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BREAKING: ‘How Lagos State is leveraging tech, innovation to build a digitised city’

The current administration has spent almost four years in government, how has ICT impacted LASG operations thus far?
Upon assumption of office, the Sanwo-Olu led administration sought to deliver higher technology outcomes through the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda, and more specifically, the Innovation and Technology Masterplan for the State. These plans sought not just to implement and adopt technology but also to drive innovation and R&D outcomes for the state. It wasn’t enough to just implement applications that would automate but to catalyse invention and innovation as a way of creating wealth and prosperity for the state.

Increasing investment in ICT has enabled the state government to automate a number of its processes, from its digital registration processes for procurement to its physical planning requests as well as its process for taking in innovative applications in the state.

A number of projects and initiatives have either been completed or started over the last three years. The Digital Cabinet Dashboard, an all-encompassing application that digitises reporting datasets for decision-makers is at an advanced stage and has scaled through beta testing. This platform allows decision-makers to digitally monitor stats about the city, from the number of road incidents to hospital bed usage within general hospitals. This platform helps validate investment and project implementation decisions in the state.

Lagos State is also completing its Oracle Upgrade project, which would see not just increased feature sets for its ERP management activities but a major digitization of the file-carrying process of the state. This project is also in the final stages. Today young technology entrepreneurs can apply for funding through the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council platform ( This platform enables young entrepreneurs to apply for funding for their technology innovations. There are a myriad of other initiatives such as the Smart city and e-government platforms in the works. Currently, 15 citizen services have been digitized and the Smart City project will agglomerate and increase service digitisation in the state.

There were so many issues around the Lagos Fibre Duct project, which aimed to connect the state with 6000km fibre cables. What is the status of that project?
The Metro Fibre Project was divided into two phases, Phase 1, which will see 3000km deployed and Phase 2 see another deployment of 3000km. currentlyphase 1 is almost complete with 2,900km deployed and about 100 public schools connected to the fibre network. The phase 1 deployment started as the pandemic kicked off. This, as you well know, constituted logistical challenges, however we were still able to work due to the determination to get the project off the ground. As soon as the governor came in 2019 the bidding and planning processes for the project started. Phase 2 ought to commence in the fourth quarter of this year at the earliest and first quarter of 2024 at the latest by our estimates.

There was also a plan for GIS mapping of the state, nothing seems to have happened in that regard. What is the situation?
Many things have happened in this regard. A first phase of mapping has been completed called the orthophoto. The next phase is being implemented as we speak, called the geospatial mapping, coupled with the LIDAR ,which lends to the distance and topography of the landscape and infrastructure. Even a hydrographic survey of the waterways is about to fully commence. So, a lot has been happening in that space. A land administration application is almost complete where citizens can apply for land approvals with surveys from the comfort of their own home. A lot of these would be coming on stream later this year.

There are still pockets of criminal activities in the state and looking at the smart city plan of Lagos, security would require some levels of innovation and sophistication. What is LASG doing in this area?
About 600 Intelligent surveillance cameras have been installed in strategic locations of the state. All these are wired up to a command and control centre where points in the city are monitored. The centre has direct lines to all Police, emergency first responders, fire, neighborhood safety corps and so on. The Intelligent Security deployment, a component of the Smart City was what also led to our installation of a Tier-3 Datacentre. This is part of our larger hybrid cloud, on prem infrastructure architecture for security. We’ve also partnered with some private innovation hubs on security hackathons to help bring the ingenuity of young innovative Lagosians into the framework of security in the state. These investments are ongoing. We are looking at deployment of about 2,000 intelligent surveillance cameras across the city in this phase of the implementation.

Mr. Governor has also launched the Data Management and Control centre for Waterways security and management on the waterways. The Water Police boats that patrol waterways for illegal activity have also been launched and are operational. A remote robotic rescue apparatus called U-safe was also launched. This device enables rescue operations to proceed much faster and much more seamlessly.

What is the volume of FDIs that the state has recorded through ICT?
We estimate that around N3.2 billion in venture investments have come into technology startups and subsequently flowed into Lagos State since 2019. About $1.5 billion in data centre Investment has been realized since 2020. Over $300 million in civic technology investment (fibre optics, etc.) has flowed into Lagos since 2020. FDI in technology is more than what has been mentioned, however these are some of the numbers I can give you with a relative level of certainty.

How is the state harnessing the enormous potential of the youths through technology?
Lagos State has empowered more than 353 young technology entrepreneurs through the Lagos Innovates Voucher Program. This program enables young technology entrepreneurs to use partner innovation hubs to build their companies. The hubs give them access to electricity, Internet services and so on. Lagos Innovates has more than 200 partner innovation hubs in its network.

Lagos State also supports Startups by engaging young startups and mobilising them to deliver services to the citizens. A case in point is the LagRide operator. This young startup came second in the first Transportation hackathon challenge we launched in 2019. The startup built the Lagride App from the ground up.

We also have Touch and Pay technologies, a startup run by young entrepreneurs who built and operated the Lagos Cowry Card, Lagos’ own version of an oyster card in the UK. This card is a transportation payment card that is usable across the different transportation options in Lagos including the BRT, boat services and the upcoming train services in Lagos.

Is there any support LASG is giving to startups?
Yes, the Governor through the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC) has disbursed over half a billion naira to more than 40 innovative startups in Lagos. These Startups cut across sectors in Agri-tech, health-Tech, Construction Tech, Circular economy, STEM instruction and so on. LASRIC runs and operates the funding support mechanism for Startups in Lagos State. Many of these startups have gone on to raise more funding in primary and secondary markets. However, LASRIC’s funding constitutes the largest funding scheme by any state in the federation. LASRIC not only funds startups but supports research and development initiatives in universities having received one patent for a Health-tech invention in 2021.

How can we relate technology with politics in the state?
A major advancement in the political framework of Nigeria is the introduction of the BVAS machine by INEC, which of course cascades down to state INEC bureaus. BVAS performance was adjudged to be at about 89 per cent in the previous presidential election, which speaks to the relative success of the initiative. One of the major things we are looking at is providing more information to citizens through data platforms about their state for better inclusion into the political economy of the State.

How has Art of Technology Lagos impacted the citizens of the state?
The Art of Technology event has been an exchange point and a showcase for all stakeholders in Lagos’s Startup and technology ecosystem. To date in total over 37,000 attendees have been to AOT both physically and virtually. Some of the outcomes of the Art of Technology event have been the first public-private co-dimensioned Innovation and Technology masterplan for Lagos. At AOT more than N120 million have been awarded to innovative Startups, STEM companies and R&D initiatives. The Art of Technology has also seen a number of new product launches and has garnered partnerships for the talent acceleration plan for Lagos. A plan that seeks to train thousands of deep-tech learning beneficiaries.