The Federal Government, Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technology (NISLT) and stakeholders have acknowledged the potentials of applying research outcomes from science and technology to address societal problems which in turn will boost national development.
The observation of how science and technology can be used to proffer solutions to problems confronting the country was made by government officials, institute and stakeholders at the 34th Annual Conference/scientific workshop of NISLT held at Federal Polytechnic, Ede in Osun State with the theme: “Science and technology: A competitive edge for national economic development.”
The scientific conference attracted key stakeholders such as the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, representative of Osun State governor, representative of permanent secretary of the ministry, governing council members of NISLT and that of Federal Polytechnic, Ede, including the Rector, Dr.John Adekolawole, Director General of NISLT, Dr. Yemi Gbadegesin, representative of the House Committee on science and technology, Mr. Isreal Ajibola and a host of others from the universities and polytechnics nationwide.
Onu, who was represented by the Director, Quality Assurance of Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA) ,Lagos, Dr. Kwaptoe Edwards, acknowledged that science and technology cuts across all sectors of the economy and that the inputs from the conference will be value addition to the vital sector.
The minster explained that it is a known fact that the systemic utilization and application of science and technology has improved the living standards of human beings and has also made life better.
His words: “Science and technology has changed the face of the World. This underscores why many countries all over the World have embraced science and technology as a road map for national development and all hands must be on deck to ensure this country can also benefit from the array of developmental opportunities given by the sector.’’
Dr. Onu described the theme as timely and relevant in view of the current efforts of government to diversify the economy from the future shocks arising from the decline of commodity in the international market including its scientific advances and technological changes which are important drivers of recent economic performance.
The minister commended the institute for the services it is rendering to the country and observed that NISLT has established itself as a reputable parastatal, set for distinction and excellence inits activities.
He pledged government support to ensure the institute achieve it mandate.In his address, NISLT council chairman, Mr. Charles Obaseki said each time experts in the field of science laboratory technology gather, it tells about it strength to contribute to national development, noting “without the laboratory there cannot be development anywhere in the World’’.
According to him, the council will pursue technological development as a multi-dimensional concept that will encompass the economic, social, institutional and physical elements of development.
Obaseki informed the gathering that 71 scientific papers will be presented by experts during the scientific sessions in different subject areas of science and technology. He described President Muhammadu Buhari as the first in the history of the country to make science and technology a priority, stating “the interest of the government is to drive the Nigerian economy through science and technology to develop this country’’.
In his remarks, the Rector, Federal Polytechnic, Ede, Dr. Adekolawole, lauded the minister and NISLT for their consistent focus on current development in science and technology towards vision 20:2020.
He explained that in order to build a productive future for Nigeria, the country must draw on the knowledge and capacity of scientists/engineers as a matter of national priority.
“Only by drawing the expertise,creativity and knowledge of all our disciplines will we be able to meet the challenges we face now and in the future, to secure a prosperous future for all,” Adekolawole added.
The rector advised the federal government to challenge professors and chief engineers in tertiary institutions on issues confronting the nation such as power, housing, health, water, waste and road, assemble them in one place and task them to find solutions to the problems.
The Director General of NISLT, Dr. Gbadegesin said the annual conference is an opportunity for experts in science laboratory to rub minds and address issues confronting the profession. He revealed that recently, NISLT council approved new strategic plans, came up with law of how to chase out quacks in the industry and the use of registered members to monitor outputs in laboratories nationwide.
Gbadegesin disclosed that recently, NISLT officials shut down substandard laboratories, arrested the operators and stressed that the action will continue until quacks are wielded out of the industry.
His words: “Quacks are in every profession. NISLT is moving out to get rid of them. Our officials recently discovered a man in Lagos operating fake laboratory and was arrested”.
The DG acknowledged the dearth of science laboratories in secondary schools nationwide and appealed to federal and state government to provide funds for the acquisition of new modern laboratories to enable students carry out experiments.
A member of the House Committee on Science and Technology, Mr. Ajibola, told the gathering that science and technology is key to human existence and affects different sectors of the economy.
Ajibola said Nigeria must pay attention to science and technology because of the benefits, adding that good research works can be used to solve societal problems.
The lawmaker pledged that the committee will ensure NISLT is funded well through budgetary allocation, stressing “our main function is the power to allocate money to various sectors. I know the importance of science and technology, we will support the institute to improve on laboratories facilities and monitoring”.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology said Nigerian schools should be well equipped with laboratory facilities and that the practice of science laboratory requires high quality equipment.