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As Nigeria Embraces IT in Public Information Management Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Salisu, Nigeria Aug 12, 2004
Citizen Journalism   Opinions


The Ministry’s clients are therefore the Nigerian public, organized labour, private media, religious leaders, human rights activists, politicians, ethnic groups, academic and non-teaching staff unions, student unions, non governmental organizations, civil societies, traders, traditional rulers, international community, Nigerians in Diaspora, public media, federal government establishments, state and local government administrations, professional groups, international media, unemployed youths, farmers associations, military and Para-military staff, housewives and other segments of the Nigerian society.

In appreciation of its huge responsibilities to all citizens in Nigeria and to the international community, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Chief Chuwkuemeka Chikelu directed the various departments of the ministry to further improve on service delivery and to provide prompt information on government policies and programs through different media, provide reliable feedback through accurate opinion polls and daily review of all media, effective supervision of a well articulated information dissemination process by all government agencies through Nigeria’s internet website www.nigeria.gov.ng, proactive sensitization of the public through enlightenment campaigns, general printing and publishing services for effective public administration, among many others.

In order to carry out these functions and recognizing the role of information communication technology, ICT in public information dissemination and management, the Ministry has embraced full computerization as the way forward. Speaking recently at the 19th Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Computer Society, Chief Chikelu stated that “the federal government of Nigeria also recognizes the role of ICT in meeting its national development objectives through the process of reform intended to enhance productivity in learning, management and governance and has thus embraced the policy of E-governance as a cardinal objective”.

The Minister also stated that “in our task of public information collection, dissemination and management, ICT has a crucial role to play so as to ensure that while we embrace the development of modern means of communication, our culture and heritage are married with these new emerging technologies to give us a richer and more diverse communication and development strategy”.

The application of IT in public information has numerous advantages including speed. With IT, information can be disseminated within minutes, not hours or days as was the case. This speed of reporting, along with the time saved would enhance productivity and better use of human and material resources. Efficiency in public information management would also be enhanced as information can sorted and processed with electronic records management which is also a major advantage of IT.

The country’s national security is also another major benefit of IT in public information management because an authentic federal government website as currently exists is safe from manipulation of data or information. Thus, any form of communication posted on this site is usually genuine and can not be altered in any way. Other advantages include efficient utility of space, portability, lower costs, among many others.

Already, a project to link all federal information centers is being considered to ensure that information from these centers are transferred via internet to the headquarters to upward loading on the internet. The ministry, along with the NTA and FRCN are working towards web casting network news on the internet to make it accessible from anywhere in the world. Also, the National Archives, which is a repository of valuable historical documents, some of which are brittle with age would soon embrace IT. This would make it possible to have electronic copies of these archival documents which can be made accessible to millions of researchers simultaneously, while the original materials are secured. Accreditation of foreign journalist is also now possible on-line.

The recent launch of the ‘Nigeria Image Project’ is another effort of Chief Chikelu to enhance public information management in Nigeria using IT. The CD ROMs containing all relevant information are available to everybody seeking information about the country. The ministry will ensure that they are available to local and foreign investors, tourists, researchers, Nigerians in Diaspora and whoever requires information about Nigeria. In the same manner, the Nigerian official website is being upgraded to make it more user- friendly and to ensure that all relevant information about the country is immediately uploaded. The site will also become interactive in the not too distant future.

And yet, this is just the initial process of computerizing the Information and National Orientation Ministry. The objective is to ensure that public information is managed effectively in


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