Amid criticisms that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration had been mortgaging the nation through foreign loans which end up in private pockets, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, has said that such views were erroneous and not the true position of things.
Fashola, who was the guest speaker at the 32nd Convocation Lecture of the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, on Monday, stated that the huge foreign loans taken by the Federal Government under the current administration were being channeled to the development of infrastructure.
He maintained that it was wrong and unfair for critics of the administration to insist that the loans being taken by the Federal Government had been going into frivolities and payment of salaries.
He said, “United States of America (US) is the highest debtor nation the world over with its debts hitting over $20 trillion. But, it has the greatest Army. They build the Holywood. They control the whole world.
“The Buhari Government is investing in infrastructure, in roads, airports and rails. The money is not put in private pockets. Ask yourselves, do we want to move forward or backward?”
Fashola who spoke on “Sustainability of Technological Advancement: A Key to Industrial Growth,” stressed that although technological development was good, there was need for it to be carefully handled as it had several adverse effects.
He maintained that the emergence of ICT and several innovations in technology had helped to improve communication and human functions, adding that they had also reduced inter-personal verbal communication in homes, offices and social gatherings.
Fashola lamented that people now spend more time on their phones at the expense of their jobs and serious studies, even as too much focus on computer and telephones screens had been causing serious damage to sight , even as he expressed the fear that very soon majority of the active population would be going on eye glasses or go blind.
The minister also warned that as the nation has been getting ready for the 2019 general elections, there was need to elect one who would exercise self-control and would not take erratic decision by misusing technology, thereby throwing the nation into war or destruction by a touch of the button.
He warned that although the world had been going nuclear, the leaders need to be careful not to plunge the universe into nuclear war and disasters.
Fashola stressed the need for Nigeria to leverage on technology for the nation to develop, even as he lauded several advancements in the area in the country.
Under power, he stressed that that there had been advancement in automatic meter reading, as there had also been improvement in power generation and distribution.
He, however, maintained that there was the need to research more in the area of power storage, to ensure that excess generated power was not wasted, but preserved for future use.
In response to the requests of Obafemi Omokungbe, Rector of the institution, Fashola promised that his ministry would look into the needs of the Yaba College of Technology in areas of its internal road network and a mini power station to ensure that there would be conducive learning environment there.
Omokungbe, while outlining the challenges of the 71-year-old institution, said there had been a huge burden on the college for replacement of facilities that had become dilapidated and decayed due to age, considering the paucity of funds.