Mukhtar Sulaiman graduated in economics from Nasarawa Keffi State University and is deeply enthusiastic about technological innovations. In this interview, the frontend application developer with extensive experience in web applications and product management, talks about its emergency reporting and response systems, among others.
OWhat is your job and the services you offer?
I am a computer analyst and web developer. I co-founded Qvortex Software Solutions, a start-up that provides bespoke web and mobile management systems services, such as school management systems, transcript management systems and information systems interactive geographic analytics.
What have you done that is different from what is currently being done?
I created an application called Highway Emergency Detection System (HEDeS), a Mobile Emergency Report System (MEReS) and also designed the Hazoo Emergency Response System which could meet and end insurgencies in Nigeria and beyond.
What specific problem are you trying to solve with your innovations?
We all know our nation is under siege. Insecurity has worsened in Nigeria since 2018 and Nigeria was ranked the third most terrorized country among the most terrorized nations in the world in 2020 by StatiSense. Yet, there is no single system that can protect and defend against insurgency while keeping security personnel safe. Young people have the greatest role to play in securing our homeland and not always being dependent on security forces.
Thus, HEDeS is an acoustic surveillance system capable of detecting and notifying various dangers on highways by listening and transmitting highway sounds to a cloud server in which it analyzes, identifies distress sounds and reports emergencies to the control unit. I built a sound analysis AI that contains 60 different sets of distress sounds (categorized into six: screams, car crash, gunshots, screams, commotion and explosion sounds). Security agencies will receive real-time alerts of any highway distress or emergency so action can be taken immediately.
The MEReS is an Android mobile app that uses text message, image and button trigger for victims of unpleasant events like robbery, rape, kidnapping etc. to send a request for emergency assistance to the security units.
And for Hazoo Emergency Response System, it could tackle the situation using combat drone systems that use tranquilizers to temporarily weaken and paralyze criminals for 15-30 minutes so victims can run to safety. These drones also provide surveillance and report accidents to nearby hospitals to dispatch help and save lives in time.
The total cost of emergency response systems will be less than 16% of the Nigerian military budget 2021. With direct investments from the federal government, Nigeria will be among the countries that manufacture and supply C5ISR defense technologies like France, the United States, China, Pakistan and Israel.
What prompted you to nurture these ideas?
The idea of these emergency systems was born at the end of 2017 after a highway attack on the Zaria-Kano road which claimed the life of our head of department at the university and his secretary who was my cousin was traumatized. I was forced to think of a deep solution to fight against thefts and kidnappings on the roads. I started working on emergency systems in 2018, but gave up due to financial constraints. In January 2019, my younger brother had an accident and was bleeding for an hour before help arrived, and we lost him, however. So I continued the project but I need support to set it up.
What measures and efforts have you taken to make it useful to the nation?
In June 2021, we visited one of the federal departments to present it to the minister, but we were not allowed to make our presentation. Our proposal was shelved and not sent to the Minister’s office because we have not been able to induce a manager responsible for this since then. We need the support of the Federal Ministry of Communications and the Digital Economy to adequately demonstrate the operation of the emergency response system. We would also need the support of the Federal Ministry of Defense so that it can be supported and funded by the Federal Government to be implemented.
In terms of job creation, how will your system help reduce unemployment?
We decided to make the system manual and the AI and the drones will be controlled in a maintained way by personnel and to avoid machine errors. Thus, in each city, town or base, the Hazoo emergency response system will be set up and approximately 83 IT and security personnel will be needed to operate it 24/7. Thus, provisionally, 83,000 jobs could be created from the implementation of this system.
What is your advice to young Nigerians to find prospects in achieving their dreams?
Don’t give people what they have in their store, give them what you have in your store. Be creative and come up with solutions in a different and deep way, that way your scramble will be much easier and recognized.