NIGERIA: Ovia Foundation Harps on ICT Youth Empowerment

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The Jim Ovia Foundation, last week in Lagos challenged Nigerian youths from across tertiary institutions in the country to think smart and make better use of today’s technology tools to empower their future.

Speaking at this year’s Youth Empowerment and ICT Foundation lecture sponsored by JIM Ovia Foundation, Chairman of the Foundation, Mr. Jim Ovia said there was the need for Nigerian youths to embrace the 21st century technology in every facet of their lives.
With the theme ‘Social Media Awareness-The Good, The Bad and The Opportunities,’ Ovia challenged the over 800 Nigerian youths drawn from across various tertiary institutions in the country to ensure proper and developmental use of the Internet cum social media to better their lots in this 21st century.

According to Ovia, “some years back there was limited exposure to the Internet, but today things have changed dramatically with ICT bridging developmental gaps among nations.”

He appealed to the youth to take a cue from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who have explored the positive side of the Internet and social media to benefit the human race and in the process, empowered their financial status and that of the world economy.

Head of Information Technology (IT) at Zenith Bank, Mr. Francis Chukwunye, who gave some motivational talks, said everything in the world is driven by Information and Communications Technology (ICT), adding that enterprise has moved over to technology as a means of doing better business.   

“The Internet is right in our faces. The kinds of system we use to service are technology driven. The world has moved and Nigerian student must embrace the Internet. For today’s youth, the infrastructure driving social media is the Internet, which must be positively explored”, Chukwunye said.

Managing Director, Visafone Communications Limited,  Mr. Venkatappa Srinivasa, implored participants at the event to  tap  into the abundance of opportunities in technology to better their lots, while urging them to desist from any act capable of destroying their future.

Speaking on the Foundation’s objective, Srinvasa said one of its major objectives is to encourage the teeming Nigerian youths into ICT.
“Youth Empowerment and ICT Foundation has the intention of bringing and educating the younger generation on how to maximise the benefit of ICT,” he said.

Speaking on the dangers associated with negative exploitation of the social media, the founder of Bela Naija, a popular social blog, Mrs. Uche Pedro, reminded the youths of the story of late Cynthia Osokogu, who was lured by friends she met on the Internet, to a hotel in Lagos , where she was sexually abused and eventually killed. She urged participants to be extremely careful of business and other engagements they get into on the Internet.

About 1,000 BlackBerry smartphones and 140 laptops with one-year free internet subscription were given out as instant prizes to some of the participants who were able to answer questions correctly.

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