Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has reminded Nigerian Military and Defence services that 21st century defence and military actions can only thrive on innovation and research.
To this end, TETFund encouraged the defence sub-committee of its Research and Development Standing Committee to leverage on the opportunity provided by TETFund to lead efforts on collaborative research in defence and operations for a better Military.
TETFund Executive Secretary, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, who spoke at a meeting with the 13-man Defence and Security Research and Development Sub-committee, at the Army headquarters, Abuja, stressed the need for the Army to intensify research on defence, innovation and technology.
He stated that in the past, warfare was on the field but in 21st century world, warfare has gone digital and nuclear, which means injection of time, technology and innovation.
“Unlike what we had immediately post-independence, we saw the military by the colours of the uniform they wore and the beautiful berets, but I tell you contemporary military is known and associated with contemporary innovations,” he said.
He disclosed that the TETFund Research and Development Standing Committee, headed by Prof. Njiddah Gadzama, has Vice Chairmen drawn from the industry, academia, and government in line with the triple helix concept.
Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Gadzama, in his remarks, confirmed that no country has joined the comity of developed nations without strong research and development component of the government.
He described the Army as a special group he was happy to tag along in research efforts, adding that 160 members of the standing committee are highly specialised people put together.
He called on the military to support the committee in actualising its vision of establishing a national research foundation as without security, all the 12 groups including would not achieve anything.
He disclosed that apart from the military, the committee has 12 more research groups including agriculture, environmental resources, medicine, pharmaceuticals, ICT, digital economy, petroleum resources, solid mineral and mining, industrialisation, engineering technology and material science, infrastructural development, education, energy, governance, social development and internal security.
Responding, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, backed the call for the establishment of a national research and development foundation, pledging that the military would urge its partners to key into the foundation.
Buratai disclosed that the Nigerian Army has been engaged in research and development for a long time, adding that over the years, it has participated in research and development exhibition workshops both at home and abroad.
He said: “In our desire to carry out innovation, research and development that the department of innovation and transformation was established, and over the years it has participated in several research and development exhibitions, seminars, workshops both at home and abroad.
“Our Nigerian Army engineers, Nigerian Army signals, and in fact, intelligence and military bodies in various forms and ways embark on research and development with particular interest in the rechargeable blasting device which was the work of research carried out by Nigerian Army Engineers proven to be very useful in demolition and other field operations.”
He, thus called for support for the Nigerian Army Simulation Centre, which is making efforts to domesticate some of the training received by officers, adding that developed countries in the world are where they are because of research and development.
Earlier, the Coordinator of the Defence and Military Sub-committee, Air Vice Marshal Onyemaechi Osahor, who articulated the objectives of the sub-committee, said their efforts are aimed at enhancing the attainment of self-reliance of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in platform and equipment holding through collaborative research with the academia and industry.”
Osahor further noted that TETFund’s standing committee on Research and Development was put in place to project Nigeria into a knowledge based economy through need-based well-articulated and funded research and development.