Rivers Discloses Plans Bolster Devt. with Artificial Intelligence

The Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo has disclosed plans by the Governor Siminalayi-led administration to adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI) strategies and implement research findings by specialised institutions, especially as regards security and development.

Dr Danagogo stated this while welcoming participants to the inter-ministerial interaction with the Executive Intelligence Management Course 17 of the National Institute of Security Studies who are in Rivers State on a study tour at the Banquet Hall, Government House on Thursday.

With the theme, “Artificial Intelligence, Security and Emerging Economies in Africa: Challenges and Prospects, he noted that the Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) were purposefully selected to give in-depth account of AI use, challenges and prospects in the State.

According to him, “it is our desire that your findings will be made available as soon as it is ready.”

He further called on participants to also look into the grey areas of AI to enable the State have an all-embracing grip of its advantages.

“We cannot wish away the merits of AI and we cannot also wish away its pains to humanity and development. Identity theft, scamming, manipulation of real videos and images of unsuspecting persons for unscrupulous purposes, data theft and other ethical issues are rife in the world of AI.

“We therefore charge you to look into these dark areas and proffer solutions to their elimination, and thus make them really serve humanity,” He emphasized.

The Head of Service of Rivers State, Dr. George Nwaeke, while speaking on the topic: Leveraging Artificial Intelligence for Enhancing Security and Economic Growth in Rivers State, gave a general overview of AI, its prospects and potentials and its infrastructural development in the State as well as security concerns and risk mitigation.

He further outlined some advantages of AI implementation in the state civil service and recommendations for futuristic strategies.

The Vice Chancellor, Rivers State University, Prof. Nlerum Okogbule spoke on navigating the nexus of artificial intelligence, security and emerging economies in Africa, challenges and prospects.

Represented by Prof. Issac Obipi, he enumerated the gains of AI in RSU, calling for action in way forward such as collaboration in infrastructure development, education and skill development, collaborative policymaking and establishing AI and data governance frame work.

The Commissioner for Information and Communication, Warisenibo Joe Johnson, noted that it is time Nigeria adopted the positives of AI for educational purposes and design of public relations campaigns to enhance the image of the country and assist in solving diverse challenges.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Adaeze Oreh, maintained that alongside Kenya, South Africa, Etthiopia and Ghana, Nigeria is rapidly transiting from basic agrarian-based to industrial and service based economy. She said AI powered drones are now adopted for delivery of medical products, emergency response, disaster relief, telemedicine and remote monitoring etc.

She added that the health sector in the State has been revitalised with all zonal hospitals being repositioned with new MPHs, indigenous data platforms used for COVID and national clinical mentors program from the state, migration of data systems, pharmacy and payments to electronic platforms, budget transparency, among others.

Dr Oreh noted that by harnessing the power of AI and bolstering security, Rivers state will improve health care delivery, improve patient outcome and advance the overall well-being of communities.

The Special Assistant on ICT to the Governor, Fenibo Fubara stressed that collaboration is ongoing between the State Government, private entities and tech firms to support local start-ups as well as investing in technological infrastructure and revamp of the State ICT centre.

The Permanent Secretaries, Ministries of Budget and Economic Planning and Education as well as a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture made presentations.

The participants also took a tour of completed and ongoing projects being implemented in the State.

Juliana Masi
Head Press Unit
Office of the Secretary to the State Government

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