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Young Nigerians become suspects, and are harassed whenever they are seen with laptops – Pantami

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Issa Bantami, said on Wednesday that the government has set aside 10 billion naira annually in the Nigerian Startup Act to support digital innovators in the country.

Pantami revealed this when he officially inaugurated the Nigerian Startup Act Implementation Commission (NSAIC) in Abuja.

He stressed that the economically leading countries in the world are those that have made knowledge-based activities, knowledge-based economies, as well as digital innovations and startups their primary sources of income. He said the law was crucial in promoting digital start-ups, which in turn will boost the ICT sector.

The minister lamented the unjustified harassment faced by young innovators in the country who are often mistaken by law enforcement officials for criminals, and indicated that the law will provide them with protection as well as legal, technical and financial support to help them overcome some of the difficulties they face. .

He said, “In a country like Nigeria, we are blessed with talent. We have innovators and young people who are proud of us. I have participated with Nigerian startups in many global competitions and we always leave our shoulders high because of the performance of our young innovators. A few days ago we were in Riyadh with some innovators. There were six global awards, two out of six were won by Nigerians and more than 12,000 people took part in the event.In the end, Nigeria was the only country with two global winners.This is really encouraging.

“In order to consolidate these achievements, and provide legal, technical and financial support for all of these achievements, the presence of the Nigerian Startup Act becomes essential. Its implementation also becomes essential, because we have explored some of the challenges facing our innovators in the country.

“Sometimes it is about financing. Today there are provisions in the law to support them financially. The government will allocate at least 10 billion naira annually in addition to the other sources of funding that are specified in the law.

Secondly, there is also leadership where we will have the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship chaired by the President of Nigeria.

“We also have an Executive Committee where we bring relevant stakeholders, some from government, some from the private sector, some from the ecosystem, some from academia, some from law firms and many more to come together and provide the leadership required for the technical implementation of this very important law.

“In addition to many initiatives, in a country like Nigeria, it is unfortunate that a few years ago, prior to our modest efforts to complain to the President, some of our young innovators were unnecessarily harassed at times by other institutions.

“Whenever they see young Nigerians carrying laptops, they become suspects. Instead of being encouraged, they are bullied and treated like criminals. Citizens are always innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. So all these issues will be addressed and are being addressed under the Nigerian Startups Act 2023 “.

Some of the members of the 27-person committee are, Prof. Sahalu Junaido, Chair, Chenene Mba-Uzokwu, Co-Chair, Prof. Olinka David West, Vice-Chair, Amal Hassan, Co-Vice-Chair, Bashirah Hassan, Secretary.

The other members are, Mrs. Juliette Odile, Bashir, Dr. Daher Sani, Prof. Bashir Kladanchi, Dr. Usman Oul, Ahmed Abubakar Bello, Musa Ali Baba, Kola Aina, Muhammed Jiga, Adayes Sokan, Yoande Ogogo Adiosi, Kasim Sudanji, Dr. Femi Adelweye Dr. Oswald Osaritin Jobadiya, Yaqubu Musa, Dr. Enya Sarah Lawal, Dr. Abdulsalam Omar, Seidu Abdullah Abdullah, Eng. Ikechoku Nnamani, Dr. Bala Modi, Dr. Suraya Ahmed, Dr. Abu Bakr Issa Omar.

Young Nigerians become suspects, and are harassed whenever they are seen with laptops – Pantami

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