By Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The Minister of Science and Technology, Mr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has assured that the federal government would complete the Assumpta Science Centre at Ofekata near Owerri, Imo State, before end of March 2017.
He said government through his ministry has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with the Pontifical Council for Culture to build the Science Centre in Nigeria. He urged both the state and local government to join hands together to ensure the success of the laudable project.
The Minister made the disclosure at the foundation stone laying ceremony for the construction of Assumpta Science Centre, at Ofekata, near Owerri, Imo State.
According to the minister, the project is being implemented in line with government’s commitment to the initiative of International Universities and Youth Cooperation for African countries in informal science learning activities for sustainable development.
Onu assured that on completion, the Centre would contribute meaningful to the development of the country and that other African countries would become self-sufficient in utilising the available resources God has given them.
The minister maintained that national development would be difficult to achieve without the application of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), urging all and sundry to key in to ensure that the laudable project was sustained.
The Minister stated that the difference between Africa and developed nations was the application and actualisation of science, technology and innovation in all sectors of human endeavor.
He expressed appreciation to the people of Ofekata for their commitment and the donation of their land to ensure that the Assumpta Science Centre became a reality.
The Minister further assured that government was committed to the completion of the project in four months, calling on the state and local governments to join hands to ensure the success of the laudable project.
According to him, the neglect of science and technology in the past has affected Nigeria’s economic growth and development, but expressed optimism that things would change with the government’s commitment to use science and technology as driver of the economy.
He stressed that with the coming on board of the Assumpta science centre and other scientific innovations, Nigeria was at the centre of development with the available resources.
Onu, while lamenting that Africa had come to a stage where it could use its natural resources to develop its nations, said: “There is need for all the African countries to change direction, focus and embrace science, technology and innovation as it has a vital role in assisting humanity in all aspects of life, to ensure national security and higher agricultural productivity, better housing, communication, better health care delivery system.”
He maintained that the nation’s weak scientific and technological culture constituted serious obstacle towards achieving the economic diversification the country was yearning for, assuring that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was willing and determined to utilise science, technology and innovation as a tool to achieve diversification of the national economy.
In his remark, the Governor of Imo State, Mr. Rochas Okorocha, who was represented at the event by the Chairman, Mbaitoli Local Government Area, Mr. Chris Nwike, thanked the gesture done to his people by federal government.
He promised to collaborate and towards ensuring the speedy completion of the project. He also called on the people of the community to see it as an opportunity not only for them but for the future generation.
Also in his response, the President General of Ofekata Autonomous Community, Chief Alexandra Iwuore thanked federal government for its commitment to ensuring that the project is realised and pledged the co-operation of his community towards making the project a success.
Among dignitaries that graced the occasion were the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri Catholic Diocese, His Grace, Archbishop Anthony Obinna.