The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu has said that the Technology and Innovation Expo 2019 being organised by the federal ministry in Enugu was to promote research and development activities as well as enable inventors commercialize their inventions.
Dr Onu also said that the Expo would encourage Nigerians to embrace science and technology as profession, showcases to the public potentials of research and development institutions, as well as building partnerships between researchers and inventors.
The minister made this known when he was briefing newsmen over the weekend at Okpara Square, Enugu venue of the Expo 2019 where he had inspected the various exhibition stands being erected there.
The theme of the expo which commences on Monday till Friday is: “Science, Technology and Innovation for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Growth.”
Other objectives of the expo, he explained, included encouraging and promoting creation of innovative enterprises utilizing Nigeria’s indigenous knowledge and technology to produce marketable goods and services.
Onu said that Nigerians must begin now to direct “our researches to the most urgent national needs because research should be to solve problems and then to solve the problem that is hurting you the most and when you do that you find out that the market will be there. And that’s why we’re talking of market-driven research.
“And then you ought to protect your intellectual property. Now, if you do research and you don’t protect its finding, it will go nowhere because nobody will be willing to come and invest in it.”
He said further that the ministry of science and technology has the intention of making Nigeria one huge science and technology laboratory where every Nigerian could go to make input for the development and growth of the nation, insisting that the idea was to make Nigerians embrace outright science and technology.
“As a matter of fact, the federal ministry of science and technology is looking forward to having Nigeria as a huge laboratory; where every Nigerian will be involved in making one contribution or the other.
“We want every Nigerian to know that I can be an inventor; I can contribute to knowledge and I can go and apply for a patent and then we will assist that person to get that patent to protect the person’s intellectual property and you can convert that into a business.”
Onu said the expo would attract some foreigners who will be coming as investors to see what they can do in the area of commercialization of research findings.
He further said the one-week expo “will be bringing together researchers from both public and private sectors,” adding that “we’re looking also at our universities and polytechnics. The other one is for young people. We are also encouraging our secondary schools to equally key into the culture of science and technology; getting our students at that level to embrace it.”
Onu advised inventors to always approach the National Agency for Technological Acquisition And Promotion (NATAP) to apply at no cost for patent right to protect their intellectual property.
He said: “You need to protect your intellectual property and we have one of our agencies NATAP; if you have a technological idea you want to promote, you go to NATAP and the agency will help you protect and promote it. I don’t think it will cost you money when you approach them.”
The minister, who said that the expo would be an annual event to be held in all the zones, also recalled that the one held in Abuja was a huge success.
“I was at PRODA’s stand in Abuja Expo. And somebody came who had wanted to go abroad to buy one particular equipment, but to the person’s greatest surprise, PRODA had the same facility that ordinarily, the man would have paid transport including the inconvenience of going abroad and all that. But the man said look, I will be coming to buy the equipment from PRODA. That is the spirit and the type of thing we’re encouraging,” according to Onu.