" ITREALMS: ‘Open data, imperative for socio-economic development’

Thursday, February 25, 2016

‘Open data, imperative for socio-economic development’

The Open Data initiative by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has been described by stakeholders as imperative for socio-economic development, reports ITRealms.

The stakeholders, who assembled in Port Harcourt on Monday, agreed that for the nation to develop in line with national planning, some important data must be made available and open for easy accessibility and usage.

The forum maintained that NITDA should come up with principles that would encourage openness of data and also established guiding principle to Ministries Departments and Agencies for best global practice in data collation and usage.

Head, Public Affairs, NITDA, Mrs. Hadiza Umar, quoted the Acting Director General of the agency, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, who was represented at the forum by the Head of Standards, Guidelines and Regulations, Barrister Lazarus Ikoti, as saying that lack of data in Nigeria is hindering the development of the country.

Olatunji cited an example with the effect insurgency in the country, he stressed that lack of data has made it difficult for the country to actually know the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country.  

He said; “the issue of open data has drawn so much interest in the international community and Nigeria as a country cannot afford to lag behind. He added that it was because of this the Agency attached so much premium to open data.  Adding that, "the world is drifting toward open data and many organizations like open Data for Development were springing up to support open data initiative".

He assured that NITDA would partner with these organisations to derive maximum benefits for Open Data in Nigeria adding that the Agency since 2013 has begun preparation to make Nigeria one of the countries that has complied with this initiative.

While acknowledging the role of standard, Guideline and regulations to the success of harnessing the benefit of ICT, Dr Olatunji stated that the Agency would begin enforcement of most of the guidelines the Agency has published in the past.

“We are not going to stop at publishing the standards but shall go all out to enforce. To enforce these Standards, we shall work with the relevant government agencies to secure their support, he hinted.

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