Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, on Monday in Abuja appealed to African countries to focus on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), for self-reliance.
He made the appeal when a delegation of the Organisation for Military Sports in Africa (OSMA) paid him a visit and invested him as Patron of Sahel Military Games in Africa.
Onu said for African countries to be in a position to convert knowledge into products and services, they needed to become self-reliant and must pay attention to STI.
“It is very important for all Africa to recognise that the continent is blessed; that is why developed nations come to Africa to source for raw materials.
“The question is why can’t we as Africans use the same raw materials, natural resources that other countries come to source from us to develop our countries,’’ Onu said.
He noted that there was no need for African countries to be plagued by hunger while still importing things from other parts of the world.
Onu said if African nations achieved self-reliance, young people in Nigeria and in other African countries would desist from risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean in search of greener pastures.
He said one way to achieve STI development is to encourage young people to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
He noted that developed countries toed that line, and that was the formula which Africans must grab with both hands.
“We have to educate our people in order to have the human capacity to exploit all these resources and we should invest more in research and development.
“If we do this we will be in a position to create enough jobs for our people,’’ he stressed.
The minister said that the Sahel Games were important to Nigeria and to the African continent because of its creativity and vision which was to use sports to integrate the military of the crises-ridden Sahel region.
“I believe using sports to integrate the military will entrench better understanding among the militaries of the region,’’ the minister said.
He also reiterated the commitment of the ministry to support the Sahel Games to be a resounding success.
In his remarks, Brig.-Gen. Maikano Abdullahi, President of OSMA, said the visit had in attendance, military representatives from 15 African countries.
He said the idea behind organising the Sahel military games was to bring African countries in the Sahel region together for the common good, and for peace to reign in the region.
He said that they came to confirm and decorate ODMA’s board members as well as the patron of the games, Dr Onu.
Alhaji Mohammed Abdullahi, Minister of State for Science and Technology, in his address, noted that military operations could not be carried out without application of appropriate technologies.
Abdullahi appealed to OSMA to patronise products, goods and services of indigenous research and development agencies on the continent.
“They are highly competitive with foreign ones and the patronage would encourage local production, jobs and wealth creation,’’ he said.