As Nigeria continues to battle recession, the Federal Government has shown commitment in developing various sectors of the economy. The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu has at various fora expressed government’s commitment to developing the science and technology sector as the main engine in promoting rapid national development.
Speaking at the foundation laying ceremony of the Assumpta Science Centre, Owerri, Imo State, Onu said the project was in line with government’s commitment to the initiative of International Universities and Youth Cooperation with Africa in informal science learning activities for sustainable development.
He said one of the numerous advantages of the centre was that it would contribute to the development of the country and ensure that Nigerians and indeed other African countries would become self-sufficient in defending the available resources God has given them.
He maintained that national development would be difficult to achieve without the application of science and technology, urging all and sundry to key in to ensure that the laudable project is sustained.
The minister who noted that the difference between Africa and developed nations is actualization of science, technology and innovation, thanked the people of Ofekata for their commitment and the donation of their land to ensure that the Assumpta Science Centre becomes a reality. He assured that the federal government would complete the project in four months’ time and called on the state and local governments to join hands together to ensure its success.
He explained that the neglect of science and technology affected Nigeria’s economic growth and development but expressed optimism that with the coming on board of the Assumpta Science Centre and other scientific innovations Nigeria is at the centre of development, adding with the available resources Nigeria has, we would have been at the center stage for development by now.
Onu contended that Africa is at a stage where it can use its natural resources to develop the various nations, pointing out the need for all the African nations to change direction, focus and embrace science, technology and innovation as it has a vital role in assisting humanity in all aspects of life, to ensure national security and higher agricultural productivity, better housing, broad communication, better health care delivery system, improve quality of life and sustainability that could help turn Nigeria into truly a great nation.
He maintained that Nigeria’s weak scientific and technological culture constituted serious obstacle towards achieving the economic diversification the country is yearning for decades, assuring that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is willing and determined to utilize science, technology and innovation as a tool to achieve diversification of the national economy.
He, however, stated that government through the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology had entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Pontifical Council for Culture of the Vatican City on the Assumpta Science Centre in Owerri, Imo State capital.
In his remark, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, who was represented at the event by the chairman, Mbaitoli Local Government Area, Hon. Chris Nwike thanked the gesture done to his people by the Federal Government and promised to collaborate and ensure speedy completion of the project. He also called on the people of the community to see it as an opportunity not only for them but for the future generation yet unborn.
In his response, the president-general of Ofekata autonomous community, Chief Alexandra Iwuore thanked the federal government for its commitment to ensuring that the project is realized and pledged the co- operation of his community to achieve the laudable objectives of the project.
Among dignitaries that graced the occasion was the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri Catholic Diocese, His Grace, Archbishop Anthony Obinna.