The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) says it has commenced financial intervention into Research and Development (R&D) activities in the Nigerian defense and security sub-sector.
Executive Secretary of the Fund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro made this known while declaring open a four-day TETFund R&D Standing Committee meeting on Monday in Abuja.
He said the move would ensure that Nigerian armed forces have the capacity to produce adequate weapons and other equipment that can be deployed in the fight against terrorism and other security challenges.
The TETFund boss said the agency’s efforts in deepening R&D in the country has also yielded results in the area of supporting institutions and researchers to develop coronavirus vaccine and production of other items to battle the dreaded COVID-19 virus.
His words: “Mr. President last year told the Hon. Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to instruct TETFund to support the Federal Government initiatives of responding to the COVID-19 threat through ground-breaking research for Phyto-medical drugs, prophylactics, PPE and eventually vaccines.
“I am pleased to inform you that TETFund has gone far in implementing the President’s directives and soon the results will be announced.
“Similarly, TETFund has also commenced funding of Defence and Security R&D towards responding to the unfortunate insecurity challenges and insurgency in the country, towards making Nigeria self-sufficient in locally produced
technology for our armed forces and other security agencies.”
Prof. Bogoro, who expressed delight over the performance of the 165-member TETFund R&D Standing Committee, which was inaugurated in September last year, said the various reports submitted by the body shows that the triple helix model, which brings academia and industry on the same platform holds the key to a brighter future for Nigeria.
While calling for support on the proposed R&D National Foundation to make Nigeria more competitive at the international level as well as ensuring a knowledge-based economy, Prof. Bogoro said the meeting was aimed at charting a way forward on reports by various sub-committees on their resource visits to states in the country.
He said : “The purpose of this meeting, as it were, are the
validation and adoption of reports from the 13 Thematic Groups; and the verification and endorsement of the National R&D Foundation (NRDF) Establishment Framework.
” In the course of deliberations at this four-day meeting, I have no doubt that, with the calibre of the membership of this Committee as I have already mentioned, the sky
will no longer be the limit, but the starting point, in terms of what we can collectively achieve.
“There is no gainsaying my passion for research and innovation is anchored on my abiding conviction that the technological and socio-economic advancement of Nigeria would continue to be as elusive as a mirage, as long as we continue to pay lip service to R&D,” he said.
Speaking further, the TETFund’s Executive Secretary, expressed sadness that four members of the Committee passed away in recent months, assuring the families that they won’t be forgotten because they died in service of the nation.
He listed the deceased members to include Prof. Emmanuell. Ezugwu, Prof. Femi Odekunle, Prof. Habu Galadima and Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe.
On his part, the Chairman of the Committee, emeritus Professor Njidda Gadzama, said the body was able to come up with an action plan that would see the establishment of the R & D Foundation.
He posited that the visits of the 13 thematic groups to 390 strategic institutions, revealed that Nigeria has all what it takes to compete favourably with other countries in the area of innovation and scientific development.
Also speaking, one of the Vice Chairmen of the TETFund R&D Standing Committee, Dr Mansur Ahmed, said Nigeria needs to leverage on R&D to usher in desired development.
Mansur, who is the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, lamented that while other countries that have their activities driven by research and scientific development have continued to produce COVID-19 vaccines, Africa is far behind because of poor R&D.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), Laoye Jaiyeola, who replaced Odekunle as one of the Vice Chairmen, said R&D has the capacity to create more jobs in the country as well as add value to the nation’s agriculture sector.
He commended Prof. Bogoro for his vision on deepening research in the country as well as bringing the private sector, the industry and academia together to ensure effective utilisation of research output churn out by relevant institutions.
Earlier, the TETFund’s Director, R&D and Centre of Excellence, Salihu Girei, commended the 13 thematic groups ( sub committees) for their input and dedication to the assignment.
While lavishing praises on Bogoro for the initiative, Girei said the teams travelled across the country to identify R&D infrastructures, saying that investment in content is key for institutions to compete favourably in any part of the world.
In another development, The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, on Monday disclosed that private universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the country are already accessing its N7.5 billion National Research Fund, NRF, for the purpose of bolstering the conduct of cutting-edge research.
Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof Suleiman Bogoro, who made the revelation while declaring open a 4-Day Meeting of TETFund Research and Development Standing Committee, RDSC, said the breakthrough comes two years after the Board of Trustees granted the approval for private institutions to draw from the funds.
Bogoro said since the inauguration of the TETFund RDSC on September 24, 2020, the committee has gone far in implementing President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to support government initiatives of responding to the threat of Covid-19 through ground-breaking research on phyto-medical drugs, prophylactics and vaccines.
The TETFund boss added that some of the results of the fund’s intervention would be announced soon.
He further said there was evidence that results of the fund’s research drive were already coming in as lately, the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, NASENI, and Innoson Motors, recently signed a memorandum of understanding, MoU, on the utilisation of locally produced goods, signalling a step forward.
has also commenced funding of Defence and Security R&D towards responding to the unfortunate insecurity challenges and insurgency in the country, towards making Nigeria self-sufficient in locally produced technology for our armed forces and other security Agencies.
“Our vision is working, the governors are buying it, industries are buying it; we are involving the youth, we are hoping that soon, a national R&D summit would be held,” he said.
Bogoro also used the occasion to announce the demise of four members of the committee namely: Prof. Emmanuel Ezugwu, Prof Femi Odekunle, Prof. Habu Galadima, and Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe.
He disclosed that Mr Laoye Jaiyeola of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, NESG, was brought in to replace Prof Femi Odekunle, who passed on as one of the four Vice Chairmen of the Committee.
Recall that the 165-member standing committee was inaugurated in 2020 by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu with the mandate of developing research that would enhance national development as well establishing a national research foundation.
Speaking on the report of the TETFund RDSC, the Chairman of the committee, Prof Gadzama Njida, described the report as its most important activity, adding that despite setbacks brought by the demise of their four colleagues, TETFund was able to sustain the progress of the committee’s work.
Njida, who praised the efforts of the RDSC members, stressed the importance of an action plan after the report has been reviewed, for the purpose of establishing the National R&D Foundation.
One of the Vice Chairmen of the Committee, Engr. Mansur Ahmed, harped on the need for Nigeria to embrace problem-solving research, noting that countries such as China, UK, US and Russia, currently distributing vaccines have moved into a stage of development where research and technology drive their national development.
Mansour said until Nigeria moves into that stage where science, innovation and technology drives it’s national development, the future of the country is still bleak.
According to him, the report of the committee has been reviewed, even as he expressed faith that Nigeria will develop capacity and knowlegde to propel the nation into competition for the delivery of vaccines in the future.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Jaiyeola, maintained that there is no way Nigeria can develop and provide jobs for its teeming population without leveraging technology.
The NESG boss lamented the lack of synergy among researchers and the industry in the country and stressed the need for collaboration.
He expressed commitment to the triple helix model where the academia, private sector and government come together to develop and implement research, without which research efforts will not be coordinated.
Speaking on the report, the Chairman of Technical Coordination Committee of TETFund on Research, Dr Mustapha Popoola, said over 390 institutions were visited by 39 groups subsumed in 13 subcommittees or thematic groups, and covered about 85 per cent of the country’ Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
Popoola said the report is over 200 pages detailing basic issues about the country’s economic situation.
According to him, the committee is rolling out three documents including the National R&D Foundation Report, and Project Information Document, PID.
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