Science, Engineering Infrastructure As Catalyst For Technological Development
Posted: 13/Mar/2018


 At a time when the nation is looking at diversifying its economy by developing other sectors to become key contributors to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the science and technology sector has been pegged as one of the sectors that holds immense potentials for quick win for the nation. Science is said to be “cumulative verifiable and communicative knowledge” while technology on the other hand, is a body of knowledge and devices by which man masters his environment. Tucked securely under the science and technology sector is science, engineering infrastructure which holds enormous potentials of coming up with innovative tools and inventions to tackle societal needs and crystalize our highly import dependent nation to a self sufficient and technologically developed one. Speaking during the opening ceremony of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) day at the just concluded Science, Technology and Innovation Expo 2018, with the theme “Fast-tracking sustainable development of Nigeria through science and technology”, the executive vice chairman of the agency, Prof. Mohammed Haruna said  the theme of the expo which fit perfectly with the agency’s orientation along with other factors informed the choice of products and technologies which NASENl presented for exhibition this year. According to him, not only does the agency subscribe to the truth that only science and technology guarantees sustainable development, its management also believes that development and investment in science and technology sector remains the only sure way for Nigeria’s path to self-sufficiency and diversification of the economy and non-oil exports. He said: “This occasion affords my humble self and indeed the agency the opportunity once again to showcase in a peculiar way the technologies, products, and services indigenously developed and presented to the Nigerian socio-economy spheres-Stakeholders, Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), entrepreneurs, start-ups and the general public for mass production and consumption.” The EVC reminded guests on the occasion that the operational definition of NASENl mandate engenders it to catalyze the provision of science and engineering infrastructure as a vehicle for technological development. “Science infrastructure would range from primary school science kit required for demystifying science, laboratory supplies as burettes, pipettes, secondary school and tertiary institution experimental and practical equipment for capacity building in diverse areas of engineering to foundry and material technology. “Engineering infrastructure include pumps, fasteners, ie, blowers, furnaces, kilns, materials, photovoltaic (PV) cells, aviation, information computation, buildings, roads, rails, seaports, airports, new and emerging technologies of nano and advance material facilities etc,” he further stated. He said NASENl had achieved the long list of giant strides in all sectors of the economy as a proof that the implementation of Nigerian non-oil export policies or economic diversification potential of the country were viable. He added: “Our local research and development of technology and inventions, production of machines, spare parts as enumerated earlier are guarantees to entrepreneurs that Nigeria possesses all it takes for investors to look inwards for needed human capital resource and capacities to sustain any industrial venture. NASENl inventions and technologies are targeted at enhancing investors’ enterprise.” He stated that the agency symbolically chose to commission its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV); the electronic voting solution and other innovative products to get the attention of investors and captains of industries to partner the agency in commercializing the products. “To our distinguished investors, captains of industries, l crave your indulgence to endeavour to select out of a catalogue of NASENl products being exhibited at this Techno-Expo for commercialisation. They include: the design and development of the e-Voting solution for Nigeria, the NASENI agriculture but multi-purpose unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) which was developed locally, the wholly 1st made-in-Nigeria jet engine, 1st made-in-Nigeria solar panel and products, 1st made-in-Nigeria propeller turbines, 1st Nigeria small hydro power, kinetic turbines, 1st made-in! Nigeria tricycle (Keke NASENI), Nigeria’s most efficient energy saving LED bulbs, 1st made-in-Nigeria motorcycle, NASENl’s 24-hour cassava flour processing machine, three (3) -in-1 grain thresher. The list is endless. “Indeed, Ask us first”! is our slogan. “We crave for your partnership in this journey to revamp the nation’s economy in line with the Nigeria’s 2017 2020 Medium Term Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Federal Government. No economy in the world ever developed without leadership of the private sector. Home initiated and sustained science, technology, innovation and private sector leadership are the doorways to sustainable economic recovery for Nigeria. it is the secret of the Asian Tigers, the magic of Europe and the culture of Americans,” he added. In his goodwill message, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Saddique Baba Abubakar, said the expo would without doubt contribute immensely to the sensitization and encouragement of the populace on the importance of research and development. Represented by the director of research and development at the Nigerian Air Force Headquarters, Abuja, Group Captain Ahmed Shinkafi, he said it would educate, inform and enlighten the wider Nigerian society about research findings by indigenous engineers, adding it would bridge the gap existing between research findings and lack of awareness of the findings by the wider society. Earlier in his keynote address, the guest speaker, Prof. Felix Oragwu, one of the Biafran scientists who fabricated weapons, built airports and refineries for the new republic (Biafra), harped on the importance of science, technology and engineering infrastructure for national development, stressing that NASENI’s innovative inventions showed they were well thought out to meet significant needs of the nation.

By: Nkechi Isaac
Leadership