Samuel Bello, Abuja
The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology has perfected plans to set up two new agencies in addition to the 17 existing ones.
This was disclosed by the Minister, Ogbonnaya Onu, in Abuja, during the official inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for its establishment.
The two new agencies proposed to be setup are National Agency for Desertification and Erosion Research (NADER) and National Agency for Research in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (NARRAI).
Presently, the Ministry of Environment has the Department of Flood and Erosion Countrol, the National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW), as well as the Ecology Fund Office (EFO) that are saddled with the same responsibility with the new agency being proposed by the minister.
Onu explained that the research institute would be for desertification and erosion research due to degredation of land and desert encroachment.
According to him, “Lake chad is about 10 percent of what it used to be. The full reason of that cannot be excluded from the shrinkage of Lake Chad and we have seen that the reduction of water in Lake Chad is creating tremendous problems and we must solve that problem.”
The minister emphasised that the erosion is widely felt in every part of the country, saying; “gradually, we are losing land to erosion and land is a valuable asset because you cannot do anything towards national development without land.”
He said that these are national problems that the ministry is taking very serious, adding that they would also look at the impact the study would have towards solving the economic problems and promotion of peace.
He said, “We all know that there is no way Nigeria can pursue rapid industrialisation without doing effective research on robotics and artificial intelligence
“It has become very important in determining health care delivery, transportation just to mention a few and by our population and by the huge resources available to our nation. We must be a great nation and to do so we should not depend on other people to solve our problems.
“We need to ensure that no aspect of science or technology would be strange to Nigerians, so robotics and artificial intelligence is important now in study of our oceans and even infrastructural development. We need to make sure that these two areas are domesticated. We would train those that are competent in this area and make sure they can utilize the tools to solve our national problems.
Responding, the Chairman of the committee and the Director, Science and Technology Promotion, Mr. Ekaneh Udoh, said that the committee would maximise the opportunity given to them and report back before the expiration of the four weeks given to them.