We’ll Honour All Agreements With China – President Buhari

President Buhari at a meeting in China – April 2016

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja pledged that Nigeria will keep faith with all agreements signed with the People’s Republic of China.

The President, who received the Foreign Minister of China, Wang Yi, at the State House, said his administration is fully committed to the infrastructural development of the country.

“This administration is very serious about infrastructural development. We want rail, road, power, skill acquisition for our people. We ought to have developed beyond this point, but we neglected infrastructure when we had the resources.

“Now, we have to collaborate with you, and we will keep our side of the bargain in all the agreements we have signed,” President Buhari said.

The Nigerian President had visited China in April 2016, as guest of President Xi Jinping, and the two countries signed memoranda of understanding on projects, running into billions of dollars.

Shanghai
President Buhari during his visit to China in April 2016

Some of the projects due for immediate implementation include railways, the Abuja-Keffi Expressway, among others, while the sum of 100 million yuan would be released for agriculture demonstration centers.

In his remarks, the Chinese Foreign Minister described President Buhari’s visit to China as “very successful,” adding that President Xi Jinping looked forward to greater collaboration between the two countries.

Wang Yi lauded Nigeria for recognizing the “one China policy,” saying President Buhari, who fought a civil war to keep Nigeria one, knows the value of unity.

Buhari-China-Free-Trade-Zone
President Buhari during his visit to China in April 2016

He also commended efforts being made by the President to diversify the Nigerian economy, stressing that China will be a reliable partner in the ongoing efforts to restructure the economy.

“We will cooperate with you to achieve food self-sufficiency. We will also get involved in industrialization, hydro power, and the military and defense sector,” Wang Yi said.

The Chinese minister also said his country was pleased with the successes recorded by President Buhari’s administration in the war against terrorism.

Why Buhari Did Not Attend South East Economic And Security Summit

South-East Economic and Security SummitThe Presidency has denied reports that President Muhammadu Buhari snubbed the recent South-East Economic and Security Summit in Enugu.

His Spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu on Friday, released a statement he described as the accurate account, contrary to media reports alleging that President Muhammadu Buhari deliberately ignored the event.

“The President was presented with a request to attend the Economic and Security Summit by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.

“The President happily accepted. The visit to Enugu was scheduled for Thursday 22nd as can be found on the weekly programme.

“After this was done, some other stakeholders from the South East came and advised him to not go in view of the closeness of the date to Christmas; that given the sensitivity of the period to the people, a presidential visit may come with overexertion and possibly, be disruptive of Christmas.

“In view of this, President Buhari requested that the event be pushed forward to January, 2017. Given his nature, he did not insist. He said if the change of date is not possible, then the event can go on without him. That is what the organizers chose to do.

“The President did not, and he absolutely has no reason to snub anyone,” Mr Shehu stated.

Why Minister Thinks Nigeria’s Future Lies In Science, Technology

European Union, Ogbonnaya Onu, Science and technologyCreating new technologies that will help improve products and other services in Nigeria will provide the needed vehicle that will change the nation from a consumer nation to a producing one, the Minister  of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, says.

The statement is part of convictions put forward by the minister, as he lists benefits that Nigeria will get from fully exploring science, technology and innovation in the oil-rich nation’s quest to come out of recession through further diversification of the economy.

He made the suggestions on Thursday at the closing of the 14th meeting of the National Council on Science and Technology in Osogbo, Osun State.

The minister spoke on the “role of science, technology and innovation in the diversification of Nigeria’s economy”.

Instrument For National Rebirth

‎ He says no nation has become great without science and technology.

“It is high-time Nigeria looked inward and use science, technology and innovation to explore its national resources.”

“As I speak, economic challenges facing the nation require that urgent action is taken to diversify the economy in a sustainable and competitive manner by deploying science and technology as an instrument for national rebirth.

In order to achieve this, Nigeria must move away from being a mere consumer nation to become in the nearest possible time, a producer of many of the things her citizens need. We must consider moving away from a resource based economy to a knowledge-based, innovation driven economy”.

To achieve the shift, he called for a collaboration between the three tiers of government – Federal State and Local Governments – that would enhance effective domestication of science, technology and innovation policies.

The minister urged organised private sectors to explore ways of partnering with various research institutions and agencies to achieve a common goal.

He said: “I also urge the Organised Private Sectors (OPS) to explore ways of partnering with our various research institutes and agencies in commercialising viable products for the good of the society.

“The OPS can benefit tremendously from the research institutes by expanding their business opportunities through commercialisation of research findings.

“On our part, we have already begun efforts aimed at ensuring greater efficiency on policy implementation by encouraging closer inter-agency cooperation among the 17 agencies under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.

“I call on state governments ‎in the federation that are yet to create their Ministry of Science and Technology to do so in order to forge closer bonds that will strengthen overall national development”.

Economy Around Oil

In his remark, the Osun State Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, observed that Africa’s underdevelopment was due to inability to apply science and technology, urging Nigerians to change their attitude towards science and innovation.

“The bane of Africa’s underdevelopment and the bottom position that we blacks are in the world are due to our inability to apply science and innovate”.

“If we want a change in our circumstances as a people, as a race, we must change our attitude to science, technology and innovation.

“We are in this very depressing state economically because everything about Nigeria is based on oil. Our economy is built around the export of crude oil,” Mr Aregbesola told reporters.

The Governor, who advocated building of a knowledge-based society, encouraged people to stop depending on foreign products and begin consumption of locally made ones.

“It is a very bad thing to rely so much on foreign goods. Nigerians need to learn a lesson. Let us have less dependence on everything that we don’t produce from automobile to fuel, food, household products, electronics, mobile phones, building materials, sporting equipment, textiles, clothing items, cosmetics, attachment,” he cautioned.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Mrs Belema Wakama, said the meeting was to cross fertilise ideas on the how nation could come out of recession through the application of science, technology and innovation.

The three-day meeting which drew Commissioners for Science and Technology from across the 36 states of the federation and other stakeholders in the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology also featured the display of several innovations.

Nigeria Set To Commence Local Production Of Vaccines

vaccinesThe Nigerian government is set to commence local production of vaccines, as a deliberate effort to drastically reduce the rate of infant mortality.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, gave the indication on Wednesday while receiving a delegation from the National Immunisation Financing Task Force Team at his office in Abuja.

He said the ministry was determined to lead the way for the local production of vaccines, as there could not be any justification for Nigeria’s inability to do such.

“We used to produce and export vaccines in the past (but) today, we are struggling to be self-sufficient.

“We need to go back to those things that helped us in the past. We don’t want to continually remain a poor nation and rather being recipient of grants, we should be able to give grants to other countries.

“The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology will lead the way in making sure that vaccines are produced in the country to satisfy local needs and eventually for export to other African countries,” Onu said.

The minister commended the delegation for working in the common interest of Nigeria.

Gaps Vaccines’ Chain

In an earlier remark on Tuesday, Dr. Benson Anyene, who is the Chairman of the team, said that the main goal of the task force was to help Nigeria achieve Sustainable Immunisation Financing (SFI).

He explained further the SFI could be achieved by putting in place concrete effort to address gaps in the vaccines’ chain.

Dr. Anyene observed that if immediate actions were not taken, Nigeria might find itself in a position where it would no longer immunise children due to non-availability of vaccines.

He added that the task force would hold further talks with the Federal Government to ensure that there would be an increase in the budget on immunisation, establish an immunisation fund and get the states to contribute to immunisation procurement.

The immunisation official stated that 25% of Nigerian children die annually due to lack of immunisation, purporting that Nigeria was yet to produce any vaccine since 1991.

He stressed the need for policy documents and bankable business plan to shape the sector and solicited for the support of the ministry towards the realisation of the project.

FG Asks Space Agency To Address Nation’s Challenges Through Research

Space-techonologyNigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has appealed to the National Space Research and Development Agency to intensify research efforts that will address Nigeria’s peculiar challenges.

He made the appeal at the sixteenth Annual Space National Dialogue of the agency held in Abuja on Monday.

The Minister wants the agency to apply space science and technology to address Nigeria’s security and economic challenges.

He, however, appealed to the agency to make researches that would solve Nigeria’s peculiar challenges a priority.

The National Space Research and Development Agency was established in 1999 to pursue the development and application of space science and technology for economic benefits. How much of these objectives have been achieved is, however, debatable.

After enumerating the economic potentials of the sector, the Director General of the Agency, Professor Seidu Mohammed, said it was time to review how it has fared since inception.

The guest lecturer, Professor Ibidapo-Obe, said space science could help solve security challenges, including rescuing the abducted Chibok school girls

The National Space Center had in 2003 launched the first satellite, the Nigeria Sat-1 into space.
 four years later, another satellite, the NigComSat-1 was also launched.

Many, however, still argue that the effects of those efforts are yet to be felt.

 

Nigeria Has Home Grown Solution To Tomato Pest, Tuta Absoluta – Onu

Tomato-scarcity-in-NigeriaNigeria’s Ministry of Science and Technology has developed a pesticide agent that is very effective against the new tomato Pest- Tuta Absoluta – which has recently ravaged tomato farms in Nigeria, causing tomato scarcity.

The situation has been of great concern to the nation, as it faces its worst scarcity of the produce.

The Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, gave a hint about the breakthrough in Abuja on Friday in a meeting with a delegation from the KIDS-FEST who paid him a visit in his office.

Few days ago, the Minister had name Tuta Absoluta as the reason for the scarcity of tomato in Nigeria.

According to the Minister, an Agency under his Ministry- the National Institute for Chemical Technology, (NARICT) in Zaria developed the pesticide agent using natural resources available in Nigeria.

Dr. Onu further opined that the pesticide was a ready solution to the rampaging pest and that there was no reason whatsoever to “go outside the country to import a solution”.

“Nigeria, following the leadership provided by President Muhammadu Buhari will soon be in a position where other nations can copy from her rather than Nigeria copying at all times from other nations,” he stated.

It is the view of the Minister that the development of the pesticide agent and the expected mass production by industrialists and support from other sources will be a sure way for Nigeria to contribute to food security in Nigeria, Africa and the World at large.

The Ministry of Science and Technology, according to the Minister, is always ready to provide necessary support to all sectors of the economy in the sustained effort to promote national development.

Earlier, the National Project Coordinator of the Kids-Fest Nigeria, Prince Paul Ikonne, had informed the Minister that the KIDs-Fest Foundation was part of a global project which was founded by a German woman named Sussane Prahl in Sarajevo shortly after the ethnic crisis that rocked that part of the World over a decade ago.

It has since become a global brand that promotes social integration of children through various events designed for children to mingle, share useful ideas, learn new skills, exhibit their creative talents and generally entertain themselves and the society at large from their innocent and free spirited viewpoints.

The Nigeria edition is scheduled to hold in Abuja in August and the Minister assured the delegation of the support of the ministry in ensuring the realisation of the laudable objectives of Kids-Fest Nigeria.

Buhari’s China Visit: Expect Investments, Technology Minister Tells Nigerians

Muhammadu-Buhari-China-visitInvestments above imports, that is what Nigerians should expect from recent partnerships and agreements arising from President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to China, a government official has said.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, said that the Federal Government had signed agreements with the Chinese government for investments in different sectors of the economy especially transportation, communication, scholarships and science and technology.

He told reporters on Monday that a ground receiving station that would link Nigeria to China’s satellite base was to be built at no cost.

But the minister stressed that Nigeria must first set up an assemble-integrate-and-test facility so that it could starts producing its own satellites for development in agriculture, advanced crime control and other things.

He also said that the Chinese government was set to offer 700 scholarships as well as expertise training to 1,000 Nigerians especially engineers in the space development sector.

Onu Advocates Local Technology For Digital Broadcast Switchover

Ogbonnaya OnuThe Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu has advocated the production of local technology for the digital switch over in Nigeria’s broadcast industry.

Speaking at a meeting with the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Simon Shercliff, the Minister expressed hope that the switch over would help Nigeria’s technology capacity.

The British Deputy High Commissioner was at the meeting with Inview Technology, the UK-based firm appointed by the National Broadcasting Commission to enable digital switch-over from analogue.

The Minister advocated a local technology to aid the switch over process and explained that such a capacity would generate employment and help build Nigeria’s technology capacity.

He also announced that the Federal Government was planning to launch the nation’s first Science and Technology Museum to boost youth interest in the sector

The UK-based firm, on its part, promised to deliver in the next couple of weeks.

Nigeria Will Land Own Astronaut In Space By 2030 – Minister

Ministerof Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu on Space travel The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, says Nigeria will land its own astronaut in space before 2030.

Dr. Onu gave the assurance while in a meeting with the management team from the Defence Space Agency in Abuja.

The Minister told the agency that the Federal Government was putting all the structures in place to ensure that the dream was actualised.

“The space programme is very important for a country like Nigeria.

“The ministry will work very hard in the years ahead to strengthen all the structures of the agencies that will help us to ensure that the nation plays a role in the space,” he told the team led by the Chief of Defence Space Agency, Air Marshall Victor Udoh.

Dr Onu said the ministry would put in more efforts to ensure that all the arrangements needed were provided.

“The space is a major asset which nations like Nigeria must also be involved in for the purposes of protecting national interest”.

Responding to the Minister’s statement the Chief of Defence Space Agency, Air Marshall Victor Udoh, emphasised the need to set up a Space State Counsel that would aid the installation of a satellite for intelligence gathering.

Nigeria To Establish Technology Development Bank

minister for scienec and techThe Nigerian government plans  to establish a Science and Technology Development Bank, a government official said on Tuesday.

According to the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, the bank would assist the informal sector to close the technological gap and give financial assistance for research and innovation activities.

The Minister made the announcement at a meeting with the National Association of Motor Mechanics and Technicians in Abuja.

He told the gathering that the ministry had commenced the process of establishing the bank, with a view to implementing a venture capital component to improve the process of technological development.

Science and Tech: FG Promises To Assist Innovative Nigerians

ScienceThe Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, says government will assist Nigerians with exceptional skills in technology and innovation.

Dr Ogbonnaya made the pledge at a meeting with some scientists in Abuja on Thursday.

He said that the decision is aimed at making Nigeria a non-consumer nation but one which can become a major hub for technology transfer.

The meeting provided a platform for the display of an aeroplane locally made by some young Nigerians in the nation’s federal capital.

With cheers and applause, excited Nigerians watched the aeroplane soar.

The young aeronautic engineers took turns to speak on why they ventured into the enterprise, their challenges so far and how they hope to contribute their quota to national development.

According to them, the innovation came to reality after years of technologically driven research.

An obviously impressed Minister commended the engineers for their creativity and pledged that the government would be willing to support them.

He also expressed confidence in the Nigerian youth and promised to support other Nigerians with similar innovations.

Guests at the meeting also agreed with the Minister’s view that more support for its human resource would go a long way in making Nigeria stand tall in the comity of nations.

APC Leaders Hold Consultative Meeting In Aso Rock

APCSome leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday held a consultative meeting on issues affecting the party and the nation.

This was revealed in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity in the Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande.

Mr Akande said that the meeting, which held at the Vice President’s conference room, was very useful and resourceful towards achieving the goals of the party and the APC-led government.

Some of those in attendance include: the National Leader of the Party, Bola Tinubu, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Deputy Speaker of the House Representatives, Honorable Suleiman Lasun-Yusuf, and the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.