For the umpteenth time, Research Institutes under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI) on Wednesday called on the National Assembly to give speedy passage to the National Research and Innovation fund Bill which is presently before it.
Its Secretary General, Dr. Theo Ndubuaku, during a peaceful protest to the National Assembly in Abuja stated that the bill which has already passed the second reading at the National Assembly would ensure adequate funding of research institutions in the country that were hitherto starved of funds.
According to him, “Why we re here is that we want to appreciate the National Assembly for taking it upon itself to enact the bill, but we want to continue this rally so that no one would derail the bill. Some people are already saying we have many research institutes, we don’t have up to 20% of the number of research institutes we need for 150 million people in this country.”
Continuing he added; “go and compare the number of research institutes we have with countries that have the same population as Nigeria, you will find out that they have four, five times the number of research institutes Nigeria has; so when some people go and say they are doing nationalisation you know that they are going to further kill this country in terms of technological development.”
Ndubuaku stressed that the issue of research funding was very germane to the issue of recession and poverty presently facing the country.
“We are telling the National Assembly that they should organise a symposium and invite every research institute in Nigeria to tell us what they have on ground already that they can put in place to end recession in this country in the shortest possible time
“If we borrow the whole money in the world and put here, we just spend it and still go back to square one, if we are not doing research in this country, nothing will happen. They are funding research in the universities to the tune of billions for the past 10 years and nothing is happening , it didn’t make difference because what they do there is basic research or sky blue research -you look into the sky and decide on what will benefit you, “Ndubuaku noted.
The protesters were armed with placards with inscriptions like, ‘NASS should support PMB’s plan to build Nigeria’s future on science and technology’, ‘FG, stop recession by funding research’, ‘Universities are saturated with Tetfund while Colleges of Agriculure are dying’.