The Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, has given a reason why the Federal Government of Nigeria needs the Biafrans. According to him, the Nigerian Government needs to trace innovators of the defunct Biafra who are still alive for them to deploy their technological know-how towards the nation’s drive for industrialisation.
The Minister regretted that the nation failed to take advantage of the great innovations propelled by the three-year war, which ended in 1970, by making use of those he described as great minds that sustained the then Biafra army.
Shittu, who spoke at the commissioning of Technology Orientation Centre, built by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), at Idu, Abuja, yesterday, urged the agency to go beyond the elite environment and trace those innovators, most of whom did not even have university education.
“I recall that during the civil war, we had so many innovators from Nnewi and other parts of eastern region then. So many people, who didn’t have university education, developed so many technological infrastructure in the East”, Sun quoted him as saying.
“But it looks like after the war, they were forgotten. I think Nigeria should look for these great minds that may not have had university education but in terms of innovativeness, they sustained to a great deal the then Biafra Republic Army.
“I think that NASENI should move beyond the elite environment and look for these people who I believe are going to add great value to what NASENI has been doing.
“Again, there is need for us to start challenging ourselves. Number one, up till today, toothpicks are still imported; serviette papers are still being imported. Up till today, so many small things are still imported into Nigeria.
“It’s not enough for us to look for the big targets in terms of engineering infrastructure. I think we should not leave behind those small items that we need on daily basis.
“These are things that ordinarily if we have them produced locally, will be patronised by virtually every Nigerian. I will suggest that our immediate target like the President has always said, is that we should produce what we eat,” he stated.