COVID 19: Positive impact on Nigeria’s Science, Technology, Innovation

Today’s technology is speedily going global by the second, and research shows that Nigeria being the giant of Africa is still lagging behind in this aspect. Just recently, NASENI showed that challenges brings positivity via its latest inventions to curb coronavirus. BINTA SHAMA reports.

The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), is an agency under the purview of the Ministry of Science and Technology with the mandate to capitalise on production, research, and reverse engineering with the vision to create an enabling knowledge-driven environment for local mass-production of standard parts, goods and services required for the nation’s technological growth.

Invention to combat COVID-19 pandemic

In view of this, the Agency recently launched an invention, a very first ‘made in Nigeria’ Ventilators and also numerous kinds of Mobile Sprayers in Abuja, as contribution to support the Federal Government to fight the spreading of these Coronavirus pandemic.

Thus, to disinfect one’s self, Nigerian cities and homes, schools, hospitals and generally public and private places need to combat COVID-19 Pandemic.

According to the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO NASENI, Engr. Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna the need to embrace and develop local capacity and capability for innovations leading to a manufacturing economy has become imperative. “The country cannot leave its economy at the mercy of fluctuating commodity prices. For instance, the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus has led to a decline in oil revenue with predictable negative impact on Government capital projects and other socio-economic activities that are funded from recurrent expenditure. Even private sector organisations are reporting losses. Countries that have developed sound Science, Technology and Innovation system are more flexible in addressing the current world economic vicissitude. 

“Countries that have succeeded in addressing socio-economic development challenges have one thing in common: they invest heavily in research and development. They are leaders in Science and Technology. Nigeria has no alternative route to sustainable development other than a complete change of attitude and to prioritise Science, Technology and Innovation. 

Leveraging on STI to build a knowledge based economy

“The current administration, led by President Muhammadu Buhari recognizes that the Nigerian economy is most likely to remain on a path of steady decline if nothing is done to change the course. As a result, since the inception of the administration in May 2015, the Government has taken several strides aimed at solving these challenges and turning around the Nigerian economy in a major way. One of the steps taken by the Buhari-led administration was the development of The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), a medium term all-round developmental initiative focused on restoring growth, investing in people and building a globally competitive economy. The Plan recognizes the need to leverage Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and build a knowledge-based economy. The ERGP is also consistent with the aspirations of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) given that the initiatives address its three dimensions of economic, social and environmental sustainability issues,” Haruna further stated.

The NASENI, boss added that his organisation has been at the forefront of delivering Science and Engineering Infrastructure to ensure Nigeria’s economy is diversified and to enhance the growth of its diversified economy.

He disclosed his Agency to have invented 9 innovations respectively to help prevent and fight  the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

While intimating the honorable Minister on the inventions respectively, Haruna said that the NASENI safety Tunnel were of different shapes pending on how, where and what to use them for. Adding that, the ‘O’ shape is designed for disinfecting persons in the general public. “it is specifically designed for installation at the entrances of public places and it’s elegant design makes it suitable for high-profile institutions and offices. It has a 2 meter-long walk through ‘O’ shaped tunnel. With a diameter of 2 meters. It can accommodate up to two persons working through at a safe in between distance of 1.0meters, it will completely disinfect a single person walking through in 5 to 8 seconds and approximately 450 persons in 1 hour. The disinfectant does in pressure pump delivers a mixture of air atomized disinfectant at 0.3 MegaPascals (MPs), efficiently and effectively disinfecting the entire body of the person from the tunnel is constructed with transparent poly-carbonate sheet which are resistant to ultraviolet rays.

On the other hand, he said the invention of the Ventilators were 3 automated model design of Ventilators. Saying that, the mobile ventilator absorbs oxygen by itself from the environment where a sick person can receive oxygen outside the hospital and be alright. 

Nigeria to count lesser deaths post COVID-19

While unveiling the invention, the Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu commended NASENI for their timely response to curtail the spread of the virus by supporting the federal government in a difficult time as this.

According to the FMST boss, that the initiative is the first of its kind ever to be invented which in turn will rapidly reduce the number of deaths in the country and hoping for Nigeria to be one of the countries to produce the least number of deaths that will be recorded post COVID 19.

“It is a perfect timing for NASENI to draw the attention of the federal government to look inwards on how things should be done differently in the future. These inventions are great initiatives for the nation, which belongs to our indigenous Nigerians and Nigeria alone. The ventilators and other initiatives are our very own design, where we decided to use our engineering sector and which can be used also for post COVID 19 in order to show the world that we can do better.

“I assure you that we Nigerians have the capacity to make a difference by changing the situation for a positive turn and the federal government will encourage the technologists, scientists and engineers to make big self reliant in many areas particularly in meeting the needs of the people, ” he added.

Speaking, the Minister of State, Science and Technology Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi said the use of Nigeria’s very own technologists, engineers, and scientists to develop equipment of these kind to assist the country curtail COVID 19 and other challenges that may arise in future is a welcoming initiative at this juncture.

“This has given the country a strong leverage in terms of preserving our foreign reserves. These initiative is supportive of the effort of Mr. President to look inward for local contents in the production of equipment. I am very impressed with the every invention displayed here today especially tunnels which are significant to other invention of the world,” he added.

Abdullahi urged the States to take advantage of the initiative and use for the safety of their people respectively noting that orders would be on first come first serve basis.

The Chairman Senate Committee on Science and Technology Senator Uche Lilian Ekwunife lauded NASENI for their efforts to curb the virus.

She further said that the government will in turn ensure to grow the technological sector, adding that they would in their capacity get hospitals and other related sectors to buy into the technology.

She assured Nigerians that the federal government will support this initiative knowing that if funding is provided, more would be manufactured which will be a major development and improvement in Nigeria to curb the virus.

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