The Canadian government and its Nigerian counterpart have firmed up relationship on space technology and cutting-edge research with the visit of the Canada Governor General, Julie Payette to the country.
Speaking during a meeting with post graduate students and professors of the African University of Science and Technology (AUST) yesterday in Abuja, Payette expressed Canada’s readiness to collaborate with Nigeria on science and innovation to foster the interest in knowledge through cutting edge researches.
“We are here to demonstrate our long-time collaboration between Canada and Nigeria and to foster the interest in knowledge in pushing the boundary of what we know so we can help ourselves and contribute to the progress and prosperity of our countries.”
“What we saw here that the students are showing us is that, innovation, expression, discovery is everywhere, is for us to tap into when it come to basic education and to do something with it,” she added.
Payette’s visit was part of her schedule of a three-country tour of Western Africa to highlight Canada’s strong commitment on the African continent by emphasising issues being faced by the countries, including the importance of youth involvement in society, equality of opportunity, inclusion and diversity, democracy, access to education, promoting science and innovation, the impacts of climate change and the need to support arts and culture.
Earlier in his remarks, the AUST president, Prof. Kingston Nyamapfene said they are optimist on the possibilities for collaboration on research with Canadian varsities.
Payette, the commander-in-Chief of Canada, who was an astronaut, engineer, scientific broadcaster and corporate director before becoming governor general also visited the National Space Research Development Agency (NASRDA) where she gave presentation on space to over 1000 primary and secondary school students across the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The highpoint of the occasion was the donation of her personal memento from space.
Welcoming her to the agency earlier on, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu said Payette’s visit would not only strengthen the relationship between the two countries but would also help encourage young girls and women to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), even as he averred Nigeria’s commitment to space technology development.