President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his administration will reposition Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) as a national priority to guarantee sustainability, high standard of living and quality of life for Nigerians.
The president, who stated this in Abuja on Thursday at the maiden meeting of the National Research and Innovation Council (NIRC), said Federal Government would fast-track industrial and economic development through the STI.
According to him, his administration’s determination to secure the nation, grow the economy, create jobs and fight crime can best be achieved through the promotion of science and technology.
``I am aware that Nigeria must accord high priority to Science and Technology if it must take it rightful place among the leading economies in the modern world.
``Nigeria’s vision of becoming one of the twenty largest economies in the world by the year 2020 is only attainable when Science, Technology and Innovation are fully integrated into our national socio-economic development process.
``That process will now be fast tracked with the coming on board of this Council.
``I wish to assure this Council of my determination and commitment to ensure that as a nation, we will invest appropriately in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in order to guarantee our competitiveness both continentally and globally.
``Our goal to secure our nation, grow our economy, create jobs and fight crime can best be achieved if we embrace science and technology,’’ he said.
The president expressed the hope that the nation’s research and innovation output would be measured by number of Intellectual Property such as patents granted and not only by the number of articles published in scholarly journals.
According to him, by this action, Nigeria will become a centre of discoveries, inventions and innovation in all fields of science and technology.
``Before long we should be in a position to produce Nobel Laureates in the sciences.’’
President Buhari noted that government structure of the NRIC provided for the establishment of a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).
He said the committee, consisting of technocrats from the various relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the Organized Private Sector (OPS), was meant to ensure full implementation of resolutions of the NRIC.
``TAC which is to be headed by the Minister of Science and Technology is expected to meet on a monthly basis,’’ he said.
He said that in carrying out its functions, the Council would be guided by the Strategic Implementation Plan of the revised policy on STI.
The president, therefore, charged members of the Council to discharge their responsibilities ``in the most effective and efficient way so that the tools of Science, Technology and Innovation are adequately deployed towards the development of our country.’’
In his remarks, the Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Ogbonnaya Onu, noted that the NIRC had never met since its inauguration in Feb. 2014.