The Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI) has called on the National Assembly to organise a symposium for all research institutes in Nigeria to proffer solution to the nation’s economic recession.
ASURI’s Secretary-General, Dr Theophilus Ndubuaku, made the call while speaking with newsmen during the union’s protest at the National Assembly on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said that if the research institutes were properly funded, they would take Nigeria out of economic woes and lead the country to technological development.
According to Ndubuaku, the essence of the protest is to spur the National Assembly to pass the twin bill of National Research and Innovation Bill 2016 and Agricultural Council Amendment Bill 2016.
The union had placards with these inscriptions: “FG, Stop Recession by Funding Research. Tomorrow is too Late’’,
“Universities are Saturated with TETFund while Colleges of Agricultures are Dying.’’
“We want the National Assembly to organise a symposium and invite all research institutes to come and tell Nigerians what they have on ground to end this recession in the shortest possible time.
“The recession is long overdue. The Federal Government should give a time frame to end the recession.
“The Federal Government has been funding researches in universities to the tune of billions but it has not made any impact.
“There is a bill in the NASS to fund research. We want to appreciate this government for that step; we want to continue this rally so that nobody will derail the bill.
“Some people say we have a lot of research institutes in the country.
“But we do not have up to 20 per cent of the number of research institutes we need for 150 million people in this country.’’
The secretary general said that other countries that had the size of Nigeria’s population had research institutes more than Nigeria.
He regretted that countries that started the quest for technological development same time as Nigeria had overtaken it.
Ndubuaku said that Nigeria was well endowed in natural resources but neglected the only source to develop the natural resources, and that was research.
According to him, research can create wealth, obliterate recession and reduce poverty.
“Universities research is basic research as academic freedom extends to research.
“The kind of research we have in research institutes is different from what we have in universities.
“In research institutes, we have mandate research—such that there is plan and every institute knows what to do.
“The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) excludes research institutes such that all the colleges of agriculture are not captured under TETFund,’’ he said.
According to him, research funding is germane to ending the country’s economic recession.