…Vows to develop local capabilities
By Charles Nwaoguji
The management and staff of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) were in celebration mood as the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu commissioned seven projects completed by the institute recently in Lagos.
The projects are the newly constructed Library complex, newly constructed Animal house/ Toxicology laboratory, Spawn production laboratory, renovated Sensory Laboratory, and renovated Laboratory for CFET department, renovated Foundry building and renovated Electroplating building.
Onu at the occasion reiterated federal government commitment to stimulate the various sectors of country’s economy using local research findings from the Ministry and the parastatals such as FIIRO.
According to Onu, his ministry is currently intensifying its efforts in the development of indigenous capabilities and their domestication for national industrial and economic development.
“Several technologies and R&D results/products have been developed by FMST’s Research Institutions which are readily available for commercialization, with a view to supporting the economic diversification needed for wholesome national rebirth.
“Of course, the Ministry recently held an Exposition that attracted numerous entrepreneurs, investors, industrialists, innovators and inventors among others, which greatly impacted on the business community, facilitated industrial linkages with research and development”, Onu stressed.
He disclosed that in a bid to contribute to the economic development of the county, agencies of the Ministry such as the National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI), FIIRO, Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), have established centres in different states of the federation to provide support to SMEs across the country.
“They have trained and empowered so many entrepreneurs through their various technologies and innovative skills programmes. My Ministry is very committed to this diversification process using the tool of STI and will continue to support actions that will support economic diversification, entrepreneurship and employing the suitable technologies towards promoting SMEs for economic growth”, he stressed.
He commended Gloria Elemo, the Director General and the entire Management of FIIRO for embarking on these projects and making them a reality.
“These facilities when available for research and academic purposes help institutions to recruit and retain top researchers. There is global competition for top researchers, and only institutional reputation is key to attracting them. The facilities will also help researchers win research grants and this is critically – important, especially now that Government alone can no longer fund research due to dwindling revenue at the disposal of the government. They are very important for researchers to exploit the full benefits and opportunities of the networked world, including such developments as open access and social media.
“I wish to state that the establishment of these modern facilities is very apt particularly at this period when the world has become a global village. I strongly believe that these facilities will provide the needed medium for interactions among our researchers and their colleagues all over the world”, Onu stressed.
In her welcome speech, Prof. (Mrs). Gloria Elemo DG FIIRO expressed her delight over the commissioning of the completed capital projects at the institute by the minister.
Elemo disclosed that the efforts of management and creative leadership in creating an enabling environment for research to thrive and the effort of scientists at FIIRO who according to her toil endlessly, using what is available to them to churn out laudable R&D.
“One of the projects that we are proud of is the newly completed building complex housing both the library and extension &linkages department. The building replaces the very old and outdated library which has been in existence since 1957, just a year after FIIRO was established.
“I cannot overemphasize the importance of a functional and updated library in a Research institution. The developed world has since been benefiting from a knowledge-driven economy and the time has come for us as a people and institute to have a world-standard library where knowledge can be acquired, disseminated and even accommodate development of new knowledge”, Elemo posits.
She says FIIRO is heading towards becoming a place where core researchers of the institute can sharpen their minds and develop new ideas from existing ones and also, doing so in tranquility; which is sometimes required in the birthing of new ideas and honing of old ones.
She stated that another aspect of this building that is critical to FIIRO’s progress is the Extension and Linkages department, which is charged with effectively and efficiently connecting FIIRO with the world through its partnership and coordination offices.
She pointed out that the institute has worked on virtually all the raw materials available in Nigeria both agro-based and mineral resources excluding oil and gas, adding that It has developed over 250 technologies since inception based on the locally available raw materials through its R&D activities.
“About 500,000 techno-entrepreneurs have been trained at the institute through its various technology transfer and entrepreneurship development training programmes. Most of these entrepreneurs have set up profitable businesses generating millions of employments through multiplier effect thereby reducing poverty, creating wealth and conserving foreign exchange.
“Today, the institute pride itself as a major technology provider to the MSMEs in Nigeria. This building serves as a learning hub where MSMEs can acquire knowledge that would help them grow their businesses as well as tap into FIIRO’s developed technologies to enhance their opportunities,” Elemo stressed.