By Ijeoma Olorunfemi
The Federal Government says it will support the Nanotechnology Research Group to establish a National Nanotechnology Policy and Centre to foster research and development in the country.
Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), Dr Adeleke Mamora said this at the 6th International Conference on Nanotechnology in Abuja.
The conference is being organised by Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso (LAUTECH) in collaboration with the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).
The conference with the theme: “Nanotechnology for Socio-Economic Development of Africa”, and it is targeted at Postgraduate students and early career Scientists, researchers,” would hold from Nov. 22 to Nov. 25.
It is designed to advance the cause of research and improve manpower in the multi-disciplinary subject of nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology is the branch of technology that deals with dimensions and tolerances of less than 100 nanometres, especially the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules.
It also refers to nanotech, the use of matter on an atomic, molecular and supramolecular scale for industrial purposes.
Mamora said the Ministry in 2018 raised a steering committee to establish a Policy on Nanotechnology Research and Development in Nigeria.
He said: “I am aware of the request of the research group to establish state-of-the-art equipment in the establishment of the centre for Nanotechnology.
“The Ministry will see to your request. The university is also encouraged to establish a centre for Nanotechnology research that will promote socio-economic development of the country”.
According to him, it is not the built or language in a policy that’s important rather the zeal for its implementation.
”I can assure you that once the policy on Nanotechnology is presented before the National Assembly, we will do everything to make sure it is passed”.
The Minister called for more partnerships for the good of the country, urging that Ministries, Departments and Agencies should avoid working solo.
The Head, Nanotechnology Research Group (NANO+), LAUTECH, Prof. Agbaje Lateef, however, regretted that Nigeria started the journey of developing Nanotechnology with South Africa in 2006, but they generated lots of income and gone ahead.
He also said that Iran was targeting one billion dollars by 2025 from Nanotechnology.
Lateef said, “we have the population, many higher institutions across the country the largest Gross Domestic Product in Africa, but these figures do not result in development.
“We all have responsibilities, we need support from the government, industries and we should not be seeing ourselves as enemies rather partners in nation development”.
He said that the conference would look at ways the country could initiate indigenous technology to develop the sector.
The don said application of Nanotechnology could be deployed in food yields, environment, security and other areas of human development.
He said that they were looking at having a national body on Nanotechnology that could leverage on available opportunities and move forward.
The Director-General, NASRDA, Dr Halilu Shaba assured that the agency woud support the Nanotechnology group, adding the Agency had viable initiatives on Nanotechnology.
Shaba said that there was need to enhance mandates of organisations, align mandates and ensure there was no duplication of responsibilities, adding the Agency would accommodate the activities of the Nanotechnology group.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs Monilola Udoh urged scientists and researchers to continue driving scientific initiatives to usher in positive development.
“Nanotechnology as an emerging field of study has enormous potential due to special characteristics of particles at nanoscale.
“It is, however, important to note as new as this field of study appears, we have always been practising this technology from time immemorial and we need to sustain it.’’ (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Bashir Rabe Mani