On Friday 28th February, the Ken Saro-Wiwa Innovation Hub held an exhibition event where members of the technology center demonstrated some amazing problem solving Apps and virtual reality creations they had built with the skills they have acquired.
Located on Aggreey Road, at the heart of Old Port Harcourt Township, the Ken Saro-Wiwa Innovation Hub is a space specializing in Technology. The hub provides resources for creatives and entrepreneurs in the Niger Delta. The vision of the Innovation Hub is to champion and contribute to the development of a sustainable Tech Ecosystem in the Niger Delta.
KSIH is funded by Stakeholder Democracy Network and serves as a center where developers, designers, entrepreneurs and trainees come together to learn, practice, network and build innovative solutions to inherent challenges in the region. The Hub provides the following Activities: Tech Training’s and Meetups, Incubation Programme, Co-working Space and Community for aspiring techies
The hub runs a 6-month ‘incubation’ programme known as the Ken Jr Award for Innovation. The programme is designed for aspiring tech entrepreneurs, providing training, mentorship support, and soft skills to teams of people who have a business idea and minimum viable product that they want to take to market. The aim of the incubation programme is to help mid-stage startups to build on their idea/ prototype/ venture through technology mentoring, validation, intellectual property support, marketing strategy, team building, fundraising advisory etc.
At the end of the event, participants who spoke with FR News expressed gratitude to SDN and KSIH for helping them self reliant . One of the participant, Success, said as an entrepreneur, the training he has gotten will help him contribute to development of society
Interview with Hub manager
FR News threw some question at the hub manager, Osahon Gino Ediagbonya at the end of the event.
FR News: What’s happening at the Hub today?
HUB: Today we are trying to show case with member s of the hub have been able to build overtime. For the past two years we’ve been teaching them a lot of technology and they’ve been able to build some solutions from what they’ve learnt. We encourage them to look at the environment and see how they can proffer solutions to challenges in the environment.
FR News: Are you satisfied with the quality of demonstration today?
Hub: I am very proud of all of them. Like I said before, we need the young people in Nigeria to start thinking the way these guys are thinking. If we have a lot of young people thing like this, we will grow the economy and youth restiveness and other vices will reduce because as a young person, if you build a solution and you are being paid some good money, no politician will be able to influence you to carry guns for them. I am very proud of what they are doing.
FR News: What are challenges you have encountered in the course of training them?
HUB: A lot of them still don’t understand the opportunities that is been exposed to them. They don’t know the value of what we are giving to them. Because ai could remember there was a time when I could remember the time when I was very young, I was learning Tech too and I would go to Cyber Cafes to learn and it was a terrible experience. It slowed my learning experience. But having a space like this where people can come and enjoy power, internet yet some youths are yet to seize the opportunity. A lot of these young people don’t want to take their time to build themselves. Whatever we are doing here is not magic. If you come in here in the next one or two years, you will still be learning and equipping yourself. The young people don’t have that time, they are looking for fast ways of making money. These young people need a lot of mentorship and guidance but many of them don’t have this passion and motivation.
FR News: Do you have a system for mentorship or you just train them and send them out?
HUB: We are mentors ourselves and we grow more mentors. If you come into the Hub, after one year of learning from the Hub, we make you a mentor. Some of them volunteers to be mentors to help encourage other young ones.
FR News: Is technology lucrative in this part of the world?
HUB: Technology is amazing. The developed countries are running very fast with technology because no country can develop without technology. For now, and in the past, the acceptance has not been encouraging but I tell you the truth the time is coming when nobody can escape from technology. Is going to be everywhere. There’s technology in health, education, military, agriculture, commerce. There’s hope that in the nearest future people will appreciate the use of tech to solve problems more.
FR News: How can the government come in to encourage more young people to embrace technology as a way of generating revenue for themselves
HUB: Government has a major role to play and if they are not playing this role, the development of tech is going to be very slow. First of all, they need to upgrade our curriculum to fit industry standard. They should introduce and create awareness of opportunities in technology from primary school to make it easier for them to get a hand on it from the young age. To develop the technology ecosystem, government must identify and work with hubs.
FR News: You mentioned incubation, can you speak more about it?
We run this program called an incubation program. The incubation program is called Ken Jnr Incubation Programme. Every six months, we call for application from persons who have been able to use technology to solve issues in any sector, then we select the best four and incubate them. We the give each of the participating startups the basic support to help them grow through an enabling environment. We give them an office space, we give them power, internet and train them on marketing, legal, engineering and other areas that will help them to succeed and then we give them N500,000 to support them. The incubation programme was designed to support people who want to set up businesses that would help the Niger Delta economy grow.
FR News: When is your next incubation circle?
We are currently doing the second Cohort which is a group of people in a particular incubation program. The present set will graduate in the next two months and after that we will call for applications for the next cohort.
FR News: What’s the future of the Ken Saro-Wiwa Innovation Center in the next five to ten years?
HUB: in the next five to ten years if we keep doing what we are doing now, we would have been able to produce some of the best technology people in Port Harcourt and the Niger Delta. We hope to see startups that have become million dollar companies. Also we should have expanded to all the states in the Niger Delta
NDDC Boss, a Promise Keeper, says UNIUYO VC
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Professor Nyakudo Ndaeyo, has described the Interim Administrator/CEO of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Efiong Okon Akwa, as a promise keeper for ensuring that the long-abandoned 1000-bed NDDC hostel would soon be completed.
Professor Ndaeyo made this declaration when Mr. Akwa paid him a courtesy visit at UNIUYO Senate Chambers, as part of an inspection of the hostel project in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital.
The Vice Chancellor disclosed that he had extracted the promise from the NDDC boss to complete the project shortly after his appointment as Head of the interventionist agency.
Professor Ndaeyo thanked the NDDC for assisting the university to ease the pressure of accommodation, stressing the need to provide the university’s undergraduates with a conducive learning and living environment in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Akwa, who was accompanied by the state director of the Commission, Mr. Obot Udoette, and directors of the Commission, stated that the hostel, sited at the permanent site of the University, will be completed and commissioned next month.
He said that the NDDC’s commitment to the completion of the students’ hostel project was a result of a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari to the Commission to ensure the completion of all its projects in the Niger Delta region.
He said: “The 1,000 bed students’ hostel being built will be a first of its kind in the region. It will have 500 bed spaces for male undergraduates and 500 bed spaces for female undergraduates and will include recreational spaces as well.”
He stated that the university was playing a very important role in the economy and lives of the people of Akwa Ibom State and the South-South region.
The NDDC boss observed that in an era of Covid-19 pandemic, it was necessary to assist universities to properly accommodate students in order to ensure adequate provision for social distancing in the hostels.
Speaking after inspecting the hostel project, the NDDC boss assured that the Commission would assist universities in the region to ensure that their students undertake their studies in comfortable and safe environment.
Akwa expressed delight that the project had reached 95 per cent completion, with only external works and landscaping still being worked on.
He added: “We need to pull out our students from the surrounding villages where they currently reside and host them in a conducive environment fit for learning.”
Fara Dagogo’s bill seeking 13% derivation to be paid directly to host communities bill first reading
A bill seeking to alter the Constitution of the country to pay the 13% derivation fund directly to oil producing host communities has passed first reading on the floor of the House of Representatives.
If passed into law, the 13% derivation fund will be paid directly to the host communities of each benefiting states through the Host Communities Development Commissions.
Sponsor of the bill, Hon. Doctor Farah, Member representing Degema/ Bonny Federal Constituency from Rivers State, said the bill ‘Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (HB. 1570)’, is intended to address and correct the injustices the oil producing communities have been experiencing.
In demonstrating its seriousness, a section of the bill recommended that ‘ failure of any state to establish the Host Communities Development Commission shall be deemed as an offence and such a state shall forfeit 30% of her monthly benefit from the 13% derivation fund till such a time that the Commission is established’
Before the presentation of the bill, the Federal Lawmaker had accused the Governors of the Niger Delta states, of wasting N10 trillion from the derivation fund over the years
“This is a very sad commentary as it relates to the oil-producing communities of the Niger Delta. The 13 per cent Derivation is the fund set aside to assist oil-producing communities to tackle infrastructural decay and degradation, emphasis on the oil-producing communities. What it means basically is that in sharing the federation account revenue, 13 per cent should be set aside to assist the development of these oil-producing communities.
” About two decades down the line what is there to show for the humongous monies that have come in? The Governors, past and present, view it as free monies”, he said.
“Between 2000 and 2018, over N10trillion from the 13 per cent derivation principle, have been shared to the Niger Delta Governors, on behalf of the oil-producing communities, yet the deplorable living conditions of the people from these oil-producing communities have remained nauseating and deplorable with the people battling and still reeking with the worst and highest form of poverty, “he noted.
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