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Advancing nanotechnology in Nigeria

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nanotechnology. Photo: AZONANO

*Minister charges research agencies on patents

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has said Nigeria is set to domesticate nanotechnology to enhance the socio-economic development of the country.

Nanotechnology is manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale. Nanotechnology may be able to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in nanomedicine, nanoelectronics, biomaterials energy production, and consumer products.

Onu disclosed this when he received the report of the National Steering Committee on Nano-Technology policy at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.

He further said that it is through nanotechnology that Nigeria can achieve food security, revamp the health sector, develop space technology, medicine, security and defence and in other aspects of human endeavors.

According to him: “Nigeria must fully embrace and domesticate nanotechnology, as well as commence further research to enable it to be in a leadership role in the areas of nanotechnology.

“In the areas of communication and space technology, nanotechnology is so critical because many of the advances in these areas would not have been possible without investment in nanotechnology”.

The minister emphasised the need for Nigeria to embrace the new technology in view of its rising population.

“In the next 30 years, Nigeria may be the third most populous nation in the world, while in the next 80 years our population will hit one billion. What this means is that we will have more people to feed and more to provide shelter for, “he added.

Onu noted that this was the reason the Federal Government is striving hard to develop policies with a view to making the economy knowledge and innovation-driven, adding that nanotechnology is an emerging technology set to revolutionize the manufacturing, technology process by making most products lighter, smaller, stronger, cleaner, and very precise.

He further said that the application and utilization of nanotechnology is being made in various fields such as Agriculture, Health, Medicine, and Chemical Industries to enhance the quality of life of citizens.

Earlier the Chairman of the National Steering Committee on nanotechnology, Mrs. Stella Igwilo said the policy would improve healthcare, industry, manufacturing, agriculture, and general development for the country.

She further highlighted the efforts of the Organized Private Sector, Research institutes, universities, and relevant MDA’s in the development of the policy.

In his own speech, Prof. Sambo Abubakar, a former DG of Energy Commission of Nigeria and a member of the steering committee, stressed the need for Nigeria to invest massively in emerging technologies for the benefit of the country.

In another development, the minister has urged agencies in the ministry to strive to get their research outputs patented so as to promote the rapid socio-economic development of the country.

Onu, who gave the charge at the quarterly meeting of the Honourable Ministers, Permanent Secretary with Directors and Director Generals of the Ministry’s 17 agencies on Tuesday said the increase in the number of patents will enable faster commercialization of research results, which will boost the economy, create jobs and wealth.

He further admonished that the commercialisation of research results must be done in Nigeria and by Nigerian companies for the country to attain maximum benefits from this endeavor.

In his words: “We must ensure that Nigerian companies utilize research results developed in the country, to encourage indigenous scientists and engineers do more research”.

He said more patents in research results will encourage youths to show more interest in Science, Technology, and Innovation, which would positively transform the country in no distant time.

“One yardstick of assessing progress in scientific research is through patents, “ he added.

Onu, however, called for more synergy amongst the agencies and advised them to look for additional sources to fund their research efforts, while urging them to partner with relevant universities and research institutes in order to benefit from TETFUND funding.

Earlier, the Minister of State, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi, advised the agencies to harmonize their working relationship with board members so as to actualize their vision and mandates.

He also urged the agencies to improve their constant reports to the Ministry, so that the Ministers and the management of the Ministry will be abreast of the agency’s activities.


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