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Space research/Development: Henceforth Nigeria will take the lead says Onuh

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Space research/Development: Henceforth Nigeria will take the lead says Onuh

By John Akubo

The commitment of the Federal Government of Nigeria to upstaging it’s space research and development agency to take the lead in space exploraton for optimum benefits is sacrosanct, the Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Ogbonaya Onu has said.
The minister spoke recently at Kogi State University Anyigba where he commissioned the Laboratory Complex and Engineering Workshop building of the Center for Atmospheric Research (CAR).
According to him, “Nigeria cannot be indifferent to what is happening in space. As the developed nations are exploring space, we cannot be indifferent we cannot go to sleep and allow them do it and later we would go to copy. “No, we want to also be in the space. We want to be at the frontier of knowledge. We want to pursue knowledge as other nations are doing and there is very good reason to do so.”
He recalled the bitter experience in the past when some nations of the world explored the oceans of the world when very little was known about the oceans.

“Some nations decided to explore, navigate, to investigate and to find out what made the ocean.
“Our forefathers slept while they were doing that, they didn’t participate. What happened? As soon as the geography of the world was known, they knew the limits of the continent; where Africa started and where Africa ended but Africa was the second largest continent in the world bounded by two major oceans; the Atlantic, the Pacific oceans.”
He explained further that as soon as they completed that study it was like darkness covered Africa.
Onu said, “Today the world cebrates the Great Walls of China but if you go to Benin City the walls of Benin City are about four times the Walls of China. Yet we know that Africans were colonized, that between 1818 and 1885 a conference was held in Europe and not one African leader was invited and it was there the map of Africa was split in whatever way that they desired and what was the result?” He said the result was not acceptable to Africans as many of its strong men and women were sent into slavery and till today the effect is still there.
He asked rhetorcally whether Nigeria can wait while the space is being explored?
“Do we know what the consequence would be in the future? I don’t think we would wait, it is not advisable or wise for us to wait because that consequence will never be in our own best interest.
“This is why the Federal Government is determined to continue to support Space Research so that Nigeria will benefit tremendously from knowing what is in the space.

Onu indicated that through space research we will get to know a lot about science and technology that can be use in an average Nigerian everyday life and many of the things that are of very great interest to them.
He said there would never have been cell phones without space research.
“So we can’t afford not to participate in space research and development. So what it means is that we are committed to supporting NASRDA
“We are committed to making sure that all the research centers of NASRDA are upstaged for better results, that we would do our best not minding that we have very limited resources.”
He said the President Buhari led Government came at a time that the nation’s revenue had dwindled to about 40% of what it used to be which led it into a recession.
“But we are coming out of it and we will come out of it and we would do more on research and development and that is why we are supporting the center for Atmospheric research .
Director General/chief executive of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) Professor Seidu Onailo Muhammed said the center is specifically mandated to provide a sound education, research and knowledge in lower atmosphere; upper atmosphere (Ionospheric/Magnetospheric physics); Atmospheric chemistry and Enviromental science.
Other areas are he said Geomagnetism; Enviromental research; Tropospheric Radio propagation esearch; Solar physics, Solar terrestrial Interactions, Space weather, human space Technology Initiative; space debris etc.
According to him, the center is a world class research and Development Center that is similar to other research centers all over the world.
“It is committed to research and capacity building in Atmospheric and other related Sciences.”
The center he said is dedicated to understanding the atmosphere, the air around us and the interconnected processes that make up the earth system, from the Ocean floor through the Ionosphere to the Sun’s core.
“It thus provides research facilities and services for the Atmospheric and earth Sciences community.
He listed some of the achievements of the center within its short existence to include the study it conducted on the cause, impact and mediation of the 2012 flood over Nigeria which has prevented further flood induced damages to salvage the live of the people and save the country huge financial implications.
“Secondly, results from soil moisture variation studies carried out by the center are veritable tools for enhancement of food production.
“On global scale space weather Study by the center has put Nigeria on the global map of countries with such expertise and has greatly enhanced global data repository especially along the equator with it peculiar characteristics.”
Muhammed indicated that their research studies have also contributed to a safer air travel system and better security for space assets.
The contribution he said has been recognized by the global community that has led to several contributions and donations of research faculties worth ever all millions of dollars.

The Director reported a support from Japanese government and American institutions to the center worth over four hundred thousand dollars in the last three years.
He said, “The center is located in Anyigba, Kogi State as part of the vision of NASRDA to have at least a center in each of the geopolitical zones.

“The serenity of Anyigba town for such rigorous research activities provide by the presence of a world class university which provides the conducive enviroment at all time.”
He said the commissioning ceremony marked the end of the infrastructural development of the center and the beginning of the second phase which will include the Administrative block and ground existing Station to make the possible for the installation of required equipment by the center for the research activties. The Director General commended the ministry for its revoltionary break through in science and technology subsection in Nigeria expressing the optimism that the second phase of infrastructural development will recieve similar attention.
In conclusion he said, the agency has put the country on the global map of space faring nations.
“We will not rest on our oars until we deliver a Nigeria where space science and technology becomes one of the main tools for socioeconomic development.”

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Minister advocates increased funding for science and technology

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Minister advocates increased funding for science and technology

For Nigeria catch up with the advanced nations of the world it has to increase its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI), the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has declared.

Dr. Onu made the call at the Innovation fellowship for Aspiring Inventors and Researchers Fair organised by the Israeli Embassy in Nigeria in collaboration with the Office of the Vice-President of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.

Onu cited the State of Israel as ‘’among the top countries in Science, Technology, and Innovation because it spends over 4% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on STI’’.

While commending Israel’s strides in innovation and entrepreneurship, the minister said the National Board for Technology Incubation of the ministry is making substantial progress in assisting start-ups to incubate their ideas.

In his key-note address, Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo said Nigeria must accord priority to science and technology in all sectors of the economy.

Osinbajo, who was represented by Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr. Ade Ipaye said the inputs of Science and Technology was a life-saver during the pandemic. Despite the imperfection of our Healthcare system, it was able to minimize the negative impact of the pandemic, he added.

He indicated that the Economic Sustainability plan fund was disbursed to more than 100,000 beneficiaries.

According to him, the Federal Government has begun solar power electricity that would benefit 25 million Nigerians.

Prof. Osinbajo who described Israel as a nation known for its cutting edge innovations said Israel ranked as the second most innovative country in the world.

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‘Innovators, inventors, others, key drivers to Nigeria’s economic prosperity’

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‘Innovators, inventors, others, key drivers to Nigeria’s economic prosperity’

Director-General, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) Dr. DanAzumi Mohammed Ibrahim has indicated that innovators, inventors, and researchers are the key drivers to Nigeria’s economic prosperity.

He said the development of the country rests on every Nigerian irrespective of tribe and language as he urged them not to be under any illusion that somebody from another country would come and develop their country for them.

Ibrahim disclosed this at a one-day Stakeholders Forum on Promotion and Commercialisation of Research &Development Results, themed “Promoting Indigenous Inventions and Innovations for Economic Diversification and Sustainable Growth” organized by NOTAP on Tuesday in Abuja.

The DG added that the aim of the programme is to provide opportunity for indigenous innovators and inventors to interact with one another, share experiences, and where possible showcase some of their innovations for Nigerians to appreciate.

He maintained that the demarcation between developed and developing nations is the ability of the developed nations to spend heavily on research which he said make them very vibrant resulting in the development of technologies to improve the quality of life of their citizens.

He said: “It is an opportunity for us as NOTAP to continue on our struggle to see how our innovations and inventions will eventually translate into products and services and that is what in our strong belief would catapult Nigeria into economic prosperity.

“Nigerian innovators and inventors now have a platform, they have come together, they have formed an association and I am happy to say that NOTAP would continue to give them the necessary assistance to realize their dreams.

“We should appreciate by the development of this country squarely rest on us all Nigerians; it should not be under any illusion that somebody from another sphere or somebody from another country will come and develop our own country.

“So, it squarely rests on us, we have responsibilities and since it is technology that is ruling the world now, our inventors, innovators, and researchers must be encouraged because these are the drivers of the economy, these are the drivers of the businesses, these are the drivers that will move our country to economic prosperity.

“NOTAP decides to gather them and also give some kind of training or workshop and make a few paper presentations that are key in translating research and development into products and services.

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Bauchi Gov commissions environmental science laboratory

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Bauchi Gov commissions environmental science laboratory

From Ali Sara, Bauchi

For a cleaner Bauchi state, Governor Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir has commissioned an Environmental Science Laboratory for testing of soil, plants, water and seedlings.

Commissioning the laboratory at BASEPA premises on Monday, Governor Muhammed directed BASEPA to utilised the laboratory maximally to the benefit of the people of the state, saying the equipment will highlight both existing and anticipated environmental problems across the 20 local government areas of the state.

According to him, it will also identify vulnerable groups, measure the magnitude of the problems, provide solutions in accordance with the best management practice and provide cost estimate for implementation of the proffered solutions.

“The environmental science laboratory we are commissioning today will serve as one-stop solution center for analysing and sample safe custody of samples gathered from the environmental scan”, the governor said.

“Conventionally, it is indeed apparent, the most alarming and worrisome environmental challenges confronting us are attributable to the negative attitude, especially at community levels”, he further explained.

Governor Bala said, in line with the foregoing, government is formulating favourable policies that will clearly outline and inform the citizens of the state about their roles and responsibilities in ensuring environmental cleanliness.

“The policies are not initiated to inconvenience any one. However, we deemed it necessary to involved any one of us to maximally contribute in the journey towards ensuing sustainable development”, the governor noted.

He said that the modern environmental science facility will serve as a reference centre for testing the quality of core environmental components which include water, soil and plants.

The governor who expressed delight over the feat said, ” this is a platform for enriching lives in the context of a well-protected environment hence, the aspiration of every progressing society”.

Bala who said his administration inherited unwholesome environment from the previous government, noted that so far, the state government has recorded gigantic improvement in waste management through construction of modern and durable waste collection centres.

Also speaking, the State Commissioner for Housing and Environment, Hamisu Muazu Shira who described the environmental science laboratory as the first of its kind in the state, assured Governor Bala Mohammed of the total support of the Ministry for effective implementation of his policies and programmes in the sector.

He said that the state government has released the sum of N28m for the construction of modern waste collection centers in the state.

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