by the federal ministry of communications and Digital Economy in partnership with AFRITEX.