By Faith Igbudu
Citizens of Benue State are among the 1000 persons selected in the Northern region of Nigeria to benefit from a digital literacy training programme tagged ‘Basic Digital Literacy for Rural Clusters in Northern Nigeria to Enhance Pandemic Resilance.’
The training is being sponsored by the Benue State Government (BNSG) and UKaid, in collaboration with Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) with partnership from Technology for Social Change and Development Initiative.
Declaring the 12 weeks training for the state open at GREG & Co. ICT Ltd in Makurdi, Governor Samuel Ortom, said that digital literacy is one of the key focus of his government, adding that he seeks to equip citizens with the requisite knowledge to adapt to a digitally moving world.
Represented by his Commissioner for Education, Prof. Dennis Ityavyar, he said, “the topic of this training is something that is at the very heart of government. We have realised long ago the importance of digital literacy in the lives of people in the development of communities and so, there are several things that we are doing to enhance digital literacy.
“A few weeks ago, the BNSG hosted a youth summit and one of the recommendations made was a commitment to promote youth in technology and ICT.
This training is a proof that the commitment was not just words but that we are committed to take concrete steps to ensure that every young person in the state is at work, in school or in training.”
He further charged participants to make use of the privilege given them to change their lives.
In an address, the Guest of Honour, Head of UK Government Digital Access Programme and Country Adviser, Mr Idongesit Udo, noted that the programme is one of UK’s initiative to help Nigeria build a strong COVID-19 response.
He maintained that, with the effect of lockdown as a result of the pandemic, there is need to equip citizens with digital skills to survive, adding that digital literacy now accounts for man’s needs.
He assured the state government that the UK government is willing to expand it’s partnership to reach more lives with the view that in 10 years, a better life can be achieved for all.
In their separate welcome addresses, Executive Director and Programme Associate, Technology for Social Change and Development Initiative, Diwura Oladipo and Blessing Ashi respectively commended Benue state government for taking the lead to ensure the digital enlightenment of her citizens.
Earlier, in an opening remark, Principal Special Assistant to the Governor on ICT, Engr Jeffery Udende, hinted that the programme seeks to train over 1000 persons, 50% he said is to be drawn from People Living with Disabilities (PLWD).
He thanked the governor for positioning the state for such an opportunity and urged beneficiaries not to take for granted, the privilege but use it to build resilience to pandemics.