By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has said that his ministry would give every support to one of its agencies, the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructures (NASENI) to enhance its research in a way that the country would start producing solar cells.
This promise is coming four years after he made a similar promise that the country ‘would soon start production of pencils’, a promise which never materialised till date.
Onu stated this while fielding questions from journalists at press conference on Monday in Abuja, where he revealed that the federal government was making effort to ensure private sector takes over the moribund manufacturing plant owned by the NASENI.
The minister, who refused to reveal the name of the private firms Nigeria was going to handover the plant to, noted that despite making efforts to be producing electric transformers, it would guide and demand from the firms to make use of local materials to also produce power through solar energy.
He stated: “NASENI has a manufacturing plant facilities. I went there in Karshi. It can be expanded. So we want the private sector to come in and intensify our own research here in the ministry. We would give every support to NASENI so that they can do research in a way that we can produce solar cells.
“We would try to use our own sand to make our own solar cells and when we do that, we would reduce the cost considerably because the problem with solar energy is the initial investment is heavy but after about 5 years or so, it almost like we don’t spend much.”
Bearing his mind on the conduct of the general election, Onu decried how human errors caused irregularities in the exercise, while stressing the need to protect the country’s democracy, adding that the electoral process must be simple, clean, transparent and devoid of violence.
According to him, This way, we will elect only those who represent the will of the people. We have seen that most of the irregularities in elections can be traced to human errors and factors. Hence, the FMST will develop an appropriate technology to give our nation clean and transparent elections where violence will have no place at all.