· 98% of Nigeria’s industries are foreign based, its researches done abroad, says Dr. Ibrahim
By Hillary Asemota
The Director General (DG)/CEO of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr. DanAzumi Mohammed Ibrahim and the Director of Programmes, Innov8, Dr. Obichi Obiajunwa, on Tuesday called on African countries to speed up with the culture wave of innovation and research for the overall and sustainable national development of countries within the continent.
The DG made the call while flagging off the 2022 Commemoration of African Day for Technology and Intellectual Property Rights (TIPRs) which comes on September annually. This year’s commemoration was held at the Innov8 Hub along Airport Road in Abuja, the Federal Capital territory (FCT).
The NOTAP boss alluded to the fact taht the commemoration of African Day by the then African leaders and Heads of states to arouse the latent intellectual capabilities of the African youths in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia.
The DG was emphatic that what makes the difference between developed and developing countries was advancement in technology therefore he encouraged all African countries to invest more on research and development to ensure that African nations do not remain consumers of products of technological advancement produced or manufactured by the developed world.
He added that developed countries had gone far ahead of African Countries because they had invested much in research and development, adding that 98% of industries in Nigeria are driven by foreigners and research outcome of their products done outside the shores of Nigeria
He regretted that the secondary and vocational schools that were major partners in commemorating the African day with technology and innovation exhibitions are not part of the event because schools were just resuming after a long break.
He called on governments at all levels to show commitment in investing in research and innovation, explaining that while carrying out the statutory responsibility of the Office, it was observed that the culture of Intellectual Property Protection within the knowledge institutions were low, hence the need to establish Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Offices (IPTTOs) to encourage inventive and innovative activities in the knowledge establishments.
He said that prior to the establishment of IPTTOs, researchers in the Universities, polytechnics and research establishments were not interested in patenting their research and development results rather they publish their inventions for the purposes of career progression. He said that with IPTTOs in place in the universities, the situation has changed.
In his presentation, the Director of Programmes of Innova8 hub, Dr. Obiajunwa, acknowledged that Innova8 hub is a private owned facility and a non-profit innovations driven organization with the mandate to groom generation of innovators, inventors and researchers for national development.
He added that Innov8 is a focal point for innovation start-up, incubation, technology transfer knowledge and skill impartation, prototypes development and fabrication. He added that the organization strategically assist organizations and individuals seeking to transfer their ideas into initiatives, inventions into solutions. He expressed appreciation for the partnership that has dovetailed into hosting of the African Day for Technology and Intellectual Property Rights in their facilities.
On lack of data to drive research in the country, Obiajunwa while answering questions from the sideline said: “Today, I alluded to the fact there is no information about our national data intensity which is a problem. Other nations put their data out there in public domain whereas this information is not out there in Nigeria and so there is need to create awareness and sensitization.”
He urged the relevant parastatals and agencies to collaborate to make data available for Nigerians, researchers and the media adding that is where action will begin.
On startups and what the hub, is doing he explained: “Here, we started working with startup two years ago this place was established just 2 years ago. Less than 24 months we have worked with over 100 startups and these startups have been sponsored by organisations like the Israeli embassy, Innovation Fellowship for Aspiring Innovators and Researchers (IFAIRs) and TETFUND, we have able to develop prototypes, technologists out of mere ideas.
“Lecturers and researchers are able to come to this place and budding entrepreneurs and young Nigerians that have ideas are able to come to this place they are able to go out with high fidelity prototypes and minimum viable products.
“This even before they will simply this about China but we are trying to bridge that gap and solve that problem for our country.”