Editorial

Nigerian invents surveillance drone

THE EDITORIAL BOARD

The feat of a 22-year-old Nigerian, Ignatius Asabor, who made a surveillance drone gladdened our hearts and dominated the pages of most news outlets recently. Perhaps more newsworthy is the report that Asabor has been employed by a drone making company in Finland. He has thus relocated to from Nigeria. His new employers, Radai Limited based in Oulu, proudly reported this on their LinkedIn platform.

The firm believes that Mr Asabor will improve and strengthen Radai’s survey team as well as grow the company. A remarkable thing about the feat of this young Nigerian is his use of local materials to manufacture the drone.

This is not the first time a Nigerian has invented game changing technological pieces. Nigerians have variously surmounted the inclement situations of the nation to develop technologies that have gained international attention. Mr Silas Adekunle, is today the highest paid robotic engineer in the world. Since the 1970s, Nigerians have carried out research that ought to make major inputs to human civilisation.

University of Lagos Professor late Ayodele Oluwatumininu Awojobi successfully converted his personal car, Opel Olympia Rekord from right to a left-hand drive car. He also changed a pre-existing normal military jeep’s engine such that it could move both back and front – advance and retreat – without undergoing the usual reverse-gear system.

This jeep was named “Autonov 1.” Sadly, it is now a mere museum collection for the Nigerian Army. It is also reported that the highly patented Poundo Yam Machine was a Nigerian creation. Also, a Nigerian has designed a pot that has the capacity to cook rice and stew simultaneously to reduce energy consumption.

The long list stretches from agriculture, medicine to software and hardware creations. It is common knowledge that we have local artificial and intelligence companies that manufacture drones capable of tracking criminals in their hideouts. A few Nigerian companies now manufacture military and other security hardware and vehicles.

A Nigerian now converts transport minibuses from petrol into solar driven vehicles. They are now in operation in Bornu State. Another Nigerian-born Professor is driving a similar programme in Kenya for motorcycles. What is worrying in all this is the lack of enthusiasm on the part of the Nigerian State for these landmark feats.

No appropriate attention is given to either the creators or created technologies by the relevant authorities. They end up in the pages of newspapers. In fact, the official attitude is that the inventors are “on their own.” We cannot but call out the Ministry of Science and Technology on this score.

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The major work of such a ministry is to embrace these geniuses, understudy their inventions to further their capabilities and commercialisation. Sadly, it seems the Ministry is nonchalant on reported inventions. It is even more surprising that both the Army and Police have taken scant interest and advantage of such inventions.

These inventions could save us huge scarce foreign exchange that is usually expended acquiring similar things. The consequence of the official dispositions to these feats by the Nigerian state is that the country is losing her creations, geniuses and contributions to other people. Rather than receive the credit and patent rights due to us, Nigerian citizens are short changed.

The Trumpet opines that the Ministry of Science and Technology should be tasked to have a monitoring unit charged with registering and interfacing such upcoming inventors. Our research institutes and universities must be given “research outcomes reporting” template.

They must register their research outcomes with the relevant ministries. It should not be out place if the ratings and funding of these institutions are tied to their yearly creativity and inventions.

The challenges of our failing economy, insecurity, food crisis and poor health facilities call for improved interventions by everyone that is bothered about national development. In a good society, scientists would be deployed to carry out research on the so-called illegal refineries scattered all over the Niger Delta creeks with a view to modernising them for better production capacity and safety.

The same argument can be advanced for our palm oil production and other sectors. Government at all levels in Nigeria, along with the private sector must begin to show more concern on reports of inventions by Nigerians.

We cannot but congratulate Mr Ignatius Asabor for his uncommon feat. All inventors like him deserve to be given national recognition and award. Their acts establish a point. The solution to the Nigerian problem is within!

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