Unemployment Rate in Nigeria Unacceptable, Alarming — Ogbonnaya Onu

The Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, on Wednesday described the high unemployment index in the country as “unacceptable and alarming” To overcome this he said Nigeria has to switch over from a commodity-driven to a knowledge-based economy. This is a program which, according to him, the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology has been piloting for the past five years

He made the disclosure at the University of Nigeria, UNN, Nsukka when his ministry carried out a facility tour on the 500KVA solid fuel gasification plant fabricated locally by the Laboratory of Industrial Electronics, Power Devices and New Energy Systems, LIEPNES, UNN.

He equally said that it has become necessary to add value to the resources we have in the country by using them to satisfy our local needs instead of depending on imported goods.

While assuring the UNN’s Research Team led by Prof. Emenike C. Ejiogu, of the Electrical Engineering Department, of support of his Ministry in advancing the innovation on power generation, he equally said ” I congratulate the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN for this important achievement. There is a need to incorporate this innovation into the school curriculum. This will enrich teaching.

Also, I encourage the establishment of multidisciplinary teams of students to focus on generating electricity for off-grid and under-served locations in the country. This will attract many youths as entrepreneurs in the energy sector. I urge the University to ensure that the benefits from this innovation are felt by communities in the immediate environs.

“The Ministry of Science and Technology is willing to support this research and innovation. It has the great potential to help us eliminate waste dumps in towns and cities in our dear country. This will help to create jobs and wealth, generate electricity to power our industrialization drive and help us clean our towns and cities so as to protect and preserve our environment.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor of UNN, Prof. Arizechukwu Igwe, while thanking the Minister for finding out time to inspect the facility, said the research breakthrough in the University has given the institution the hope of coming off heavy financial burden usually incurred by the University from the power sectors.

While saying that UNN normally incurred N70-80 million electricity bill monthly, he added that the institution is carrying out other researches geared towards solving the local needs of the people.

The VC equally charged researchers at all institutions of learning to channel their energy towards finding solutions to the myriad of challenges confronting our societies using our indigenous resources.

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