BY LEVINUS NWABUGHIOGU
DEPUTY Chairman, Committee on Science and Technology, Engr. Ezekiel Izuogu, has said that lack of facilities has hindered the Nigerian Communications Satellite from tracking and rescuing the abducted Chibok school girls.
Izuogu, who is known as the first Nigerian to manufacture a car, said the agency was incapacitated to perform the task expected of it by many Nigerians because it is under-funded.
Going down memory lane, he gave a brief account of how he succeeded in manufacturing a Nigerian car, regretting that the government had not done anything to encourage that invention.
He said: “They (agency) have the necessary manpower but they don’t have the facilities. Their problem is money. I went there with my committee members to interview him (director-general) and he spoke very well but then the problem is funding.
There is no funding for science and technology in Nigeria. And I keep giving myself as an example that 17 years ago, I did the first car in Africa, the managing director of Peugeot and other executive directors chartered a plane to fly down to Port Harcourt and then to Owerri, just to come and see what we did and they made us wonderful promises that we should produce a type of Peugeot for them and they would pay us well but I said ‘no.’
I was not interested in doing anything for Peugeot. I want to do something that will benefit Nigeria, something that is done by Nigerians with things that were around Nigeria. They did everything to entice us but I said ‘no.’
“Thereafter, I now took it up to do the Nigerian car and we did not talk to anybody until we finished. We invited Abacha who sent his deputy to us in Owerri. A crowd of 50,000 including diplomats and five governors were there to see physically what we have done and the whole world was celebrating. Thereafter, there was no support. Nigeria government probed the car and found it worthy, they confirmed that everything was well done but till today no support I don’t have one Naira from the government instead people were making effort to blackmail us. They are saying this is Igbo-made.
“So, the Nigeria public has no problem. Nigerians are good people, every Nigerian will want to use his or her hands to manufacture things but a few policy makers who are sitting up there are ready to sabotage everything to make sure that we don’t really have anything.
Izuogu also gave insights into his committees’ efforts to come up with recommendations that will industrialize Nigeria and regretted that Nigeria pays lip service to science and technology.