By Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The Ambassador of the Republic Ireland to Nigeria, Mr. Sean Hoy, at the weekend, said Nigeria can only become a superpower in the world only when it can feed itself.
Fielding questions from reporters during a courtesy call to the Minister of Science and Technology, Mr. Ogbonnaya Onu, in Abuja, he advised that Nigeria should make optimal use of its huge human and natural resources through diversifying its economy.
He said: “I believe that the most important thing to realise is that the population of Nigeria is very big and this is the biggest economy in Africa and at the moment it is our largest partner.
“We also want to get our companies to invest in Nigeria to help you with your development especially in agriculture because we have a lot of produce from agriculture.
He said his country has a population of 5 million, but produce enough food for 10 times its population.
“Our dream is to collaborate with Nigeria so that it can feed itself with some external assistance from Ireland and you can decide what you want to import.
If Nigeria cannot feed itself when it is one of the biggest countries in the world, it can never be the superpower that it wants to be.”
In a remark, Onu said Nigeria will strengthen existing cordial relationship with the Republic of of Ireland, especially at this time when efforts are being intensified to diversify the economy, utilising science and technology.
According to him, the collaboration would help to build indigenous capacities through cooperation and mutual assistance, as a key component of the change agenda of the federal government.
Onu, affirmed that part of the ministry’s mandate is to ensure that Nigeria becomes a leading economy through value addition to the education of Nigerian youths especially in the area of Science and technology.
The said is in line with the present administration’s strategic plan, which is to add value on human resources through training, thereby gaining knowledge and be on the frontline of leading economies of the world.
He reiterated government’s efforts in redirecting the economy, from resource based to knowledge based, getting Nigerians to become more productive on issues that will add value to the exploitation of the nation’s natural resources.
He said: “This is an area where the Ministry of Science and Technology is re-directing its focus.”
The minister said Nigeria has a big advantage as she is endowed with intelligent and hard working people who are willing to embrace knowledge through proper training and education.