The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has said that the Federal Government is interested in using nuclear technology to develop human health, food security, manufacturing, mining, the environment and also for analytical work.
Onu who stated this when he received the Country Programme Officer for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mr. Mulugeta Amha in Abuja said government is determined to leverage on its relationship with the global body to develop its nuclear sector.
He said: “Nigeria wants to move away from a resource base to information and innovation based economy; we want to make sure we develop competence in all areas of technology. We believe that this is one of the areas we need to build our economy and develop human capital.
“The human capital will be needed in the area of research, utilising atomic energy and in energy itself to generate electricity.
“We want to have a mix of sources of energy so that when one source fails, we can make up from another source. We are also interested in using atomic energy in human health, food security, manufacturing, mining, the environment also for analytical work,” the minister added.
Onu expressed the readiness of the government to work with IAEA to upgrade facilities at Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO) to enable the institute get rid of tse-tse flies affecting animals and humans.
Earlier, Amha sought partnership with the Nigerian government to develop the atomic energy sector of the country.
He said that the IAEA was running technical cooperation programmes that cut across several areas of national importance, stressing that the agency understood the challenges of the country in developing the energy sector and was ready to assist.
According to him, the IAEA has “worked with Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission as the liaison office, which is the focal point for the agency’s collaboration and we will continue to collaborate for future development.
“Nigerian programme is not centred on the Federal Capital alone, it is scattered across the country, it is in the mining sector, environment, agriculture, in water and in geology.
“The Gamma irradiation facility based in Sheda and the Research Institute, Kaduna are also important elements for Technical Corporation.
“We value the collaboration with Nigeria and look forward to enhancing it; we understand the aspirations of Nigeria to address energy issue.
“It is important and this is based on meticulous energy planning, building the capacity of things that leverage technology transport,” he said.
He said that it was important the country addressed issues that limit atomic energy development in the country.
Amha, however, added that the agency regarded Nigeria’s position as important globally in the area of energy, science, and technology advancement and was ready to help the industry grow.