Dr Theophilus Ndabuaku, National Secretary-General, Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI), says no nation can develop without Science and Technology.
Ndabuaku said this on Thursday in Abuja, during strategic meeting of Directors-General of Research and Development Institutions and Leadership of ASURI on National Research and Innovation Council (NRIC), establishment bill 2019.
He noted that it was an undeniable fact that research was the engine of scientific innovations.
According to him, ASURI is very conscious of the enormous economic potentials of Nigeria.
Ndabuaku said, “We assert the incontestable fact that Nigeria is either second to none or maybe to the U.S.A. in terms of diversity, quantity and quality of human and natural resources.
“Given the abundance of God’s blessings, with minimal occurrences of natural disasters, Nigeria should be among the richest nations in the world.
“Many technologically-advanced and rich nations such as China, India, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia initiated similar policies at about the same time, but they were consistent with the implementation.
“At independence, the Nigerian economy was far better than those of some of these nations, but we have transformed from net exporter to importer of goods and services from them.
“Though Nigeria has been designated as the current poverty capital of the world, ASURI remains confident that establishing the NRIC is key to making our nation great again”.
He further noted that repositioning of the research institutions in the country would help to make unemployment, cybercrime, kidnapping, prostitution, human trafficking, maternal and child mortality, things of the past.
He mentioned that with NRIC Nigerian researchers would be able improve on crude oil refinery technologies and that through collaboration with Standards Organisation of Nigeria; the country would save more funds.
He commended the Federal Government efforts for establishment of the National Research Organisation Council, which he said would not only help to re-position research in Nigeria, also move the nation forward.
Earlier, Dr Jubrin Mohammed, Director-General of National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI), decried inadequate funding of the Science and Technology to hinder growth.
Mohammed, also Chairman of the event, said that although the first National Science and Technology policy designed to promote innovations was initiated in 1966, it was produced in 1986.
He, therefore, called for proper investment in the research development in the country to achieve desired goals.
“This point in time in our country is a critical one; it is either we make investments in research and development as nation than live by predictions now or in future.
“Otherwise, we will expire down the path on short sited cut to Nigeria Science and Technology enterprise, engineering and mathematics, education activities that supports us.
“Our children and grandchildren will suffer if we fail to invest: research and education leads to innovation and brings about economic growth, good paying jobs and revenue supports for additional research.
“The concept of sustainable development requires balancing environmental, societal and economic considerations, in the pursuit of improved quality of life,” Mohammed said.
Meanwhile, Prof. Peter Onwualu, former Director-General of Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), said that although government established research institutions, it should fund them to achieve targets.
According to him, you will hear about institutions such as NUC looking after universities, NCCE for Colleges of Education, NBTE for polytechnic and so on.
“Why do governments establish these institutions, because it is aware that you require these institutions to function effective, which institution has been established for researches, no one.
“How much do we give to research institutes, if resources are there you have no business being poor in the research institution, to succeed government must take leadership,” Onwualu said.
He, however, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the National Research and Innovation Council Bill passed by the NASS into law, to promote research development in the country.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the high point of the event was the revival of the Committee of Directors of Research Institutes (CODRI) by the participants.