Nigeria Must Generate Data for Efficiency of Artificial Intelligence — Justice Zannah

Borno State Commissioner of Justice, Kashim Zannah has said that for Nigeria to favorably be at par with global happenings, the government at all levels must generate sufficient data for artificial intelligence, in the justice system.

He said even in tackling cases of insurgency and other security threats, artificial intelligence has proven to have capacity to mitigate such occurrences including the drawbacks that might accompany the technology.

Speaking during his keynote address on Monday in Abuja under the theme “AI for social justice: Leading citizen’s freedom of expression” and organized by Citizen’s Gavel Foundation for Social Justice, Justice Zannah said for proper assimilation of digital technology into the system, the government must first do its homework as data is essentially a tool.

He said: “The fears are justified, but that does not mean we cannot use AI in the justice system. It is about taking measures and ensuring that whatever drawback they come with are addressed and acknowledged based on the best approach and not on whimsical promises or mere talk.

“The AI tech itself can help in mitigating some of the drawbacks of the technology.

“The digital device militates against the optima use of AI. It is trying and the algorithm is trying based on data. But I Nigerian, have we generated sufficient data? So AI can be used, but you have to do the homework first and before you do that, data is needed. You can’t ignore it essentially because it is a tool.”

Convener and Executive Director of the Citizens’ Gavel, Nelson Olanikpekun, said the nation has struggled over the years in integrating the use of artificial intelligence into the scheme of things.

He said beyond the rhetorics, more is needed in terms of investment towards ensuring the introduction of AI as a tool in governance, the enhancement of processes, practices and policies.

“We have struggled over the years implementing digital platforms in governance. If you look at head of service for instance, they are just trying to digitize their platforms. Even in terms of elections, we have had this conversation concerning electronic voting.

“We need to invest more to ensure that we are moving from traditional analogue to digital ways and by so doing introducing AI as a tool.

In his analysis, Country Director, Accountability Lab Nigeria, Odeh Friday, said government investment should not just be in financial literacy, but also in digital literacy if progress can be achieved especially in the area of corruption.

He noted that the huge existent gap which includes the out of school children simply indicates that the next generation will be the kids of those who do not have access to technology, not to talk of building technological companies.

“Technology has continued to increase the revenue of advanced countries. Look at the number of our of school children, the government I still trying to tackle the issue and which is a huge problem.

“So the next generation will be the kids of those who do not have access to technology, not to talk of building technological companies. So there’s the need to invest more in literacy, not just in financial literacy, but also in digital literacy.

“Priority lies with the government. There is budget on security, infrastructure, works and housing, but you don’t have any of those going to digital technology or even education or healthcare. But we can have those platforms as done in advanced countries.

“If you remember, the EFCC chairman did mention that as much as 2.9 trillion naira is bee lost to corruption through the award of contracts and others. ICPC on the other hand says about 60 percent of our resources are lost in contraction and procurement” he said.

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