Prof. Lateef Sanni, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB), says educational institutions in Nigeria have fared well in research.
Sanni, who spoke with newsmen in Igboora, Oyo State, said that research works in Nigeria were enormous and solid, adding that lack of information accounted for the negative insinuations about the pace of research in the country.
Newsmen report that Sanni is the immediate past Governing Council Chairman of Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora (OYSCATECH) and President, International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC).
“When people say we are not doing research in Nigeria, it is because they lack information about our research works,’’ he said.
The don recalled how he found some equipment manufactured by Nigerian institutions and professors in other countries during his tour of Africa as a research expert on behalf of International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
He said:” I found equipment manufactured by Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), in Ghana.
“I also found a Cassava Peeler made by Odigbo, a retired professor from University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
”In fact, they are using an upgrade of this Cassava peeler in Taminadu, India for Tapioca.
“In 2008, I was the C.G Centre award winner as the Best Technology Developer in Africa. After all, I did not come from the moon, some people taught me.’’
He said that the output of research work in Nigeria launched many academics as Nobel Laureate in Africa, arguing that the problem bordered on lack of documentation.
Sanni said another problem was how to scale up and transfer the developed technologies from the laboratories to farmers and processors.
“The opportunity is not there for most researchers to scale up the developed technologies for commercial purposes.
” If you have opportunity to travel far and around the continents in the world, you will marvel at what we have done.
“For instance, I can list thousands of farmers and hundreds of processors who have benefited from production or post-harvest technologies in cassava in Nigeria and Africa through universities like FUNAAB, IITA, Federal College of Agriculture, Akure and OYSCATECH which just joined us.
“Unfortunately for us, our intellectual property right is very weak in Nigeria.” Often, people say go and patent and I keep wondering, who that regulator is that will make sure nobody copies my technology.
“If I approach the court, how am I sure that I will win. That is one of the reasons why it appears as if we are not doing any research,” he said.
The don said that Pando yam machine emanated from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and University of Ibadan, adding that the Chinese were now distributing it back Nigeria in commercial quantities.
He also cited a university in the United States now selling bitter leaf capsules in Africa to cure ailments.
“The strategies to use for the promotion of research in universities include documentation, promotion, commercialisation and farmers’ adoption of innovations,” he said.
Sanni added that philanthropists and others in the private sector must rise up to the challenge of providing funds for research and documentation.
He urged Nigerians to take a cue from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which is a leading funding agency in agriculture and health.
He said: “Why can’t we have operators in the private sector like (Aliko) Dangote and (Tony) Elumelu as number one donor in agricultural solutions, transfer, dissemination and commercialisation in Nigeria and Africa?”