The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) says it is ready to partner with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make available its electronic voting machines for the 2019 General Elections.
Mr Mohammed Haruna, the Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI, made this known while responding to questions at a news conference during NASENI Day at the ongoing Technology and Innovation Expo 2018 in Abuja.
He, however, said that he was not in the position to take such decision on behalf of the INEC.
“Technical team of INEC, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and NASENI have reviewed this and it has been demonstrated, it has been presented to INEC.
“They know best what they want. So the technical team is working to see to the visibility vis-à-vis the restriction of the Electoral Act; how much of the electronic operation is the law allows,” he said.
On whether the agency has enough of the voting machines to take care of the election, he said: ‘’If it is needed, large scale will be produced; if we are asked to do it in good time before the election.”
On the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) brought for exhibition, he said though UAV was originally produced for agricultural purposes, it has multi-purpose functions.
‘’It can be used as herbicide, pesticide, etc. But in the process, we discovered with the liquid that can be used as chemicals for spraying or fertilisation, it can as well quench fire in high-rise building.
“So it means we can as well use it for fire fighting. It can also be used for intelligence and surveillance because it carries camera which immediately transmits data in real time.
‘’It can also be used in traffic control and other emergencies. In fact, the Armed Forces can use it to complement their intelligence gathering,” he said.
Haruna said that the UAV could be used to monitor pipelines and power lines against vandalism.
Mr Otis Anyaeji, former President of Nigerian Society of Engineers, said efforts should be made to close the gap between products from research and development and the market.
“Closing of that gap is of course the factoring in of the investment, entrepreneurial and financial communities so that they can make it possible for entrepreneurs to pick up these products of research and then go to commercialise them and produce them on a larger scale.’’
Anyaeji said this would in turn create jobs opportunities for Nigerians and boost the country’s economy.
The former Vice Chancellor of Lagos State University, Prof. Oye Ibidapo Obe, said NASENI had done very well over the years, urging the Federal Government to encourage the agency.
He said the agency had human resources to propel the nation forward.
‘’So NASENI should be encouraged. There should be a regular meeting between NASENI and the President of Nigeria which encompasses total infrastructural development in science and technology.
“They must look at how this knowledge can go into full production,” he said.