President Muhammadu Buhari has dismissed the reports that his London trip was to compile the list of persons to be appointed as ministers during his second tenure.

The Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI) has pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the National Research and Innovation Council (NRIC) Bill, into law to accelerate the country’s industrialization.

National Secretary General of ASURI, Dr Theophilus Ndubuaku, made the appeal in Abuja, saying that the union’s quest to see the bill passed was because of the enormous economic potentials of Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the president had returned the NRIC bill to the National Assembly over some grey areas, which had been corrected and returned for Presidential assent.

Ndubuaku, therefore appealed to President Buhari to assent to the Bill, appoint functionaries and saddle them with the responsibility to continue to relate with NASS for further necessary amendments to improve on the activities of NRIC.

“We are aware that many research institutions established many years ago do not still have establishment laws, but they have continued to function all the same and effectively so.

“While inaugurating the NRIC, the President expressed the hope of Nigeria producing Nobel Laureates in the sciences with the establishment of the Council.

“Many current technologically-advanced and rich nations such as China, India, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia initiated similar policies at about the same time but they were consistent with the implementation.

“At independence, the Nigerian economy was far better than those of some of these nations but we have transformed from net exporter to importer of goods and services from them,” Ndubuaku said.

According to him, the springboard of Science and Technology is Research and as such must be given all the seriousness it deserves to fast-track growth of the country.

He regretted the designation of the country as the current poverty capital of the world, but expressed the hope that with NRIC bill the nation would be great again.

“Nigeria unbelievably operates close to zero budgetary allocation to research. In most of the over 150 Nigerian Research and Development Institutions (RDIs) and centres, research and training activities are self-funded by researchers because they must acquire higher degrees and produce research publications before they can be promoted at every stage of their careers.

“Consequently, Nigerian career researchers are the poorest cadre of public servants as they must devote over half of their salaries for research if they must advance in their profession.

“The NRIC Bill 2018 provides for the institutional research and training funding mechanism and infrastructural development for Research and Development Institutions (RDIs) in Nigeria,” he added.

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