Everest Amaefule, Abuja
The Federal Government on Tuesday inaugurated an inter-ministerial committee charged with the responsibility of overseeing the birth of two new agencies to be responsible for researches in artificial intelligence and robotics, and desertification and erosion.
Inaugurating the committee in Abuja, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, said Nigeria could not afford to be left behind in breakthroughs being recorded in robotics and artificial intelligence.
Onu said robotics and artificial intelligence had become core in the manufacturing industry, health care delivery, national security and transportation.
“Nigeria, by our population and the resources available to our nation, must be a great nation, and to be a great nation, we will not continue to depend on other people to solve our problems. Hence, it is important for us to ensure that no aspect of science or technology is strange to us,” he stated.
The minister said the country would train Nigerians who had competences in relevant fields to enable the country to take full advantage of robotics and artificial intelligence in infrastructure development, space technology and health care delivery.
Speaking on the proposed National Agency for Desertification and Erosion Research, Onu lamented that the menace of desertification had claimed a good part of Northern Nigeria, adding that efforts must be made to stem the tide.
He also stated that erosion had claimed a reasonable portion of land in the southern part of the country, thus the need to study the pattern of erosion in different parts of the country in order to find durable solutions to the problem.
The minister said it was regrettable that the Lake Chad had shrunk to 10 per cent of what it used to be as a result of climate change, adding, “The effects of desertification are already with us.”
Onu explained that the decision to establish the two agencies was taken at the last meeting of the National Council on Research and Innovation, adding that the work of the committee would be tabled before the next meeting of the council.
Membership of the committee was drawn from the ministries of Environment; Water Resources; Industry, Trade and Investment, and Youths and Sports.
Speaking on behalf of the committee, the Chairman and Director, Science and Technology Development in the Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr Ekanem Udoh, pledged that the members would turn in an enduring document within the one-month duration it was assigned to carry out the assignment.
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