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AGIP, Varsities partner on local content development

*Onu praise agencies in Science and Technology

*Development of any nation is one that cannot be overemphasised

By Sandra Onyekwere

In a massive bid to encourage indigenous technology in local content development in Nigeria, the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) has entered into collaboration with no less than 10 Nigerian universities to carry out research work on modern technologies suitable for the oil and gas sector in the country.

The collaboration was aimed at promoting value addition in the Nigerian economy by deliberately utilising local human and material resources and services in the oil and gas activities.

Dr Ogbonnaya Onu
Dr Ogbonnaya Onu

Flagging-off the 2017 Nigerian content activities, last Monday, in Port Harcourt, themed “Indigenous Technology and Eni/Universities Collaborative Research Forum and Exhibition”, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, the Minister of Science and Technology, commended agencies under his ministry for advancing the level of technology advancement of the country positively. These correlates with the level of development and economic prosperity of our nation.

The minister who was represented by Mr Bitrus Josiah Habu, the Centre Director of Biodec Odi, says it is heart-warming to observe the synergy and collaborative output between the academia, government and industries in the support and furtherance of science and technology in Nigeria.

“For a country to effectively chart it’s course to economic affluence, it must first look inward to truly carve out its own science and technology niche and also play to its natural strengths in the development of its technical capacity,” Onu said.

He maintained that a lot of successes have been recorded by the ministry.” The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) is not just innovating and standardising new technologies but also reversing engineering technologies to suite peculiar needs”.

The Minister recalled that the strengthening the roll-out of it national biotechnology programmes through its bioresources development centres across the country citing the recently commissioned Ultra-Modern Advanced Bioresources Laboratory and Livestock Feed Milling Complex at their Odi centre Bayelsa State equipped with cutting edge instruments in exploratory analytics, Forensic and Genomic research and development aimed at redefining how research is done in Nigeria as some of the strides the ministry is making in establishing platform capable of facilitating and sustaining the drive for innovation across the country.

According to the Minister all these is geared at making Nigeria a great nation and also provide hands-on skill acquisition, capacity building, infrastructure as well as technology transfer for economic empowerment for the betterment of every Nigerian.

He challenged Nigerians to ensure that this collaborative forum for indigenous technology development is whole and encompassing in tackling the challenges that affects us as a nation in order to redefine our industrialisation process and make sure that sustainable means of processing, exploring and harvesting our raw materials are also catered for as the necessary fuel to sustaining the indigenous technologies we develop.

In his comments, the Vice Chairman/Managing Director, NAOC, NAE, and AENR, Massimo Insulla said that the event was designed to showcase the major breakthroughs in the universities in the areas of research and development, grant opportunities for indigenous contractors, especially members of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) to make presentations and exhibition in the areas of success.

He also said that it will provide opportunity for academic and scholarly research as well as NNPC Renewable Energy (RE) team to engage their visiting Eni Renewable Energy colleagues from Milan Headquarters in a dedicated break-out session in areas of mutual collaboration.

Insulla said in the last six years, Eni had domiciled over $5.4billion in the country to create jobs and boost the economy while implementing a number of projects to promote the energy and oil and gas sector.

He noted that various memorandums of understanding had been signed with MAN, PETAN and the United Bank for Africa (UBA), respectively, aimed at encouraging the sector.

The managing director also revealed that Eni has honoured a Nigerian graduate of African University of Science and Technology, Abuja with an award of excellence for outstanding research, adding that the beneficiary will enjoy full scholarship for doctorate degree study in Italy.

The General Manager, Nigerian Content Development, NAOC (Agip), Bori Nwibani said the programme was aimed at reinforcing the achievements made so far in the sector by the stakeholders.

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Local Content, Hon Emmanuel Ekong said that the House will continue to partner with firms that embark on big projects such as local content development, calling on other oil multinationals to emulate NAOC (AGIP)’s gesture.

In his keynote address, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote, who was represented by Patrick Oba, urged indigenous vendors to partner with research institutions to tap into the opportunities available in the technological industry to fast-track development of the country.
The Tide reports that no fewer than 10 Nigerian universities are collaborating with NAOC (AGIP) to achieve technological development.

The universities include, African University of Science and Technology, Covenant University, University of Benin, University of Port Harcourt, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Rivers State University, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, among others.

The representative of the Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Daniel Olalere, hinted the desire of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to encourage technological advancement aimed at building capacity and research with a view to boosting local content development.

Meanwhile, the list of agencies that make up the indigenous forum include: The National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI), Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and National Institute of Leather Science and Technology (NILEST) to mention but a few.

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