FG, Halogen Group, set to empower 40,000 youths on ICT

By Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor

The federal government of Nigeria is set to organise a training programme on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for the teeming youths of the nation to equip them with Cyber Digital Security skills in a bid to make them employable, self-reliant and to mitigate the excesses of cyber attacks.

The Federal government said this gesture became expedient to develop the inherent ICT skills embedded in the Nigerian youths that have the flair and talents to advance the growth of the nation technologically.

In a statement on Thursday by the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, in Abuja, where a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed with its partner, Halogen Group, he underlined that the programme came when the government must have to create a sustainable platform to empower youths to be self-reliant.

The Sports Minister, who was represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar, said, “This training programme is very significant and timely because we have a growing population of youth ready to offer a wide pool of talents in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that can be trained to utilize, develop and drive technological advancements for the betterment of our great nation.

“The programme is coming at a time in our national life where government must provide the impetus towards empowering the Nigerian youth for self-reliance,” he added

The Sports Minister explained that ICT provides a lot of opportunities in Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Analytics which Nigeria must endeavour to tap into by enacting laws that will tremendously increase the demand for ICT professionals from Nigeria.

“According to the World Economic Forum, Cybersecurity along with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Analytics now offers great career opportunities to professionals. More stringent regulation will see an increased demand for cybersecurity professionals in Nigeria,” Dare said.

The Sports Minister added that the programme will provide the room to boost the country’s firewall on national cybersecurity while curbing the rate of unemployment that presently lingers.

“There is a need to leverage these skills to curb the unemployment rate in Nigeria while promoting national cybersecurity. This need has birthed why we are gathered here today,” he said.

In this era where the world is undergoing a global economic crisis, Dare expressed that one of the country’s policies has been to spot cybersecurity as a vital means to diversify the economy of Nigeria. He noted that no organization is exempted from cyber attacks adding that big organizations, believed to be cyber-proof, are subjected to deadlier attacks.

He continued: “Nigeria’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy has identified Cybersecurity as a crucial pillar in diversifying the country’s economy. The Management of Halogen Security here present will agree with me that the year 2021 was exciting in the cybersecurity space both locally and internationally.

“Cyber breaches and attacks were experienced in the economy’s public, and private sectors. A significant trend was that no organization appeared immune to cyber-attacks. Even institutions that had made significant investments in cybersecurity experienced high-profile attacks.

“It was noted in the Nigeria Cyber Outlook 2021 that there would be a spotlight on Nigeria’s cyberspace, and attackers would have more tools, skills, and ground to play. Overall spending on technology has been earmarked to increase by more than 50 per cent between 2015 and 2030. About half would be on information technology services.

“The number of people employed in these occupations will be significant and they will benefit from the promise of their occupations being high-wage occupations. By 2030, it is estimated that this trend could create 20 million to 50 million jobs globally,” the Sports Minister explained.

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However, while Dare mentioned that the programme will be beneficial to the youths of this nation who will also be certified after the internship, he reiterated that it will checkmate the excesses of cyber attacks.

“Cyber Security Training, Competition, Certification and Internship for Nigerian Youth is a programme of the Ministry in collaboration with the Halogen group which has carefully been developed to benefit as many young persons as possible,” he said.

“The training is to engage the youth on Cyber Security awareness to mitigate against Cyber-attacks and also offer a range of certification programmes in Cyber Security that may offer permanent job placements both locally and internationally for participants.

“The programme will entail a free general Cyber Security Training as a requisite for participants to be eligible for the Competition. There will be Certification and Internship/job placement for successful participants. The Nigerian youth are expected to apply, get trained and compete for the first, second and third prizes of N1 million, N650,000 and N350,000 respectively.

“The programme is aimed at creating an enabling platform for skills acquisition, youth empowerment and local content development in the area of information technology and Cyber Security towards the national and economic development of the nation.

“The mode of the training will be online where up to 40,000 youth will be trained, the competition will be open to all participants and the best will be picked for the Certification,” the Sports Minister clarified.

Furthermore, Dare stated that the programme in collaboration with Halogen Group was birth as part of critical research undertaken by the ministry to empower the youths on digital skills and recalled that in 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari and the ministry organised the Digital Skills Acquisition geared towards equipping about 200,000 youth with Digital Skills in the entire National Using Development Centres.

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