FG Collaborates With Vatican For The Development Of Science And Technology

In a process upgrading the development of science in the country, the Federal Government has joined hands with the Vatican to setup a science centre in Imo State

Ogbonnaya Onu,  the Science and Technology minister stated this on Saturday in Mbaitoli area of the state.

“The Federal Government entered into a relationship with the Vatican,” he said during a facility tour on the recently completed science centre.

“We are interested that our young people are interested in their studies; to embrace Science and Technology.”

According to him, the science centre will soon be inaugurated and will admit students from other parts of Africa.

Students will be taught Chemistry, with complementary subject areas in Biology, Physics and Mathematics, according to the minister.

The Minister also reiterated the commitment of the Buhari administration to reposition the nation’s technological space to meet global standards.

The decision to set up the centre for children from all African countries was influenced by a study conducted by the Vatican.

In its findings, the Vatican discovered that the difference between developing and developing countries is the level of Science and Technology, a country embraces.

Consequently, the government’s mission is to engage young Africans in studying science and technology aimed at developing the continent that would create jobs, wealth, fight poverty and diseases.

Photonews: Aregbesola Joins Minister At National Council Of Science And Technology Meeting

Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola joined the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu at the 14th Meeting of the National Council on Science and Technology (NCST), at the Grand Atlantis Event Centre, Osogbo last weekend. See pictures from the meeting below.





FG Deploying Technology To Diversify Economy

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonaya Onu, says the Federal Government is using science and technology to diversify the Nigerian economy.

Onu said this on Friday during a visit to Bioresources Development Centre, Odi, Bayelsa.

He noted that technology was critical to economic development, adding that government had adopted technology to achieve economic progress.

The minister expressed optimism that the centre would be a catalyst to development of the Niger Delta region; as it had capacity for quick technology transfer to rural dwellers and peasant farmers to increase agricultural yields.

Onu said, “No nation achieves development without science and technology and Nigeria cannot be an exception, the Federal Government has adopted science and technology to achieve economic diversification and progress.

“I am happy with the progress being made at Bioresources Development Centre in Odi and it is going to be a model for other centres across the country to ensure food security.

“The centre is showcasing the results of research and applying it for the benefit of the communities who will benefit by transferring technology to improve on yields and create wealth for the people.”

He noted that the centre had achieved success in grass cutter breeding, snail farming, aquaculture, mushroom technology transfer and plant tissue culture technology, among others.

Earlier, Mr Josiah Habu, who conducted the minister and top officials round various units of the centre, applauded the dedication of staff at the centre.

The minister appealed for special allowances to motivate them for greater productivity.

“The work you see here today is not the sole doing of any one of us in particular but the contributory effort of all staff with the support of the agency and the Ministry.

“We plead that the Honourable Minister considers our plea for a Rural Duty Allowance in order to motivate staff who have left the big cities to come to the rural areas,” Habu said.

The minister was accompanied by Prof. Lucy Ogbadu, Director-General of National Biotechnology Development Agency, who reinforced the request for Rural Duty Allowance for the staff.

Nigerian Astronaut To Be In Space By 2030 – Onu

The Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, on Thursday in Abuja, said a Nigerian astronaut would land in space on or before 2030.

Mr. Onu made the pledge when the management team of the Defence Space Agency, led by the Director-General, Victor Udoh, an Air Vice Marshal, visited him.

The minister said the Federal Government was putting all the structures on ground to ensure that Nigerian astronauts landed in space on or before 2030.

“The space programme is very important for a country like Nigeria.

“The ministry will work very hard in the years ahead to strengthen all the structures of the agencies that will help us to ensure that the nation plays a role in the space,” he said.

He said the ministry would intensify efforts to ensure that all the arrangements needed were provided.

According to him, the space “is a major asset which nations like Nigeria must also be involved in for the purposes of protecting national interest”.

Mr. Onu assured the team that the ministry would support and work with the agency in the best interest of the nation.

Earlier, the Director-General said the agency would like to collaborate with the ministry in order to be more efficient and effective.

He said working with the ministry would fast-track accomplishments of the agency’s stated objectives. (NAN)

Use Science And Technology To Diversify Economy, Minister Urges

Worried by the undue pressure being brought on the nation’s currency by the fragility of the economy, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has charged the country to rise up and employ science and technology as the suitable instrument to help to diversify and strengthen the economy.

The minister stated this yesterday, while commissioning the Abuja Office of the Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technology, NILEST, at Jabi, Abuja.

This is even as the minister disclosed that the Federal Government will organise the first national science and technology competition for the 774 local government areas in the country.

The minister said the competition would be organised by the Ministry of Science and Technology and is aimed at identifying and celebrating the best among the young Nigerian scientists, to be selected from all the local government councils in the country.

He said: “By organizing scientific competitions, here in the NILEST office, our young people will benefit tremendously from a new scientific thinking that is needed to increase the awareness of our people to the role of scientific thinking that is needed to increase the awareness of our people for the role of science and technology in nation building.”

Onu, who underscored the role of technology in economic diversification, promised to ensure adequate equipment and strengthening of the centre to provide the much needed laboratory services to the nation, and to end outsourcing of such services

He said that the event was historic in the sense that it was the first time the institute would have an office of its own in the Federal Capital, Abuja, which would make the centre serve as a reference centre for scientific equipment needs assessment, as well as certification of laboratories for analysis and training.

The Minister said was deep concern about the need to diversify the Nigerian economy, attributed the challenges facing the economy to the mono-product economy syndrome, which according to him is largely responsible for the incessant increase in unemployment rate and economic down turn.

“Anytime there had been a sharp drop in the commodities in the international market, the fragility of our economy had been exposed with attendant consequences of high rate of unemployment and undue pressure on our currency.

“What is worrisome is that the nation tends to forget the hard times as soon as there is a recovery in the price of commodities in the international market,” he said.

Onu implored Nigerians to rise up and employ science and technology as a veritable instrument to help diversify and strengthen the economy, as Nigeria has no other option than to engage itself in technological innovations as a viable road to follow.

He assured Nigerians of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to employ science and technology to diversify the economy, create wealth and jobs, secure the country and sustain the rule of law in governance

FG Plans To Generate 4,000MW With Nuclear Energy

President Muhammadu Buhari has appreciated the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, for Nigeria’s quest to generate 4,000 megawatts of electricity using nuclear energy.

This came as Ministers of Power, Solid Minerals, Health, Science and Technology told President Buhari that Nigeria would soon start a program that will help the country realize the objective.

According to them, it will commerce with 1000MW of electricity in the first instance and increased later to 4,000 megawatts.

The ministers told the President that preparatory steps had been taken to train doctors and other medical specialists to prepare for unforeseen circumstances, establish specialist medical centres and procure necessary equipment aimed at protecting the health of the citizens.

Speaking while receiving Mr. Yukiya Amano, the Director-General of the IAEA at the presidential villa yesterday, President Buhari said he was happy that the organization was developing a program from which Nigeria would benefit.

President Buhari charged the IAEA to do more to support Nigeria, in view of the long years of its association and support for the nuclear regulatory agency.

The meeting which had the ministers also attracted the presence of the Vice President, Yemi Osinabjo.

Addressing the President, Mr. Amano said he was pleased to see that Nigeria was taking the correct steps toward a safe usage of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

FG To Establish Technology Development Bank

The Federal Government is in the process of establishing a science and technology development bank, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has said.

Onu said this when the leadership of the National Association of Motor Mechanics and Technicians led by its president, Mr. Suleiman Oseni, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja on Monday.

The minister said the bank would assist the informal sector close technological gaps and give financial assistance for research and innovations activities across the country.

He said the Muhammadu Buhari administration was committed to fulfilling the promise made to Nigerians to harness the abundant human and natural resources in order to build a better Nigeria by creating jobs and wealth through the application of innovations in the science and technology sector.

Onu said the ministry had commenced the process of establishing the bank with a view to implementing a venture capital component, which would help catalyse the process of technological development in the country.

He called on the association to brace itself for the challenge of population growth in the country by improving on the quality of time spent by the public at workshops and make honesty and reliability their watchwords.

Onu reiterated the pivotal role the informal sector offers in creating employments and job opportunities for teeming youths in Nigeria.

In his remarks, Oseni called on the government to help develop ancillary industries for the production of car components and accessories to engage mechanics in Nigeria.

He also called on the ministry to establish an all-inclusive research department that would different professionals to approach a problem from different perspectives.

The Punch

Stallion Group To Kickstart Full Vehicle Assemblage In Nigeria By 2020

The Business Development Manager of Stallion Group, Abah Ben, says the company is ready to source 80 percent of its content in Nigeria for its vehicle manufacturing within the next four years.

Abah disclosed this to Vanguard in an interview after his courtesy visit to the minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu in Abuja.

He said the move was part the company’s plan to commence full vehicle assembling in Nigeria. He added that the group has acquired the Delta Steel Company, Ovwian-Aladja, Delta State, which is now undergoing total rehabilitation to enable it supply the company the steel raw materials needed for its production process.

The Stallion Group manager said so far, the cars assembled in the country have about 17 to 25 percent local content as all the leather seats are sourced locally. Abah who showed some of the assembled cars to the minister, noted that the company is in partnership with several international car manufacturers in Germany, Japan and South Korea to produce their brands in Nigeria.

Responding, the Minister urged the company to ensure full manufacturing of vehicle parts in Nigeria in line with the Change agenda of the present administration. He stated that the call was part of efforts to enhance local content by Federal Government, urging the Stallion Group to shift attention from assembling to manufacturing of vehicle parts in the country .

The Minister insisted that such move would boost governments revenue, create employment and improve the profitability of the company. According to him, government is willing to fully patronise companies engaged in manufacturing operations within the country.

His words: “We will urge you to move from assembling to manufacturing. We believe that it will be good for you because when you start manufacturing you will engage more Nigerians. Nigerians will own what you do and that is one way it will be easy for Nigerians to patronise their products, it will help us in creating jobs.

National School Feeding Programme: FG Signs MoU With NASCO Foods

The federal government, at the weekend, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NASCO Food limited, Jos, Plateau State, for commercial production of high nutrient density biscuits to feed about 30 million school children below the age of 13.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Mr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who spoke at the signing ceremony in Abuja, said the MoU was necessary in order to advance the implementation process of government desire to enhance a healthy development of  children through the programme.

While the project will address the lack of vital vitamins in children’s food, the minister said it was also conceived out of the need to tackle the increasing food challenges facing children in primary school between the ages of five and 13 years.
“This is surely the best way to go as the nation is giving serious attention to utilisation of indigenous technologies as a potent strategy to diversify the economy to provide alternative revenue sources.
“In this process, jobs will be created, wealth will be generated and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), will be enhanced through the productive sector of the economy,” he said.

According to him, the high nutrient density biscuits were one of the products of Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), Lagos, which would meet at least one- third recommended dietary allowance of Pupils.
In a remark, the General Manager of NASCO Foods, Mr. Ibrahim Sani, thanked the ministry for counting the company worthy to partner with it in the commercial production of the biscuits.

Sani, said NASCO Foods limited is an indigenous company that has contributed immensely to the economic development of Nigeria in its 50 years of existence.

The wholly indigenous company, according to him, has capacity and experience to produce biscuit products to feed estimated 25 million children in public primary schools across the country.
Also in a brief remark, the Director General,, FIIRO, Mrs Gloria Elemo, said the mandate of the institute was to carry out research and development into food and agro-allied processing technologies.
She said: “The signing of MoU signifies the technical commencement of strategic partnership with NASCO Foods to fully commercialise the biscuits production technology.
“The biscuit is developed from indigenous crops which reflect the nation’s best in terms of foods security, safety and standard which will be commercially produced with this arrangement.”

We’ll Start Making Pencils In Nigeria By 2018 – Onu, Minister Of Technology

Ogbonnaya Onu, the minister of science and technology, says Nigeria will start producing its own pencils in another two years, as part of a wholesale production-sector revamp to be witnessed in the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking in an interview with Daily Trust, Onu expressed assurance that the plan would have a “meaningful impact” on the economy, because the wide aim of the ministry is to “commercialise developed ideas and research findings to principal levels”.

He dismissed questions over the importance of pencil production, saying Nigerians would be amazed at the multiplier effects, which will include the creation of at least 400,00 jobs.

“Yes, I have heard questions on why pencils. We chose pencils to symbolize the problems that we have and our commitment to local production,” he said.

“To produce pencils, we need wood, graphite, rubber for the eraser and possibly, we will need aluminium to hold the rubber in place. Then, we may need paint to give it colour. But even if we don’t add paint or rubber, already we have a pencil and it will write.

“Now, we have all the things to produce a pencil, which is used by a large number of people from our young pupils to engineers, and it looks simple to produce, yet we have not been able to produce it. That is why we talked about producing pencils.

“We have asked PRODA (the Projects Development Agency) to ensure Nigeria starts producing pencils in two years. It is actually not PRODA’s mandate to produce the pencils. No. PRODA is just to do the holistic research on pencil production in Nigeria. Somebody can start producing pencils here and will still be importing the wood, the graphite, the rubber, bringing in everything. No, that is not what we want.

“We want PRODA to do research to make the production process totally local. We have to treat the graphite to conform to the required standard for good quality production. We also have to work on the type, quality and shape of the wood to be used. The local content will also be total. This is PRODA’s assignment.

“When PRODA is through with its job, it is the private sector that will come in to do the production and we will see the benefits. When production of pencils begins, Nigerians will be amazed at the multiplier effects. It will create a minimum of 400,00 jobs. There will be the small-scale entrepreneurs that will do the beneficiation of the graphite, that is, prepare it for pencil production; there will be small-scale entrepreneurs that will prepare the rubber to be used as an eraser for pencils; and there will also be small-scale entrepreneurs that will also prepare the wood for the appropriate use. Can we imagine creating jobs for 100,000 people. The results will be amazing!”

He expressed worry that Nigeria has no single pencil-producing factory, despite the ease of required technology.

“PRODA has confirmed that there is not a single pencil-producing factory in Nigeria and even in West Africa. This is why we are worried. We know this is a technology we can easily handle. Beyond that, the number of jobs we will create in starting pencil production is very encouraging. It will also be good for the image of the nation,” he said.

“The pencil-production idea will make meaningful impact on the economy. It will certainly do. The wide aim of the ministry is to commercialise ideas, research findings, etc that we have developed to principal levels. And there are so many of them.

“We are working with the organized private sector. The National Association of Small-Scale Industrialists and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group had visited us here; they had never done that until now. We are making them understand we have taken a big risk off them by doing research and development and clearing the pitfalls, so theirs is to come in and invest

“The FIIRO (Federal Institute of Industrial Research) alone has developed more than 250 research studies up to the point of commercialization. And in incubation, we have an agency in charge that has done up to 1000 products. I have many of the products myself, and these are things we use on daily basis. Our major task now is to get these products into the market, but if they are not commercialised, and maintained, how can people know they exist? We can then start creating jobs. Government will also start earning revenues from the taxes these producers will pay to government to do many things.”

Onu also spoke on his recent visits to China and Indonesia for partnerships towards developing Nigeria’s science and technology sector, especially in local production.

He described the visits as a success, saying many of the agreements that were “reached” would boost local production. He also expressed optimism that Nigeria will be Africa’s technology hub by 2026.