Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Secretary General of Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI), Prof. Theophilus Ndubuaku has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to writes his name in gold by signing the National Research and Innovation Council (NRIC) Establishment Bill, 2023 into law before the end of his tenure May 29, 2023.
The ASURI Scribe made the appeal in an interview with journalists at the Eagle Square venue of the workers day celebration in Abuja on May 1, 2023.
Prof. Ndubuaku hinted that many workers in research institutes are finding it difficult to carry out research because of lack of fund.
According to him, some of these Researchers carry out the research with their own personal fund and thereby making it difficult to achieve the desired result.
Ndubuaku said NRIC is the vital funding component of the Federal Government approved National Policy on Science, Technology and Innovation (NPSTI), which was initiated since the 1960s as much-needed institutionalized funding mechanism for research.
He noted that while inaugurating the present Governing Council of NRIC on the 7th of January 2016, barely six months after assuming office, President Buhari, in his capacity as the statutory Chairman of NRIC, expressed the hope that with NRIC, Nigeria would soon start producing Nobel Laureates.
He said despite being the Chairman of NRIC, Mr. President did not sign the NRIC Bill into law which was passed by 8th National Assembly.
According to him, due to appeal by ASURI and other relevant stakeholders, Buhari advised that the bill be re-introduced in the 9th National Assembly which has been done.
NRIC’s Council, consists of Vice President and all Hon. Ministers (14 ministers) whose Ministries supervise Research Institutions.
“We are appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the NRIC Establishment Bill into law as his legacy for workers and researchers in research institutes.
“This is not a new organization that requires new workers. It does not bring additional financial burden to government but only required 5% from the 14 ministries.
‘Research institutes cannot be properly founded by the regular budget hence this 5% in the NRIC bill,” Prof. Ndubuaku said.
He said the Report of the 16-Man Technical Committee on Minimum Wage and Palliatives of 2016 provides in Section 1.9.30 for the “Establishment of a Tax Fund for Adequate and Consistent Funding of Research Institutes, Colleges of Agriculture and Forestry and Allied Institutions.” That Tax fund under reference is NRIC.
According to Ndubuaku, research is the bedrock of scientific and technological development, noting that developed nations embrace and fund research adequately.
He said neglect of research by successive administrations in Nigeria is responsible for the comatose state of the nation’s mandate Research and Development Institutes and the present socio-economic woes such as massive unemployment, leading to insurgency, kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and other numerous overwhelming vices.