ASURI, CSOs partner on NRIC Bill

The Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI) has peered with over 20 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) across the country to canvass and ensure the National Assembly pass into law the National Research and Innovation Council (NRIC) Bill.

The efforts, according to the bodies, were targeted at ensuring research institutes in Nigeria break the jinx of unproductiveness due to low budgetary allocation,

They also unanimously agreed on the need to raise awareness on the NRIC Bill, noting that once passed, the impact of the bill would effectively lead to technological revolution in Nigeria.

Speaking at a meeting of the two groups, ASURI Secretary General Dr Theophilus Ndubuaku stated that NRIC Bill provides for the institutional research and training funding mechanism and infrastructural development for RDIs in Nigeria.

He said compared to sister nations, Nigeria’s zero percent involvement in research and innovation “is leading the country being seen as to a failed state.”

Ndubaku said: “You do not fund research through budget allocation on a yearly basis, there is an institutionalised funding mechanism where funds are available and accessible, such funding institutions are not available in Nigeria.

“In the 1960s, Nigeria developed a policy for science and technology which was supposed to take us to the next level as far as technology is concerned. Since then it has been reviewed 13 times, yet no action has been taken.”

Furthermore, Ndubuaku said developed nations set up policies and start funding them, saying the reverse is the case in Nigeria where polices were initiated but not funded.

He said ASURI would work with progressive CSOs to lobby the 9th National Assembly to reconsider the National Research and Innovation Council Bill.

The ASURI chief also said President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the National Research and Innovation Council on the 6th of January 2016, barely six months after he assumed office on May 29, 2015.

Interestingly, he said ASURI followed the National Assembly on the bill, and was aware when the NRIC Bill, sponsored by Senator David Umaru and co-sponsored by 60 other Senators was passed.

“However, the Bill, which was returned to the National Assembly by Mr. President, citing some grey areas, was promptly rectified by the Eighth Assembly before the end of its tenure and re-transmitted to the Villa. It was not passed by the President,” he said.

Responding, representatives of the CSOs pledged to work towards actualisation Bill’s passage.