In a bid to ensure increased budgetary allocation for researchers in the country, the Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI) and over 20 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) across the country have agreed to work together to pressure the National Assembly to pass the National Research and Innovation Council (NRIC) Bill.
ASURI leadership and representatives of the CSOs at a parley in Abuja both agreed on the need to raise awareness the NRIC Bill, saying once passed, it has the capacity to cause a technological revolution in Nigeria
Speaking during the meeting, ASURI Secretary General, Dr Theophilus Ndubuaku said NRIC Bill provides for the institutional research and training funding mechanism and infrastructural development for RDIs in Nigeria.
He lamented that Nigerians is not involved in research and innovation which he said is leading it to a failed state, adding that the reason why Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world is because there is a gap between research and innovation.
“You do not fund research through budget allocation on a yearly basis, there is an institutionalised funding mechanism where funds are available and accessible, such funding institutions are not available in Nigeria,” he said.
“In the 1960s, Nigeria developed a policy for science and technology which was supposed to take us to the next level as far as technology is concerned. Since then it has been reviewed 13 times, yet no action has been taken,” the secretary said.
He said in developed nations, they set up policies and start funding them but reverse is the case in Nigeria where the polices initiated and not funded.
He said ASURI will work with progressive CSOs lobby the 9th National Assembly to reconsider the National Research and Innovation Council Bill.
He explained that President Muhammadu Buhari had inaugurated the National Research and Innovation Council on the 6th of January 2016, barely six months after he assumed office on May 29, 2015.
He said following the pronouncement of the President on technological revolution and his body language, ASURI followed up with the National Assembly which thereafter passed the NRIC Bill which was sponsored by Senator David Umaru and co-sponsored by 60 other Senators. The sheer number of sponsors of this Bill underlines its importance.
“However, the Bill, which was returned to the National Assembly by Mr. President, citing some grey areas, was promptly rectified by the Eighth Assembly before the end of its tenure and re-transmitted to the Villa.It was not passed by the President.”
Responding, representatives of the CSOs pledged to work towards actualisation the passage of the BIll