Data science will reposition Nigeria’s statistical system—Stakeholders

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By Okeoghene Akubuike

Stakeholders say the adoption of big data and data science will help reposition Nigeria’s statistical system to enhance effective statistical delivery.

They spoke at the ongoing 1st Bi-Annual Meeting of the National Consultative Committee on Statistics (NCCS), 2024 organised by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in Keffi on Tuesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the three-day meeting has the theme “Understanding Big Data and Data Science: A New Perspective to Data Analysis and Dissemination”.

Adeyemi Adeniran, Statistician-General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer, NBS, said big data and data science were at the front burner of global discussions.

Adeniran said the theme was apt for the vision for the future of the statistical system and policy-making in Nigeria, considering the critical role that data played in decision-making.

He said for decades, conventional statistics had been the backbone of Nigeria’s national planning, policy formulation, and development progress.

“We have meticulously collected and analysed data, painting a clear picture of our nation’s social and economic landscape. However, the world around us is changing, and changing rapidly.

” We are generating data at an unprecedented rate, much more than we have ever done in our lifetime from mobile phone usage to social media interactions, sensor networks to financial transactions.

” This avalanche of information often unstructured and complex, is what we call big data. Big Data alone, however, isn’t enough, and that is where data science steps in and makes a difference.

” It is a powerful blend of statistics, computer science, and subject matter expertise. It equips us with the tools and techniques to unlock the hidden insights within this vast data ocean.”

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Adeniran said the emergence of big data and data science was a major game-changer in the way data was handled in terms of how data was collected, processed, and disseminated.

” It presents us with vast opportunities to collect, analyse, and disseminate data in ways that were previously impossible.

“By embracing big data and data science, we can unlock a new perspective for data analysis, and dissemination in Nigeria, which will in turn affect the way and manner in which policy-making is done for the good of our citizens.”

Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State said big data and data science offered a new perspective on data analytics and dissemination.

Sule, represented by Munira Abdullah, the Commissioner for Finance, Budget and National Planning in the tate, said big data and data science had a lot of potential in the development of a country.

“In Nigeria, we have already seen the potential of big data and data science in various sectors such as finance, healthcare, and agriculture.

“For example, the use of data analytics has helped financial institutions to detect fraud and improve risk management.

“In healthcare, data science has enabled the development of predictive models for disease out breaks and improved patient outcomes.

“However, there are still challenges to be addressed. We need to invest in infrastructure, develop the necessary skills and expertise, and ensure data privacy and security.

He urged the committee to embrace the potential of Big Data and Data Science.

“Let us work together to develop a data-driven culture in Nigeria, one that informs our decisions, improves our policies and drives economic growth,” he said.

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Dr Hamidou Poufon, the Chief Social Policy Officer, UNICEF, said statisticians were the most important professionals in the world, and urged them to take their job seriously.

Poufon said reliable and real-time data was needed for decision-making and the development of any country.

He said UNICEF was committed to continuing to partner with NBS to move the statistical system forward as he hoped that the partnership would be sustained.

Mr Inuwa Abbas, a representative from The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said the theme was relevant as big data and data science were making headway around the world.

Abbas said that Nigeria must close the gap and catch up with the rest of the world in utilising big data.

He said statistics required adequate funding, adding that CBN remained committed to collaborating with the NBS to ensure the proper adoption of big data and data science. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Ese E. Eniola Williams

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