The director-general of the Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO), Prof. Paul Onyenekwe has revealed that the agency is currently collaborating with the Nigerian Airforce to provide high-altitude operations supplies.
He made this known while speaking at the ‘SHESTCO Day’, a sideline event of the just-concluded Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Expo 2023 which held in Abuja.
Onyenekwe said the collaboration is centred around the provision of liquid nitrogen and oxygen generation supplies and repairs for the force [‘s automobiles and aircraft] as part of its contribution and support for the smooth operations of the force.
He, however, noted that the complex is seeking a public-private partnership (PPP) as the only viable means through which the complex can be developed, as obtained in other parts of the world.
‘‘SHESTCO is collaborating with the Nigeria Airforce to generate liquid nitrogen and oxygen. They use a lot of liquid oxygen for high-attitude flights. Also, we help in the repair of some of the critical equipment they need in liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen generation.
‘’We have a technology park in need of private sector investment. To develop a technology park anywhere in the world, you need collaboration such as the PPP. We are seriously pursuing that to see how we can kick off the use of that place.
‘‘Already, an institution is there. But they are trying to finish their building.
“They specialise in producing transformer oil (very toxic). They will distil the oil and see how they can dispose of it in an environmentally- friendly manner.’’
On the proposed 0.5 per cent GDP contribution to research and development by the Federal Government, he advised that a self-accounting body be established to manage such research funds for proper accountability and sustainability.
“By doing this, the civil service bureaucracy would be eliminated.
“The best way to apply the proposed research funding is to establish a self-accounting body that will manage the fund, [free of] the bureaucracy of the civil service. That is how it is done everywhere in the world.
‘’When a call is made, experts are assembled to receive the proposals and give candid advice about the proposals. The agency will decide whether to fund or not, depending on the amount available for the year. Before they announce funding for a particular year, they must have taken thematic areas and, then, get people to apply. The number of people that will apply will be so much that they will grade them. Those who have a higher percentage will be selected based on merit and funds available.’’
Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of State for ST&I, Chief Henry Ikoh said Nigeria is eager to take its rightful place on the global stage, with the ongoing efforts by the government to move the country from consumption to the commercialisation of research findings.
He commended SHESTCO management and pledged the government’s readiness to provide an enabling environment and support for collaboration between the agencies and the private sector.