(NAN) The House of Representatives Committee on Science Research Institute says it is committed to ensuring that research institutes in the country meet the demands of Nigerians.
The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Olaide Akinremi, made the commitment at an interactive session with the Chief Executive Officers of science research institutes on Tuesday in Abuja.
The lawmaker, who represents Ibadan North Federal Constituency, said that the session was to bring together all stakeholders to analyse their successes, challenges and proffer legislative solutions.
Akinremi said that to ensure optimal service delivery the committee would undertake extensive and analytical review of statutory, administrative, accounting, and technical processes of the institutes.
According to him, the committee shall carry out its mandate in such a way that will enhance a comprehensive policy and operational evaluation and assessment.
“Working together, we shall undertake extensive and robust systems and analytical review of your statutory, administrative, accounting, and technical processes.
“This is pursuant to optimizing our oversight responsibilities to Nigerians as entrenched in Section 88 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended.
“We shall define clear aggregates that will drive our oversight activities in a manner that is substantive, material, articulate, reasonable, and time bound.
“We are committed to adding immense value to enable you to deliver on the mandate whichNigerians expect of you in your various institutes.
“The abundant technical expertise and multi-disciplinary professional skills in this committee shall be fully deployed to ensure that we all achieve great milestones that will usher in resounding technical progress, economic growth and development to our great nation,” he said.
The chairman said that the committee “shall fully identify with your mission and vision,and shall actualize these without fetters.
“To enable us to commence our work, we have made a request for you to send us key information and document that shall form the basis for further interactions with you.”
In his remarks, Rep. Joseph Bello, a member of the committee, said that Nigeria had some of the best brains in every sector of science.
He said that with the calibre of human resources the country had, Nigeria should not be where it is today in terms of science and technology.
Bello, who represents Adavi/Okehi federal constituency, said that other African countries such as Kenya had gone ahead in terms of research and development.
He urged the CEOs to tell the committee what challenges they were facing to enable the committee to find legislative solutions to them to put Nigeria in its right position in the comity of nations.
The lawmakers urged the CEOs to stick to Procurement Act in all they were doing and also ensure they did not deviate from their mandates.
Responding, the Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Science and Technology, Ibadan (NISTI), Dr Gbadegesin Yemi, told the lawmakers that the institutes would stick to the procurement rules.
Yemi said that in the area of cross functions, the institutes would also stick to their roles and the rules that guide them.
He said that research conducted on all 18 institutes under the Ministry of Science and Technology showed that 16 had their laboratory but with different questionnaire, hence, not obeying the rules to the latter.
Yemi said that NISTI developed a Science Laboratory Technology course (SLT) curriculum for universities that would enable students to man laboratories in Nigeria when they graduated.
He said that of the over 170 universities in Nigeria, only 11 universities were offering the course saying that the institute was working with the National Universities Commission (NUC) to scale up the number.
He said that almost all polytechnics in the country were offering the Science Laboratory Technology course but were not following the curriculum developed by the institute.
Furthermore, he said that institutions producing graduates in Micro Biology, Chemistry and others outside the Science Technology Laboratory curriculum as established by the Act of parliament were making the graduates quacks.
He said that the institute also developed a prototype for labs in schools to ensure uniformity in the country as done in other climes.
According to him, the prototype was not being considered when approvals were being given to build schools in the country.
Yemi pointed out that as a result of the ongoing illegal mining in Osun, heavy metals had been discovered in food after research in the state.
According to him, if this is allowed to enter into our food chain, there will be a lot of deaths in the country.
The acting Director-General of Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi(FIIRO), Dr Agnes Asagbra, said that the institute had existed for many years but did not have an Act of parliament to back its operations.
She urged the lawmakers in the committee to come up with a bill that would give legal backing to the activities of FIIRO.
Other institutes represented included Project Development Agency (PRODA), National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), and National Institute of Leather Research (NILEST).
Others were National Agency for Computer and Technology Management (NACETEM), National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI), National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).
National Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) and National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) were also represented. (NAN)