By Haleemat Bello
The Nigerian government has asked people to stay at home as a means to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Like other nations across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected a lot of things in Nigeria and has proven the importance of technology during this period of lockdown. Many people, who hitherto had not been making adequate use of technology before, have started using it.
According to the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr Kashifu Inuwa said the outbreak of the pandemic has created a new world order which is making things to be done differently.
NITDA is the official government body that develops and regulates information technology in Nigeria. It has the responsibility of developing programmes that cater for the running of ICT-related activities in the country. Inuwa said the agency has commenced virtual learning through NITDA academy – an online platform that can be used to learn various skills by interested Nigerians. The agency also organised start-up clinics, inaugurated technology for COVID-19 Advisory Committee and launched COVID-19 innovation challenge, among other initiatives.
This disruption to human lifestyles ushered in by the global pandemic has equally created gradual shift to embracing technology, in almost all aspects of human life. Offices, businesses, schools, and so on are now making use of technology to advance their operational functions.
According to Mr Inuwa, “everybody is trying to connect remotely and virtually by embracing digital technologies especially Zoom and Microsoft platform. In Nigeria, we are using digital technology to keep businesses up and running. Technologies are being deployed by restaurants and banks; you can imagine being in this crisis without digital technology, we are going to be in total lockdown.”
Particularly, many schools have adjusted to the use of technology and incorporated it since schools have been closed down. Schools are now making use of the online classes since nobody knows when this pandemic will end. The Vice Chancellor of Nile University of Nigeria, Professor Osman Nuri Aras explained that they are trying their best to make sure that the pandemic doesn’t interrupt their educational activities so the institution is adopting digital platform to carry on with teaching and learning and other academic activities.
Many companies are about to fold up since company workers can’t perform their daily activities. According to Inuwa, “the only economy that works is the digital economy; the physical economy has shut down. In November last year the President unveiled the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a digital Nigeria and also in March this year, the President launched Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training which aimed at building the capability of Nigerians towards achieving digital economy.”
The importance of technology in post COVID-19 cannot be overemphasised. This pandemic has become an eye-opener about this reality; making people realise the importance of technology in daily lives and how best to adopt it for best practices. While this reality seems to have come to stay, schools across all levels in Nigeria need to come to term that adoption of technology even after the post COVID-19 will enhance their activities and productivity.