By Stanley Iwuoha
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu says over 2500 research products by Nigerian start-ups have been released into Nigerian markets.
He said the start-ups were trained and nurtured by the National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI), an agency of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
Onu made this known this when he was conferred with a Honorary Doctorate Degree in Science during the 5th Convocation ceremony of the Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State at the weekend.
He called for the teaching of science and mathematics in indigenous languages early in life to boost learning and understanding of young Nigerians.
“As we encourage the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in our schools, we should, at the early stages in our school system, use indigenous languages in teaching science and mathematics”.
The Minister called for indigenous ways of funding research and innovation in the country.
“This will help convert ideas into products and services, reduce importation of goods from abroad, increase exports to other countries, create jobs and wealth at home,’’ he added.
Dr. Onu urged universities, research institutions and industry to relate with government, so as to encourage free flow of information for the good of the nation.
He fdescribed young people as inestimable treasure of the country, as they have dominated the world in Technology, sports, music, entertainment among others.
‘‘Federal Ministry of Science and Technology has put in place, the Executive Order Number 5 and the National Strategy for Competitiveness in Raw Materials and Product Development in Nigeria which give preference to Nigerian professionals and Nigerian firms in most of our economic activities.
“Hence, our young people should see the future with hope and great expectation. Working together, we will build the nation of our dreams,’’ he said.
Similarly, the Minister has said that the Age-Grade youth system in Nigerian society is a viable strategy to address unemployment, crime reduction and sustainable youth empowerment, adding that the system helps to develop youths in becoming resourceful and responsible future leaders.
Dr. Onu said this when he was conferred with the 2020 Heroes award as The Foremost Igbo Political Leader in Contemporary Nigeria by the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Wing in Enugu over the weekend.
Dr. Onu, said the age-grade system promotes peace, unity, patriotism, competitiveness and character development in their respective communities.
He further said that Nigerian youths have played key roles in the development of their communities.
The minister appreciated the youths for the award and tasked them to embrace science, technology and innovation, as a necessary tool for national development.
“Our desire as a nation to diversify our economy, build our infrastructure, improve our schools and hospitals, strengthen our currency, feed our people, generate enough jobs, defeat poverty and secure our nation can only be achieved through effective utilisation of science and technology”.
He further added, “When we are able to produce most of our needs at home and export the surplus to other nations, we will win the war for economic independence. This will help us create enough jobs for our people as well as create wealth for both our citizens and the nation.”
Earlier at the event, Chief Arthur Obiora, President, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Wing Worldwide, said Dr. Onu is a role model to Igbo youths and a politician with humility and integrity.
He further described the Minister as a true son of Igbo, who has continued to build bridges of understanding and oneness among other ethnic groups in the country.