Concerned Civil Society Organisations of Nigeria (CCSN) on Tuesday rejected the call to reduce annual grants to the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), urging President Muhammadu Buhari to increase the grant from 1% to 2%.
Nigerian Governors had reportedly came up with some advises to Federal Government, including slashing NASENI’s annual grant, in a bid to address the economic challenges and paucity of funds facing the country, but coalition of youth organisations, CCSN in a statement jointly signed by various leaderships, said such step will detract the technological breakthrough and advancement by the agency in the production of unmanned aerial vehicle and helicopters, which is making progress in the area of insecurity and agriculture.
The statement, jointly signed by President, Unified Nigerian Youth Forum, Comrade Abdulsalam Moh’d Kazeem; President, Arewa Youth Federation, Comrade Aliyu Moh’d Sani; Convener, South East Youths for Sustainable Growth and Development, Comrade Elizabeth L. Uche, National Coordinator, South South Youth for Peace and stability, Activist Gabriel Emmanuel Abela and Speaker, Oodua Youth Parliament, Rt. Hon. Abdulmajeed Oyeniye, said increasing the annual grants to NASENI will not only boost science, innovation and technology, but will help address insecurity and food production across the country.
“The attention of Concerned Civil Society Organisations of Nigeria (CCSN) has been drawn to the 33 unsolicited advices the Nigeria Governor’s Forum gave to the Federal Government on how to rescue the nation’s economy from imminent collapse. The governors called on the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to reduced the 1% grant legally due for the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) to 0.2%. They also called for the Amendment of the Act in 2022 Finance Bill.
“Nigerian youths are taken aback by this unpatriotic call, considering the strategic importance of the Agency which was established to stimulate linkages between science, technology, academic and the industrial sector. Our inability to produce what we consume and over reliance on foreign made goods and technologies, is responsible for the weakened Naira and growing unemployment among the populace which translates to the unprecedented increase in crime rate in our country.
“We condemn the call in its entirety, and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to not only discard their counsel, but ensure that the grant is increased from the now 1% to 2%, because NASENI’s actions towards science, innovation and technology is timely and it will stand challenge of time, hence the imperative need for the upward review of the grant. Our governors should stop looking at the Federal Government, where their help comes from and begin to look inward to raise funds to run their states.
“We commend NASENI for designing first made in Nigeria Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, helicopter for agriculture and security surveillance and the role they played during the Coronavirus onslaught against Nigerians in 2020 to date, bringing science, technology and innovation closer to the people and making it possible for mechanised agriculture. We urged the National Assembly to throw out any bill that is aimed at reducing NASENI’s grant from 1% to 0.2% in appreciation of the agency’s efforts towards the spate of infrastructure, digital and technological development across the nation,” the youth leaders said.