Dr Ogbonaya Onu, the Minister of Science and Technology, has asserted that Nigeria has no reason being a poor nation or its people go hungry considering the vast natural resources the country is blessed with in almost every part of the country.
The Minister says the reasons Nigerian is presently facing hard times was because past governments always paid lip service to the issue of diversifying the economy but ended up doing nothing, not even oil and gas which has enormous potentials. Dr. Onu, who spoke during a visit to the Bioresources Development Centre (BIODEC), Odi, Bayelsa state, says it was this reason the Federal Government is poised to use science and technology to diversify the Nigerian economy.
He said, “Nigeria is a great nation, we have the largest population in Africa, we have the largest concentration of black people all over the world, we have the largest economy and there is hardly any natural recourse of note that we don’t have in abundance in Nigeria.
There is no reason for us to be a poor nation and there is no reason for our people to go hungry.” He noted that technology was critical to economic development, adding that governments all over the world had adopted technology to achieve economic progress.
The minister expressed optimism that the centre would be a catalyst to development of the Niger Delta region, as it had capacity for quick technology transfer to rural dwellers and peasant farmers to increase agricultural yields. He noted that the centre had achieved success in grass cutter breeding, snail farming, aquaculture, mushroom technology transfer and plant tissue culture technology, among others.
Earlier, the center Director, Mr Josiah Habu, said the center was the pioneer BIODEC center among the over nine centers spread across the country and was established in 2003, as a means of extending biotechnology research resources to remote areas to assist in agriculture. Mr. Josiah who conducted the minister and top officials round the various units of the centre, said part of its mandate was also to help in developing local capacity among others in diversifying the nation’s economy.
While applauding the dedication of staff at the centre, the center Director, appealed for special allowances to motivate the dedicated workers of the center for greater productivity.