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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday approved N58.488 billion for the construction of Bida-Sachi-Nupeko road and the Nupeko-Patigi bridge across River Niger, linking Nupeko and Patigi in Niger and Kwara States.
The FEC meeting was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the project is to link Niger and Kwara together and facilitate connectivity from southwest to the north central and the northern part of the country.
He was with his colleagues in the Ministry of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.
According to him, the contract was an old contract that was awarded in 2013, terminated for non-performance, but revaluated and awarded.
He said: “It didn’t have a bridge then so we have added the bridge now and approved for N58.488 billion and is expected to take 30 months to complete.”
Pantami said he briefed the council about Nigeria’s successful outing at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition competition that took place last month in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Nigeria, he said, emerged top in the artificial intelligence category where 73 countries participated.
“This is an annual event where exhibition and completions are usually organised and conducted in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and it is the largest ICT event in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
“This event is a very strategic one, it is an attempt to promote technology most importantly, countries attend the event to showcase their intellectual capacity, their start-ups, the potentials they have and the young innovators they are grooming.
“I led the Nigerian delegation and we went there with 10 start-ups form Nigeria, who were 10 young innovators from the country, whom we selected through an open competition in which 168 persons participated after fulfilling all the requirements.
“We chose the best 10 out of them and we made sure each geo-political zone was represented. So six out of the 10 we took to Dubai were from the six geo-political zones of Nigeria while the remaining four were selected strictly based on their expertise
“One of the start-ups we attended the event with is called ‘Chiniki Guard.’ It is an artificial intelligence application that has been developed to monitor, track and report suspicious activities in public places like shopping malls and office spaces. For instance, if someone enters your office without your permission, it will record that automatically.
“Also, when the person picks something from that office, it will be communicated to the security in real time. With that real time, it will be communicated in video and image forms and the security will be able to follow up or intercept that crime.
“It has been developed by a young man form Katsina State by name Abdulhakim Bashir and it emerged the global best in the most celebrated and biggest category, that is artificial intelligence. A total of 750 people participated in that category from 73 countries and Bashir happened to be the best among them. We feel this should be celebrated by all Nigerians and this tells us that we have the capacity to become a digital importer globally in future,” he said.
,Nigeria, he added also did well with another robotic application used to interface between doctors and their patients, named as 24/7 medics.
“With this facility, doctors would be able to assess the situation of their patients, without them travelling for medication because even surgeries are now being done virtually,” he said.
According to him, the Council and all Nigerians are proud of the global recognition accorded the two applications.
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