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Nigeria’s future belongs to you, minister tells youths

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[FILES] Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu. Photo: TWITTER/FMSTNG

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has appealed to unemployed Nigerian youths not to lose hope in the country, saying the government was working hard to harness the untapped potential of the youth for socio-economic growth.

Onu stated this yesterday at the closing ceremony of the 2021 edition of the Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) expo, which held with the theme, ‘Science, Technology and Innovation for Economic Recovery and Sustainability Amidst COVID-19 Challenges’ in Abuja.

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The expo, which is an annual event, brings researchers, inventors, innovators, and inventors together with the aim of converting ideas into products and services.

At the close of the expo yesterday, winners that emerged in the first, second, and third positions in the various categories were rewarded with N1 million, N750,000, and N5O0,000, respectively.

Onu, who said the expo had contributed significantly to the creation of many micro and small-scale businesses in Nigeria, maintained that it would help the country to quickly achieve economic diversification and ensure that the country becomes one of the leading global economies.

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He added: “A large number of the unemployed of today, which stands at 33.3 per cent at Q4 of 2020 should not make us despair or loose hope. Rather, we should see a tremendous opportunity that is open to our dear country.

Nigeria is blessed to have the majority of our population as young people.

“So, those who see a large number of young people as increasing the higher level of criminal activities, chaos, disorder and doom should not forget that giving our young people the necessary and appropriate skills will provide the unique opportunity to effectively mobilise them for nation-building.”

He applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for insisting that at least 0.5 per cent of the nation’s GDP must be invested in the development of STI, adding that effective utilisation of STI would accelerate national development.

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Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, reiterated the need for Nigeria to invest at least two per cent of her GDP in scientific research and development, so as to achieve knowledge and an innovation-driven economy.

According to him, no nation in the world could prosper and grow without investing in science and innovation, adding: “COVID-19 pandemic has made us know the importance of investing in research as we are seeing how those countries that have invested in the research were producing vaccines for themselves while we that have not invested in research are waiting for those countries to give us vaccine.”

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