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Time For Nigeria To Take Its Place Among Global Great Nations, Says Nnaji

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The Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology, Chief Uche Nnaji, has stated that the time has come for Nigeria to join the ranks of great nations around the world.

He said: “In today’s rapidly evolving world, the pace of technological advancements is not just fast; it is exponential. Nations that have recognised and capitalised on the power of research, development, and innovation are leading the way to economic prosperity, societal well-being, and sustainable development. It is time for Nigeria to take its rightful place among these nations.”

The Minister said this on Monday in Abuja during the opening of the National Research, Development and Innovation Coordination Summit.

He said for Nigeria “to achieve this, we must first acknowledge that our RDI ecosystem requires robust coordination, one that is resilient, inclusive, and forward-thinking. Our goal is to build a system in which academia, industry, government, and the community not only interact but thrive together, creating an environment conducive to ground-breaking innovations.”

He added that: “Our vision for Nigeria is to become a hub for African innovation, contributing significantly to the global knowledge economy. This can be achieved by implementing a three-pronged approach:

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“Strengthening Institutional Frameworks:
It is imperative that we build and strengthen the institutional frameworks necessary for effective RDI coordination. This includes policy reforms that incentivize research and development, protect intellectual properties, and facilitate the commercialization of research outcomes.

“Fostering Public-Private Partnerships: The collaboration between the public sector, private industry, and academic institutions is crucial. By fostering partnerships that leverage the strengths of each sector, we can accelerate the translation of research into market-ready solutions that address our most pressing challenges.

“Investing in Human Capital: At the heart of any successful RDI ecosystem are the people. Investing in education and training to build a skilled workforce ready to navigate and lead in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is non-negotiable. We must nurture our young talent and provide them with opportunities to excel and innovate.”

The Minister said with the theme of the gathering being: “Advancing Nigeria’s Global Competitiveness, Through a Resilient National RDI Coordination,’’ it is not just a statement of intent; it is a clarion call to action.

He added that: “The journey to enhancing Nigeria’s global competitiveness through resilient RDI coordination is a collective endeavor.

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“We want to bring out all the innovations, the researches we have in the shelf and develop them and that is the fulcrum of my involvement as a minister.”

Chief Strategy Officer of West and Central African Research and Education Network ( WACREN), Mr Omo Oaiya, said one of the things they do was the Pan-African Initiative to Strengthen Open Science in Africa.

He said: “As part of that, we are also working with countries in different events like this to drive cooperation and collaboration so that we can reap the benefits of such an endeavor.

“So RIKE SD is our local facilitator here. But between both of us, we have been able to create a new impetus in the Nigerian RDI coordination space.

“The main goal of this activity is to bring the different RDI actors together to look at a way of co-creating a future that we can build on.

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“We are trying to align this with the presidential priorities that have been announced and the Renewed Hope Agenda.”

Oaiya also said the essence of the summit was to bring international connections to support activity within Nigeria to drive RDI forward.

Global Impact lead, Research for Impact Knowledge Economy and Sustainable Development( RIKE SD), Dr Mustapha Popoola, on his part said part of what they are trying to do today was what we call research, development, innovation coordination.

He explained that “RIKE SD is a Nigerian non-for-profit organisation that has a Pan-African scope.

“We are the first research as a service organisation in Nigeria who is looking at taking research, development, innovation, outcomes and output from Nigeria to other African countries.

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“For the first time we know that for us to have results based on the directive of Mr. President, we should actually institutionalise the use of research and development outcomes in ministry agencies and departments.

“it is important for us to get coordinated and know what we can offer. We are using an approach that we call the pentagonal nexus, in which the government will collaborate with industry and academia while also focusing on the community that will use the results of research at the community level.”

President-elect Nigerian Academy of Science, Prof. Abubakar Sambo, said the summit is expected to look into the eight areas of the Renewed Hope Agenda.
It will bring out how research and development, and in particular science, technology and innovation research can be used to significantly impact those eight areas of Mr. President.

“It is to bring up what are needed to be undertaken to boost development of the country through programs that involve research, development and innovation, and also through policy making.

“It is very important for the MDAs to incorporate in their yearly programs, aspects that will be boosted through the outputs of research, development and innovation activities”, Sani said.

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Also speaking, Chairman Tech India Ltd, Dr. Shabihul Hassan,, said that the whole concept of research, development and innovation is collaboration.

“We have been connecting, collaborating with intellectuals, with members of the public and private sector to see how we can foster growth in the agri-sector, in the health sector, in the power sector, in the infrastructure sector.

“The key is teamwork. This is teamwork within the country, outside the country, collaborating nationally, internationally, and collaborating between the public and private sectors.

“So the private sector sets the way, it sets the standard. The public sector competes. The public sector also becomes competent, equally competent. So it’s collaborative work.

“The purpose of conferences like this is to bring people together, especially intellectuals, people with knowledge, different backgrounds, different countries. And that is the key to development,” he said.

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TECHNOLOGY

Clean Technology Hub, FCT Launch Climate And Change Youth Movement In Abuja Secondary Schools

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Renewable energy

Clean Technology Hub, a renewable energy and climate change advocacy firm, has launched a Climate Change and Youth Movement in FCT secondary schools in collaboration with the Department of Science, Technology, and Innovation of the FCT Education Secretariat.

On April 25, 2024, the collaborators established the Climate and Change Youth Movement at the Government Science and Technical College in Bwari, FCT.

The Climate Change and Youth Movement is a platform for students to learn about the environment and help solve climate change challenges in their communities. It is consistent with a worldwide effort to raise awareness and educate children and youth about climate change and renewable energy. According to experts, children and youth have the potential to be driving forces in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals’ climate change targets.

Clean Technology Hubs’ Climate Change and Youth Movement, designed for public secondary school students and teachers, aims to assist schools in developing climate education programmes. CTH plans to implement it by forming new environmental clubs (Green Clubs) or collaborating with existing ones that target science and art students, and providing them with a club manual to guide their meetings.

The schools will also take part in the first Nigerian Students Climate Summit, which will take place on June 6, 2024, to commemorate World Environment Day.

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The program’s goals are to raise awareness, sustainability, and resilience about climate change and clean energy, to build capacity in the various technical skills needed in the clean energy market value chain, and to improve understanding of opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

Ms Ifeoma Malo, founder and CEO of Clean Technology Hub, stated, “The agreement signed with DSTI allows us to launch a pilot programme in the Government Science and Technical College, Bwari, which, if successful, will be replicated in other colleges in Abuja.

 

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TECHNOLOGY

House Of Representatives Suspends Implementation Of Cybersecurity Levy

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The House of Representatives has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to immediately suspend the cybercrime levy by the provisions of the Cybercrime Act.

The House said Thursday that the CBN’s circular was prone to misinterpretation by Nigerians because it contradicted the spirit and letter of section 44(2a) of the Cybercrime Act, which specifies who is expected to pay the levy, according to the Daily Post.

It approved a motion of urgent public importance proposed by Minority Leader Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) on behalf of all legislators.

The House requested that the Central Bank immediately withdraw its previous circular on the levy’s implementation and issue a new circular by the Act’s provisions.

According to Chinda, section 44(2a) of the Cybercrime Act lists those who must pay the stipulated fees as GSM and telecom companies, Internet providers, banks and other financial institutions, insurance companies, and stock exchanges.

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He explained that the CBN circular has caused concern throughout the country because it gives the impression that the levy is to be paid by Nigerians at a time when they are still struggling with rising petroleum prices, among other things.
The lawmaker went on to say that the CBN circular has been interpreted in various ways.

 

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TECHNOLOGY

Dig-Once Policy: Abia Government Suspends All Excavation/Trenching Activities In The State

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Gov Otti signing the Dig-Once policy recently

Abia State Government has announced a temporary and immediate cessation of all excavation/trenching activities in the State until a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is selected to oversee the implementation.

The suspension directive is coming after the signing of the Dig-Once Policy by the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Alex Otti, recently, which marked a significant milestone in the advancement of telecommunications and digital infrastructure in the State.

In a statement by Hon. Matthew C. Ekwuribe, Commissioner for Digital Economy and SMEs, all prior issued Right-of-Ways (RoWs),  by the State to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs), not yet implemented as of the day of this statement, is hereby suspended.

This measure, Ekwuribe said, is important to ensure proper coordination and adherence to the policy guidelines as well as safeguarding the interests of both the public and private sectors.

“To this end, ANYONE, corporate or individual, who violates this Policy, will be sanctioned and penalised by the law.

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“The government urges full cooperation from all MNOs and ISPs, as the State strives to harmonise all ducts and create a conducive and decent environment for all.”

The Commissioner said the Dig-Once policy will serve as a legal framework to guide the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure across the state, streamlining processes ensuring efficient use of resources and harmonising all fibre-optic ducts.

He said the policy holds immense importance for the State’s future development. “By coordinating/harmonising excavation and trenching activities along public Right-of-Ways (RoW), we can minimise disruptions, reduce costs, and expedite the deployment of broadband Internet services.”

This proactive approach, the Commissioner added, not only enhances connectivity but also lays the groundwork for economic growth, innovation, and prosperity for all Abians.

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