Former Minister Berates Bosun Tijani For Relaunching NCAIR

The Immediate past Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has berated his successor, Bosun Tijani, for relaunching the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR).

The NCAIR is a special-purpose vehicle created to promote research and development on emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics and UAV, Internet of Things (IoT) and their practical application in areas of Nigerian national interest.

Tijani on Friday announced the relaunch of the NCAIR with the support of global tech company, Cisco, adding the capacity of the Centre has been improved. This, however, did not go down well with the former Minister, who felt his “legacy” was being claimed.

Reacting to the announcement of the relaunch via a post on his X handle, Pantami said:

“The National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics has been built and commissioned in November 2020, almost 4 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.”

The relaunched NCAIR

Meanwhile, Minister Tijani on Saturday provided more details on what the “new and improved” NCAIR would deliver for Nigerians and the new capacities added to the Centre. According to the Minister, the goal of the Tinubu administration is to strengthen the capacity of NCAIR to conduct Artificial Intelligence research, empower local researchers and startups, and strengthen the application of AI in government.

“To achieve these, here are some new initiatives we’ve introduced to support this relaunch:
“NCAIR now has access to over 2500 virtual CPUs for use by the Nigeria AI Collective. NCAIR is now connected to 1 petabyte of storage at GBB.

“NCAIR will manage the new computing infrastructure for projects of national interest and academic research. There is now adedicated lab at NCAIR for State and enterprise AI research projects.

“NCAIR will allow AI hubs and pods across the country connect remotely to the new computing infrastructure.
“In addition, NCAIR will now report and academically publish on all projects carried out at the institution,” Tijani said.

Aside from the NCAIR relaunch, Tijani announced other policy initiatives that formed outcomes of the Ministry’s National AI Workshop, including the launch of the country’s first Multilingual Large Language Model.

Tijani further disclosed that after the 4-day of co-creation with over 120 ArtificiaI Intelligence experts, the country not only had an initial draft of its National AI Strategy but also announced some significant developments and partnerships that would lead Nigeria towards accelerating the development of AI.

He said part of the announcements was the partnership between 21st Century Technologies, Galaxy Backbone and NCAIR Nigeria to accelerate the development of Artificial Intelligence projects of national interest.


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