By Temi Ohakwe, Abuja
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, has called for partner’s with the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, NASENI, and the Nigerian Defence/security sector on research that will address technological challenges hindering military operations.
The Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, made the call in Abuja when he led the Fund’s R&D sub-committee on Defence and Security on a courtesy visit to the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi, Rtd.
Prof. Bogoro, who noted that defence operations were now digital, hi-tech and laser-guided, involving innovative technologies, said NASENI was deliberately included in the defence and security subcommittee for obvious reasons.
The TETFund boss, said the R&D committee will expedite action to ensure that a bill for the proposed National Research and Development Foundation is drafted and forwarded to the National Assembly within the next nine months.
According to him, “The emergence of the foundation will reposition Nigeria technologically adding that most developed countries establishes foundation solely for support of R&D.
“We are requesting that you support the case for the emergence of R & D Foundation. The most competitive technologies and economies in the world have something similar to this”
“In Nigeria we don’t have it, we don’t have the larger basket that is mainly for STI Fund , the bill has also failed to come into effect and we are hoping that the National R&D Foundation will be the largest funding for research , it is not just about the funding ,we intend to target the application of the Fund in areas that these subcommittees are identifying carefully that they will advise us , thereby leading to our interface with Attorney General of the Federation when the bill is developed.
“And to the National Assembly and to all of us we seek your support to encourage us. We are hoping that the Foundation should come perhaps much less than nine months from now,” he said.
Bogoro further noted that the sub-committee on Defence and Security is among 13 others under TETFund R&D Standing Committee, Chaired by Prof. Njiddah Gadzama.
Responding, the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi, Rtd, expressed support for the establishment of a National Research and Development Foundation to coordinate research efforts to address developmental challenges in the country.
Magashi commended TETFund for taking research and development in Nigeria to a higher height, saying that the fund is best positioned to drive the agenda.
“We are very proud that you are thinking ahead of the future of this country. We encourage this and we will give you the best support,” he said.
The minister said it has become necessary to enhance the development of home-grown solutions to the various needs in every sector of the country.
The Fund’s R&D sub-committee on Defence and Security also paid a courtesy visit to the Chief of Naval of Staff, Vice Admiral, Ibok Ekwe Ibas, who commended TETFund and its research committees for inspiring research in the country.
The Tetfund R&D Sub-committee’s aim is to ensure self-reliance of the armed forces of Nigeria in platform and equipment holding through collaborative research with academia and the industry.