Nigeria’s government yesterday said plans were underway to host a national miniature air show festival for Nigerian inventors to showcase their ideas and products. Receiving two inventors – a plane and surveillance drone inventor in his office in Abuja – the minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu said the festival would be hosted in December. Onu, giving assurance of the ministry’s support towards providing a platform for indigenous inventors and innovators to further transform creative ideas and prototypes into marketable products and services, he noted that the air show would be funded by the ministry.
According to him, the strength of the country was not based on the quantum of mineral resources deposited at different locations, but was based on the intellectual deposits and capacities of the citizenry whom he termed as “very intelligent”. He said “Today we have listened to two Nigerian inventors who have the brain and they have worked very hard.
I want to assure you that the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology will support you and we want to assure all Nigerians that any Nigerian that has any good idea the Federal Ministry of Technology will give support to make sure that idea becomes either a product or a service that will be of tremendous benefit to our nation. “This ministry has a mandate to ensure that our nation is no longer just a consumer nation, we are tired of being just consumers, consuming what other people produce; we want to produce ourselves to meet our needs as a nation; we also want to produce to export to other countries.
“We want to be inventors; we want to be innovators we need to create new technologies , we can’t continue to copy what other people have done; we also want other people to come and copy what we are doing in Nigeria. “I want to assure you that the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology will provide funding for the first national miniature air show festival. We want it done in December, we will set up a small group here in the ministry; we will work with you to make sure that this air show festival is a reality.” The minister further noted that some of the agencies under the supervision of the ministry including National Space Research and Development Agency (NARSDA) would be mandated to assist in accelerating the work of the inventors even as National Office of Technology Acquisition Promotion (NOTAP) would register both inventions for free. Earlier, the inventor of the surveillance drone, Ayoola Olaolu, called on the military to engage the use of surveillance drones in the fight against terrorism in gathering and monitoring military intelligence rather than sacrificing the lives of Nigerian troops and pilots.
He explained that “We can fly over the battle field and over the North East to take pictures, to detect mines, to know if bombs are being planted to know what is going on. Olaolu, a graduate of Computer Science, added that if Nigerian youths come together to harness their skills, the nation would have solved most of its problems. Speaking to newsmen, the inventor of the plane, Aghogho Ajiyen, said he crashed and destroyed his planes about 3,000 times, adding that it took him eight years to master the act of taking off and landing the plane successfully. He noted that the plane could fly within the radius of five or six kilometers and an altitude of about 3000 to 4000 feet high. Ajiyen narrating how he started the journey, said “I tried to build my first air