By Prudence Arobani
The Federal Government has tasked Nigerians in the diaspora on the need to assist the country attain economic and technological development.
Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, said at the ministry’s Investment Forum in New York, organised for Nigerians, that the diaspora had a lot to contribute to the country.
“Our visit to New York is to get our people in the Diaspora to think home, just imagine what other nations diaspora have been able to achieve for them.
“If we look at India, there is no way India would have attained the level of development that it have attained today; India is orbiting Mars.
“India is a space power, India is a nuclear power. India could never have achieved this level without the contributions of her citizens in the Diaspora; the same way China.
“So we believe that Nigerians in the diaspora, through NIDO (Nigerians In Diaspora Organization) United States, NIDO Worldwide, should be in a position to help our nation.
“To move from the position we are today to the position where we can be the truly great nation that nature has destined us to be.
“And what that means is that we are now, that we’ve come to our Nigerians in the diaspora, to now look at the researches that we have already conducted in the country.
“These researches, we’ve taken all the risks that you need to take if you were to do it yourself.”.
Onu disclosed that the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) has about 250 products that they have taken up to commercialization level.
“If we had enough venture capital, there would be people who would come, chasing after these products because that is the easiest way to make money.
“But we would prefer to hand over this research not even as a partner; you enter into an agreement whereby there would be some fees – the normal license fees.
“If it is a Nigerian company, we would be very happy to do so because this company will come, establish the facility in Nigeria and be in a position to now hire Nigerians.
“It will also be in a position to help grow our Gross Domestic Product for the whole country and then you as a Nigerian, you will be making money and you pay more tax to government.”
Onu said the task of developing Nigeria had now become an urgent one, particularly with science and technology at the livewire of the development.
He promised to protect the intellectual property so that no other person would come to lay claim to ownership.
Some Nigerians in diaspora commended the ministry and its agencies for their research breakthroughs and called for transparency and removal of bottlenecks in government businesses to aid investment.