BY EDEL-QUINN AGBAEGBU
This year’s edition of the global March for Science was held on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at the Unity Fountain, Abuja, Nigeria with the theme ; ‘’Science and Technology: An Agent For Economic Development’’. It was organized by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in Africa, Nigeria Chapter, Every Woman Hope Centre (EWHC) and the Cornell Alliance for Science. The March attracted people from various Ministries, Departments and Agency including representatives from different civil society groups.
The march for science is a global movement which draws attention to the import of science in adding value to our products for improved livelihood. It creates a good communication environment for strategic information dissemination for improved policy and choice on scientific matters.
In his remarks, the Overseeing Director General/CEO, NABDA; Mr. Abayomi Oguntunde who represented the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu stated that, ‘’Just like other Scientists across the world, Nigerian Scientists have developed various scientific tools that can help in the area of food security and combating climate change which the public have not been fully aware of. This March for Science, therefore, has provided yet another opportunity for science supporters to come together and join voices to amplify available science-based solutions the nation can adopt to ensure food security’’.
Quoting the Minister, Abayomi said, ’’With a strong and diversified economy driven by Science, Technology and Innovation, our citizens will be happy and proud to remain at home to pursue their happiness and contribute meaningfully to economic development’’.
Dr. Rose Gidado, OFAB Country Representative, noted in her brief that when we use science to inform our decisions, we all benefit. She stated that, ‘’Science is first a human process – many Nigerians view science as abstract and do not know there are Scientists in Nigeria. This March seeks to expand knowledge of the public and promote the work of Scientists helping to build a better and more informed society’’. She said that one of the objectives of the March was to create an open, honest science communication and inclusive public outreach and affirm science as a democratic value.
In her own words, the Executive Director of EWHC and Secretary, National Biosafety and Biotechnology Consortium (NBBC), emphasized that science is revolutionary and is a precursor for industrialization and sustainable development. She said that the major take home from this March is that Nigeria should not be isolated from science and urges Nigerians to embrace science, value and appreciate science as passport to a food secured Nigeria and a sustainable system.
There was a significant presence of the media and other dignitaries were in attendance including a Nollywood star, Paul Obazele who was named the Science Ambassador for the year.
Edel-Quinn Agbaegbu is the Executive Director of Every Woman Hope Centre (EWHC), an Abuja based Non-Governmental Organisation and the Secretary of National Biosafety and Biotechnology Consortium (NBBC).