The Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI) and the Coalition of Civil Societies have called on the legislators to intervene in research funding by enacting enabling laws to support researchers.
In a joint memorandum by the two bodies which was submitted to the Senate Committee on Science and Technology’s public hearing on the “National Research and Innovations Council (NRIC) Establishment bill, 2022, they said, research activities was grossly underfunded in Nigeria.
ASURI/CSOs pointed out that the neglect of research by successive administration was the reason for poverty in Nigeria, despite being naturally endowed.
In the memo which was obtained bY THE LEGISLATURE and signed by the National Secretary General, Dr.
Theophilus Indubiaku and and 21 other executive members, recalled that despite the strategic nature of research to the national development, the bill was declined assent for two times in the past.
They told the Senators and stakeholders at the public hearing on Thursday that the bane of research funding has been the reliance on budgetary allocation, which has nonetheless been paltry, stating that government must wake up to the challenge of adequate funding of researches in Nigeria.
“We challenge anyone to contradict the fact that the myriads of socio-economic crisis – poverty, unemployment, insecurity, separatist agitation, mass emigration are the direct consequences of relegating research and development since independence.”
They said: “The bane of research funding in Nigeria has been the reliance on budgetary allocations. The Hon. Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu is in a vantage position to know.
“We need to build the capacity for.self reliance in Nigeria. We are tired of copying others and importing all sorts of things. No country funds Science and Technology from budgetary allocations.”
They further told the Committee that President Muhammadu Buhari was interested in the bill saying: “It is pertinent to inform the Senate that the presidency has shown interest in the NRIC bill, 2022”, as a result of sustained advocacy by ASURI and the Civil Society Coalition comprising of over 30 Non-governmental Organisations.
The memo also recommended that a “representative of the Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions”, be included in the list of members of the Council of NRIC, noting that organisations involved in research and development in Nigeria are supervised by 14 MDAs
Chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology, Senator Borofice Ajayi commended the researchers for their commitment to the public hearing.
He assured all stakeholders that the 9th National Assembly will enact those laws that serve the interest of Nigerians, noting that research was key to the growth and national development of the country