Confab adopts Science & Tech committee report

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ABUJA – The National Conference on Monday resumed plenary and adopted the of its Committee on Science, Technology and Development, making it the seventh report it had adopted.

This followed a motion by Sen. Ibrahim Ida, representing Elder Statesmen, and supported by Sen. Azu Agboti, another elder statesman.

The conference unanimously rejected a recommendation that would have made the and welfare of media practitioners a constitutional matter.

The recommendation sought to relocate Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution to Section 39, and consequently amend Section 22, which gave constitutional responsibility to journalists to also protect them.

The conference argued that the Freedom of Information Act (FOI), and not the constitution, should be amended so as to accommodate the of media practitioners under the FOI.

Also, a recommendation to limit the commercialisation of public-funded media organisations in favour of the private organisations overwhelmingly rejected by the conference.

The conference, however, accepted the recommendation by the committee for the regulation of the social media to guard against its abuse.

The recommendation calling on the Federal Government to totally ban the export of raw materials, so as to utilise them to develop the local industries, was also rejected.

Similarly, a proposed amendment that government should ensure 50 per cent value addition to raw materials from the country before they are exported was also rejected.

The inclusion of science in the constitution so as to make the development of the sector a constitutional matter as recommended by the committee was overwhelmingly rejected.

The conference also rejected a recommendation that government should encourage and harness the various illegal crude oil refineries and convert them into productive ventures.

The recommendation that all colleges of technology should be converted to universities so as to encourage science-based education was similarly rejected.

Also the recommendation that all science and technology matters under the of Science and Technology, and Communications Technology should be supervised by the Presidential Council on Science, Technology and Innovations, was rejected.

It, however, accepted the recommendation that Science Clubs should be established in schools as well as ensuring compulsory computer education and provision of science equipment in schools.

The conference also accepted the proposal that Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill should be amended to have strict liability provisions.

A recommendation that government should encourage foreign firms to bring in their technology to and produce for exports in order to create jobs for the youths was overwhelmingly supported.

The committee’s report was presented by its Chairman, Dr Daniel Maddo, on after which debate on its recommendations commenced and amendments proposed. (NAN)