By Akanimo Sampson
Nigeria is currently considering Finnish high-tech to address its worrisome economic and security challenges.
Mobile technology and advanced software in areas such as process and network automation have been an integral part of the Finnish high-tech landscape for many years.
HighTech Finland says there is a growing number of small Finnish companies that are making inroads into other fields, such as data and software security.
HighTech Finland profiles a broad cross-section of the exciting work being done by Finnish companies and researchers – in areas ranging from mobile communications and sustainable energy to environmental technologies, new types of health care, advanced industrial processes and materials, and more.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, says the effective collaboration with Finland in areas of high-tech and trade will help Nigeria to tackle its national challenges.
According to him, Nigeria is battling so many security issues, including “insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and many other things”, the country needs friends who are in hi-tech like Finland to help develop and build its capacity.
Speaking on Thursday when the Finland Ambassador in Nigeria, Dr. Jyrki Pulkkinen, visited him in Abuja, Lawan said, “the best way to go is to deploy the technology. Even though at the beginning, it may be a little bit expensive, but in the long run, it pays off better.
“We believe that with you as our friend, you can find appropriate technology for our armed forces and the police to fight the challenges that we face.”
Continuing, he said, “Finland and Nigeria have gone a long way in terms of the diplomatic relationship since about 1963. Since then, Nigeria and Finland have been friends. There is something that we know about you. And that is to collaborate with the Hi-Tech country that you are.
“And Nigeria today is looking for high-tech. In fact, recently the Ministry of Communications was renamed as the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. That is to emphasize the need for Nigeria to go the high-tech way as well.”
Adding, he said, “we need our friends who are in hi-tech like your country to help us develop to that level that we dream of reaching.
“We believe that with you as our friend, you can find appropriate technology for our armed forces and the police to fight the challenges that we face.
“As a member of the European Union (EU), we need our friends at this moment probably more than ever before. Nigeria faces, in addition to insecurity, the challenge of economic development as well. We have a lot of areas that require the support of the European Union.
“When we export our agricultural products, most of the time, we face issues. The European Union will say we have not met standards or that there are some issues.
“I think the time has come for the EU to take the step that is necessary as a friend of Nigeria. That is to ensure that there is a conscious effort to establish maybe an office in Nigeria where we will be given the standards and be supported to meet the standards.
“So that when we export our agricultural products, whether in their raw forms as commodities or semi-processed or even processed, the issue of the standard will not stop our exporters from getting access and of course sale of their products. That happens in other countries.
“The EU remains a major partner of Nigeria when it comes to diplomacy. So we are taking this opportunity to appeal to you: Help us set the standards but make us meet the standards.
“Whatever you do in other countries to help them meet the standard that is required, we are prepared to meet the standard. Nigeria is blessed… But we are constraint when it comes to exporting our agricultural products.’’
Responding, Pulkkinen says his mission is to inform the Senate President of the impending visit to Nigeria of a parliamentary committee on Finance from Finland.