Artificial Intelligence: Nigeria unveils first Humanoid Robot, Omeife

Na'ankwat Dariem

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The Nigerian Government has officially unveiled Omeife, Africa’s first humanoid to boost Artificial Intelligence (AI) and technological development in Nigeria and Africa

Omeife is the first African humanoid with near-human resemblance, language competency, movement, navigation, and behavioural intelligence using AI and Computer Vision capabilities.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who unveiled Omeife, in Abuja, noted that the domestication of artificial intelligence would help serve the needs of citizens.

Osinbajo, represented by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, who in turn represented by the Director General National Information Technology Development Agency NITDA Kashifu Inuwa said; “We are living in an exciting time of advanced technological advancement, where the science fiction of yesterday are becoming the reality in products and services of today.”

The Vice President also said that the federal government has the responsibility to ensure the success of the project and urged other stakeholders to key in to ensure the success of the Omeife project and develop new ones.

We are ready to support you and commercialize this technology. We want to see it deployed in our farms, road construction and in our classrooms.I have  directed the National information technology development agency, NITDA to partner with Uniccon for the commercialization of the Omeife technology.

He affirmed the support of the Federal Government for the domestication of the technology urging  the tech community to find measures that would ensure that Artificial Intelligence systems are built according to policies, regulations, laws and also domesticate such innovation in line with the Nigerian culture

The Vice President also allayed fears that technology or artificial intelligence would take over human jobs and render people jobless.

The Chief Executive Officer, Uniccon Group of Companies, Mr Chucks Ekwueme, said that Africa has been recognised for its contribution to the global tech ecosystem.

He said that Omeife has the ability to speak eight different languages, asides English language they include Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, French, Arabic, Kiswahili, Pidgin, Wazobia and Afrikaans.

“Through Omeife and our projects we are happy to play a part in helping businesses and people all over Africa to achieve their fullest potential by providing access to the most innovative technologies for efficiency.”

Ekwueme said the six-foot-tall female African humanoid provides language as a service for businesses that need to integrate native African audiences, adding that it is a multipurpose and assistance robot.

“It identifies and tags humans through face and facial expressions, paying attention to a specific item when required. It identifies objects, knows their characteristics and also calculates positions and distances of objects it sees,” he added.

He said that it is also child friendly as all vulgar words have been removed from her diction adding that the robot has an estimated revenue projection of 11.6 billion dollars in 3 years.

The Chief Executive Officer called on the federal government and other stakeholders, to commercialize the technology which was built for the African setting.

“The challenge now is the commercialization of the technology, we need support from stakeholders not just to commercialize it but also patronage and usage. I’m calling on the government, investors, public sector and industries to see how they can partner with us.”

The High Commissioner of Rwanda to Nigeria, Stanislas Kamanzi who commended the innovation called for the commercialization of Omeife the humanoid to boost Africa’s economy

“I challenge you to use this milestone to commercialize this innovation. Once we do that then we shall use this knowledge to transform the people to grow the economy of Nigeria which will develop the economy of Africa.

Also, the Vice Chancellor of Summit University, Offa in Kwara State, North-Central stressed the need to promote Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Nigeria  saying; “Nigeria and Africa must democratize  academic culture to bridge the digital divide by producing 21st Century thinkers, this will have huge positive effect on socio-economic growth of any nation.





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