By Peter Uzoho
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has stressed the need for Nigeria to look towards science and technology to develop the country, stating that any country that seeks development must pay adequate attention to the twin catalysts of national development.
According to a statement, Onu stated this while delivering a lecture at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, Plateau State.
The minister, who addressed participants of Senior Executive Course No. 42, spoke on the issues bothering on the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and how Nigeria can make an opportunity out of it by encouraging research and development.
He highlighted the achievements of the ministry under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and the synergy between the ministry of science and technology and NIPSS as the think-tank for policy in Nigeria as well as the ubiquity of science and technological innovation as the driver of development.
He disclosed that his ministry pledged a financial reward of N36 million to Nigerians who can find the cure for the pandemic.
This, according to him, has spurred many researchers leading to several research proposals from individuals and institutions claiming the discovery of natural remedies to cure the COVID-19.
The statement added that Onu discussed the efforts of the Science and Technology Ministry to reposition Nigeria for a techno-economic era as the oil and gas sector continues to dwindle in the international market.
The statement further read: “The leadership of Onu in the ministry of science and technology has restored the belief and confidence of Nigerians in the ministry as it has been at the forefront in combating issues of national, regional, and international repute.
“This ministry under Onu’s watch has recorded tremendous achievements which are unprecedented.
“For instance, the ministry has succeeded in the elimination of duplication of research efforts within the agencies under the ministry, thereby conserving scarce financial resources. The ministry has improved collaboration among research institutes, universities, industry and government.
“It has also has substantially improved the awareness of the public on the importance of science and technology to nation-building. It has worked hard to encourage our young people and the girl-child to show interest in the study of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”
The statement added that the minister at the lecture showcased the vision and efforts of his ministry to position Nigeria for self-sustainability away from the hitherto dependence on other countries.