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Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has said Nigeria suffered some embarrassment for alleged use of substandard weapons to prosecute the anti-insurgency war.
He said it was avoidable if the nation had a functional defence industry.
The minister, who stated this while delivering a lecture titled: “The role of science and technology in national development” to students of Senior Course 39/2016 of the Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna State, said a close collaboration between his ministry and the Federal Ministry of Defence can do a lot in helping the country meet many of its defence needs.
Onu urged the military to begin to patronise made in Nigeria goods and services, noting that hardly can any nation give to another its best weapons and military equipment.
“We can recollect the sad situation our dear country faced recently at the peak of the insurgency in the North East zone when unknown flags were flown in local government headquarters in some states and the Armed Forces needed weapons to help fight and defeat the insurgents. Even with cash at hand, we could not buy weapons. If we had invested in science and technology and established our own defence industry, we would not have been confronted with that level of embarrassment,” he stated.
He described the situation today as precarious, saying something must be done urgently to change it.
Onu emphasised that Nigeria can make the difference if the new direction which Buhari administration was carefully planning is sustained, adding that the ministry will work speedily to close all technology gaps.
He said that the ministry was working hard to strengthen the linkage between research institutions and the universities and also strengthen the linkage between industry and research institutes as well as drive a new flagship programme: Technology Transfer Promotion Initiative (TTPI).
Former Nigerian Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Alhaji Matiama Sule, had in a keynote speech at the eighth Annual Forum of the Nigerian National Order of Merit Awardees in Abuja recently, bemoaned that while Brazil which established defence industries same time with Nigeria, manufactures ships, aeroplanes, bombs and weapons, the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) Kaduna could only boast of producing furniture.