The Federal Government says it will ensure that it uses science, technology, engineering, research and innovation to make Nigeria a great country.
The Minister for Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, said this when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.
Onu said that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration would work hard to avoid repeating the mistakes of past governments, which neglected science, technology, research, engineering and innovation.
“We have made a lot of mistakes as a nation by not according science and technology its rightful place in the development of our country.
“Every administration since independence has been talking about one form of revolution for agriculture, but it has not worked because they don’t pay attention to science and technology.
“Now they say young people should go to the farm.
“No young person has gone (to the farm) because the labour intensity in farming is heavy.
“So, it is only science and technology that will reduce the labour.
“No nation in the world, whether in ancient or modern times, has ever been truly great without science and technology.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is giving us support and he acknowledges the importance of science and technology to nation-building.
“We are determined to making sure that science and technology, engineering, research and innovation will play its rightful role in making Nigeria truly a great nation.’’
He said the science and technology sector had the capacity to develop the health, agriculture, security and defence, and manufacturing sectors of the country’s life.
He added that science and technology sector could help advance the country’s space project.
Onu said Nigeria could use its huge coal deposits to create alternative sources of power given the shortage of gas occasioned by the incessant vandalism of the pipelines belonging to NNPC.
“Coal is very important. Many people don’t realise that almost all the developed countries in the world get most of their electricity from coal; almost all of them.
“And what is very good is that our own coal is even of better quality than their own, because the sulphur content in our coal is lower than in most coals in the world.
“So, when you look at pollution, it’s easier to handle our own coal than theirs.
“And we must use coal because this problem we now have with pipelines if we have power plants using coal that will not happen.
“Because you will build those power plants very close to where you have your coal and it’s cheap.
“But above all, it’s a resource that we have and we must utilise it. We need to have a basket containing all sources of the energy sources.
“So utilise them so that if you have a problem with one you can make up with the other not what we have now.’’
Onu said the Federal Government would ensure that the economy was diversified.