By Patience Ogbodo, Correspondent, Bauchi
The Federal Government is currently building 109 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) community centres, one in each senatorial districts of the country as part of effort to make majority Nigerians ICT-literate.
Executive Director, Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), a non-governmental organization, Mallam Yunusa Zakari Ya’u who disclosed this said the federal government ICT project is coming under the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) programme.
Ya’u who was speaking at a sensitization seminar on ICT in local government administration held at Dass in Bauchi State, explained that the ICT community centres project is being funded from the proceeds of income tax on communication companies.
He therefore advised local governments in the country and in particular Bauchi State to partner with community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations or the private sector to host the ICT centres in their respective domains.Mallam Ya’u said the local governments could also directly approach the USPF with proposal to directly partner in the setting up of community telecommunication centres.
Ya’u also disclosed that Galaxy Backbone plc is a federal government telecommunication/bandwidth that donates USAT equipment to communities, local governments and other agencies for the establishment of community centre in either school or in under-served or un-served areas.
He said: “Local governments can leverage this to provide internet connectivity in their secretariats or in community centres and schools in the local government areas.”
He further explained that a number of organizations donate web space to local communities and communities grounds to establish online presence of local governments and their community efforts.
Ya’u said the gesture would not only help to attract assistance but also create visibility for the economy programme of the local governments that could attract foreign investment.
According to him, such websites could be used for local e-governance, e-commerce, e-learning and telemedicine programmes, among other purposes for community mobilization.
Ya’u pointed out that where local governments have problem accessing the relevant manpower, they can tap many of the online volunteer schemes which included individuals who are ready to provide technical assistance free of charge to community organizations from training to website building, and to other forms of online-based assistance.
He stated that local governments could therefore leverage to create online presence for themselves and their communities as part of the process of exposing their investment potentials to the world.