Pantami accuses Tijani of relaunching AI project commissioned under Buhari

Spread the love


Bosun Tijani, the minister Communications & Digital Economy, and his predecessor, Isa Pantami seem to be engaged in a war of words over the ownership of Artificial Intelligence (AI) project.

The proposed implementation strategy and platform to grow Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a source of disagreement between Pantami and Tijani.

Speaking at the end of a four-day National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (NAIS) workshop, Tijani said the event was designed to formulate a strategy on addressing the needs of Nigerian citizens and communities to look ahead to the beauty and importance of AI.

While stating the benefits of adopting cutting-edge technologies such as AI in raising the productivity of users for our collective prosperity, Tijani noted the increased attention on AI across the world and growth in investments in the technology in Nigeria.

He said: “Over 1 Petabyte of storage is already being allocated to AI projects in Nigeria by Galaxy Backbone Limited. And the Pilot Compute Programme that we are undertaking, which is seeing 21st Century Technologies invest over $2 million in Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), is also going to put us in a position to start building and narrating the story for why we need to invest in our computing power as a nation.”

To fast track the adoption and implementation of the AI project, the minister announced the relaunch of the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics (NCAIR) saying: “The relaunch of new and improved capacity at the National Centre for Al and Robotics (NCAIR) is to better fulfil its mandate”.

He added: “The centre is a special purpose vehicle created to promote research and development on emerging technologies and their practical application in the areas of Nigerian national interest.

“As a digital innovation and research facility, NCAIR focuses on Al, Robotics and Drones, Internet of Things (loT), and other emerging technologies, aimed at transforming the Nigerian digital economy”.

But in a recent tweet, Pantami disagrees strongly, saying it was unnecessary for Tijani to relaunch the NCAIR as the project had been launched by President Muhammadu Buhari.


Pantami wondered why a relaunch was necessary considering the fact that the project was already being implemented.

In what looked like jostling for ownership, Pantami said that: “The National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics has been built and commissioned in November 2020, almost four years ago.

“The first of its kind in Africa. It has been very effective, and thousands of Nigerians have been trained and trained. Legacy is achieved, not claimed.”

Tijani thinks differently saying the relaunch has multiple deliverables including but not limited to the AI Collective which is a community of practice collaborating towards accelerating the nation’s collective prosperity through an inclusive Al ecosystem.

The Collective, according to Tijani, will harness the power of Al to drive economic prosperity, accelerate innovation and social development, and position Nigeria as a leading force in AI for good globally.

“We need to make sure that as a nation, we are well structured to govern this (Artificial Intelligence) technology which is special,” Tijani explained.

“AI by nature, is a tool to support productivity across different sectors, and Nigeria is a country that has always talked about diversification of our economy, so this is a unique opportunity for us to allow a technology that can help us to raise the level of productivity in agriculture, public health, education and many others, to the level that we truly want it to be, and that is what we are going to do.”

The AI Strategy, according to him, is what the country presently needs adding “Nigeria needs the appropriate policies to government for the deployment and use of AI at the Federal level and at subnational levels.”

He highlighted the need to build platforms that can aid and support those who want to innovate so that they can thrive.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *