The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has underlined the important role of science and technology in fast-tracking the sustainable development of Nigeria.
Addressing a world press conference in Abuja on the forthcoming Science, Technology and Innovation Expo (Expo 2018) billed to hold from March 5 to 9, 2018, with the theme “Fast- tracking Sustainable Development of Nigeria through Science and Technology“, he stressed that Nigeria could only take her place in the comity of nations if it was able to fine-tune, promote and harness its technology inventions and innovations for socio-economic development and rapid industrialization.
Onu however declared that the nation was recording some appreciable success in the science & tech.
Recounting gains of the maiden edition of the expo held between April 13 to 17, 2017 in Abuja, Onu noted that various research products of research institutes under the ministry displayed at the event had been picked up and commercialized by investors.
He pointed out that one of the research products by the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), the high-density nutrient biscuit which was picked and produced by NASCO Food Ltd. Jos is now available in the open Nigerian market while two other research products would soon hit the market.
He said: “Similarly, some inventions in the area of health care delivery have been taken over for commercialization by the giant pharmaceutical company, May and Baker. The finished product will be in the market in few months’ time. We expect many more to be commercialized before long.
“Furthermore, we also recall the memoranda of understanding recently signed in this very ministry between the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), a parastatal of the ministry and some private investors. This is also an outcome of the last expo.”
He stated that the interest and enthusiasm showed by participants at the maiden edition of the expo was quite encouraging and had spurred the ministry to begin preparation in earnest for the 2018 edition holding at the Eagles Square, Abuja with President Muhammadu Buhari as the guest of honour.
The minister said the primary objective of showcasing the technological inventions, innovations as well as research and development products was for the purpose of commercialization as the expo always brings together researchers, innovators, inventors and investors.
Other objectives, according to him, include to encourage interactions between researchers and investors with a view to commercializing research results, inventions and innovations from Nigeria’s research and tertiary institutions; bring to the fore the capabilities of Nigerian scientists, engineers, inventors/innovators in contributing to sustainable development of Nigeria; promote collaboration among research institutions and researchers/inventors; and facilitate growth of indigenous manufacturing hinged on science, technology and innovation (ST-I) as well as generally promote STI culture in Nigeria.
“We believe strongly that the expo will help our nation, in no small measure, to become self-reliant. The ministry will continue to support research and innovation so as to promote competitiveness. Indeed, without the contribution of research and innovation, we cannot develop indigenous technology to support our industrialization. Through this effort, we will be able to produce many of the things we need in Nigeria. This will help us create both jobs and abundant wealth as well as reduce poverty among Nigerians. Nigeria as a nation cannot be rich, while many Nigerians are poor.
“It is very disheartening to read about Nigerians being subjected to untold hardship in their desperate effort to cross the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea all in a bid to go to Europe. As a nation, we have mourned our citizens who lost their lives in this perilous journey. We need to put an end to this. We are also saddened by the despicable conditions that some of them are forced to live as they undertook such dangerous journey. We are also not happy by comments from some parts of the world, describing Africa, of which Nigeria is an important part, in derogatory terms.
“We are more than convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that if we effectively deploy science and technology to harness the enormous resources made available to us by nature, people in Europe will be the ones to struggle to come us. We have what it takes to achieve this,” he added.
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