By Hillary Asemota
The Director General, National Office for Technology Promotion and Acquisition (NOTAP), Dr. DanAzumi Ibrahim, has charged Nigerian Scientists and Engineers under the umbrella of the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS), to take advantage of the Executive Order5 (EO5) to fast track the economic development of the country.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the Academy led by its President, Prof. Ekanem Brande, in his office in Abuja, he said NOTAP had initiated programmes that will benefit members of the Academy, such as NOTAP’s intervention in patenting of Research and Development (R&D) results and or inventions for Nigerian researchers.
He urged members of NAS to submit claims of their inventions to NOTAP for assistance in patenting them free.
The DG informed the visitors that the Office also initiated NOTAP-Industry Technology Transfer Fellowship (NITTF).
According to him, the fellowship programme was designed for young talented Nigerians who had acquired Master’s Degree and are desirous of undertaking Ph.D programmes within the country.
The programme, he added was tailored towards solving industrial challenges or researching on new products that will improve the market acceptability of the sponsoring companies.
He added that over 25 Nigerians are currently benefiting from the programme.
The DG stated that in the cause of carrying out its responsibilities, he realized that over 90% of the technology that powers the Nigerian economy are foreign and for a Country that desires to be a major player in global technology market, the situation was unacceptable, hence the need to develop a cluster of highly skilled manpower to change the narrative. In an effort to increase local content and encourage economic sustainability in Nigeria, the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) has set plans in motion to collaborate with the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS).
Ibrahim added that the development of Nigeria lies squarely in the hands of Nigerians, hence the need to partner a professional body like NAS, stressing that the visit was very apt in line with the matching orders given by President Muhammadu Buhari on implementation of Executive Order 5.
According to him, the order was to ensure that all procuring authorities shall give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in award of contracts, in line with the public procurement act 2007.
The order, he said prevents the Ministry of Interior from issuing expatriate visas to foreigners who intend to come to take up jobs that Nigerians have the competencies and capacities to undertake.
Earlier in her speech, the President of NAS, Prof. Ekanem Brande said NAS is the foremost independent science body in Nigeria, established in 1977 but incorporated in 1986 to develop and advance Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in Nigeria.
She stated that the academy works closely with government to bring scientific knowledge to bear on the policies as well as the strategic direction of the Country, adding that the academy is the third oldest academy on the African continent and a founding member of the Network of African Science academies (NASAC).
The NAS President said that the academy has a working relationship with academies across Africa and globally as well as other organizations and it has successfully implemented projects with many of them. As with national academies in other Countries, NAS is a not-for-profit organization she said.
Prof. Brande further stated that the academy is Nigeria’s national representative on such bodies as the International Science Council (ISC)-the umbrella body for all science associations and unions as well as the Inter-Academy Partnership (IAP)-the umbrella body for all national science academies on a global level.
The academy according to her is currently based at the Academy House in the University of Lagos but has now acquired a land in Abuja for the construction of a new national secretariat complex.
She expressed delight on the warm welcome accorded her and the delegation by NOTAP, adding that the DG through his presentation had exposed the team to various activities of the Office which are also in-line with the mandates of NAS, adding that their seeking for collaboration with NOTAP wasn’t a mistake.
Signed: Raymond Onyenezi Ogbu, Media/PR Dept.