By Stanley Iwuoha
The National Council on Science, Technology and Innovation (NCSTI) has called for immediate commencement of building and launching of NigeriaSat-3 and NigeriaSat-1 to replace the Nigeriasat-2 and NigeriaSat-x which have outlived their life span.
The Council also stressed the need for urgent take-off of the National Research and Innovation Fund (NRIF).
The call was contained in the recommendations made at the 18th meeting of the national Council on Science, Technology and Innovation (NCSTI) held at the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Maitama, Abuja, with the theme: The Utilization of Science, Technology and Innovation for Post COVID-19 Socio-economic Recovery and Sustainability.
The meeting chaired by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Edet Sunday Akpan held between 23rd and 25th November, 2020 with Permanent Secretaries in charge of Science and Technology from the 36 states of the federation in attendance.
The technical session featured the opening remarks by the chairman, consideration and adoption of the minutes of the 17th NCST as well as presentation of 169 memoranda for which 120 were for Council’s noting, while 44 were for approval of Council.
The Recommendations of the technical Committee were presented to Council at its meeting Chaired by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and assisted by his Minister of State, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi and Information and Culture Minister, Alh. Lai Mohammed, representative of the regional director, UNESCO, Dr. Enang Moma and permanent Secretaries of states Ministries in charge of science and technology and related Ministries.
Also, the matters arising from the 17thth NCST meeting which took place in Awka, were considered with updates provided by the relevant stakeholders accordingly, a total of 240 participants attended the event.
Other resolutions reached at the annual meeting of the Council was the need for the composition of an Inter-Ministerial Committee of all the relevant MDAs for the development of a policy on Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) Warfare for National Safety and Security, as well as the inclusion of the Chemical Safety and Security Awareness into the Chemistry Curriculum in secondary and Tertiary Institutions.
The Council also stressed the need for wide and continuous public awareness on the talented Young Scientists of Nigeria programme (TYSON) and engagement of state Commissioners for their buy-in into the 774 Young Nigerian Scientists Presidential award (774-YONSPA); the need to improve the funding level of the SHETSCO S&T Park Project in order to facilitate its early completion; the need for capacity building of researchers on access to grants for research and development efforts and the need to standardize all the laboratories in Nigeria, from secondary to tertiary institution as well as to strengthen capacity building of Scientist/researchers.
The Council which commended the efforts of the Ministry and its parastatals/agencies towards the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic such as the development of raw materials for the production of face masks, face shield, medical isolation gown/converalls/aprons, surgical gloves and non-slip rubber boots, as well as isolation from mushroom specie for the pharmaceutical industries and the development of Simulation suits for design of processes and equipment and additive manufacturing as one of the reliable and sustainable means to curb the effects of the pandemic in the country further praised the efforts of NISLT in the production of 95% efficient bacterial DNA Extraction kit using local content with zero probability of causing global warming and environmental pollution with 95% efficiency.
It also underscored the relevance of the project mapping and strengthening the science, Technology and innovation System in Nigeria, especially in the integration of STI into national plans and the attendant deliverables.
The Council charged Nigerian youths to come up with creative thinking amid post COVID-19 pandemic and advocated for investment in STEM education as human capital production process, adding that establishment of Techno entrepreneur bank; revamping of SHEDA Science Park in partnership with UNESCO into a world class park would offer more opportunities for tech- start-ups to realize their dreams.
Other areas of interest captured by the Council is the need for NASENI to have high capacity for production of high quality silicon and doping solar panel including its promotion and propagation on the use locally developed solar energy devices and the need for synergy amongst FMST, AIR Centre and MDAs to promote researchers and development for a sustainable Blue Economy.
It however, stressed the need to strengthen effective linkage among the Government, Academia/Research Institutes and Industry (Triple Helix Innovation) for sustainable economic growth.
Other participants at the event were representatives of the Federal government and State Ministries, MDAs , academia, organized private sector, international organization and the media.