Senator Abiru Innovation Lab Trains over 1,670 Youths on Digital, AI Skills

Senator Abiru Innovation Lab Trains over 1,670 Youths on Digital, AI Skills

Dike Onwuamaeze

As his 60th birthday draws near, the Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Senator Mukhail Adetokunbo Abiru, has identified the establishment of digital and technological inspirational centres as the sure way of building the employment capacity and entrepreneurial skills of Nigerian youths for the emerging global digital economy.  

Abiru told journalist yesterday in Lagos that this awareness informed the setting up of the “Senator Abiru Innovation Lab (SAIL) in Ikorodu, Lagos State, which has impacted about 1,670 youths with digital skills that cut across data science, artificial intelligence etc., which have helped some to gain useful employments.
He noted that some of the programmes that are delivered free at the SAIL go for N4.5 million per person and stated that the time has come for Nigerian youths to match their educational certificates and qualification with skillset for today’s economy.

He said: “The idea is to set up a facility that will help these young folks to upgrade their skills so that they can be employable and be entrepreneurial because that is the way the world is evolving.
“That is actually the thrust behind this facility that we are in. What the youths are asking for is a platform to realise their dreams. Not donations of computer units but inspirational centres they will wake up in the morning and rush to.”  
The senator explained that a true inspirational centre should have 24-hour electricity, constant internet access and choice faculty that would serve as facilitators and managers of the facility.

“The basic innovation and digital skills that we do here for now is in about five categories. We have what is called the ‘Tech Talent.’ It is a six month programme targeted at tertiary schools’ graduates who do not have digital technological skills and assist them to acquire foundational digital and software skills. We are particular about what our youths can do with their hands.  
“We also have the ‘Accelerators Programme’ aimed at improving those that are already entrepreneurs by enabling them to use technology to improve their business model.

“We also have ‘Data Science’ programme that runs for six months.
“We also have a programme for those awaiting university admissions. We call it the ‘STEM Programme.’ We have buses that go to schools and bring their students here.
“We also have the ‘Teachers Fellowship Programme’ that exposes our teachers to what is called inquiry based learning.
“I am happy to report that since we started this facility in 2021 we have touched the lives of 1,670 people in class.
“It is a small facility given the size of the society but it is a way of leading and also showing people that this is actually what we need to do for our society.
“It gives me joy because we believe that we are imparting on lives.

“Today, we are very proud to say that we now have a partnership with Awari, an Artificial Intelligence organisation. Awari’s  first call in Nigeria is here. With this partnership, it has been able to absorb about 160 people that were trained here and has given them permanent jobs.

“Today, the pay might not be fantastic but it is a good starting point. Their average pay is about N200,000 per month.
“If you ask me what is my greatest joy I will point to this facility as my greatest joy. I am particularly concerned in truly making people useful. I always like to equip people so that they can move on and be better.”
Besides the SAIL, which is an endowment initiative, the senator also has his constituency projects targeted at education, health, power projects amongst others.

His constituency’s revolving loans of N300 million that he is targeting to increase to N500 million.

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