Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, the Minister of Science and Technology, has called on inventors and innovators to make their inventions and innovations available for patent rights.
Onu made the call during the commemoration of the African Day for Technology and Intellectual Property organised by the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) on Thursday in Abuja.
The event is in compliance with the resolution by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU), in July 1999 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Sept. 13 was earmarked the celebration of the day.
“Nations are no longer valued in terms of their population or mineral resources but on the organic mass of knowledge of its citizenry.
“It is important that we protect the intellectual property of citizens and one of the agencies out of the 17 that we supervise is NOTAP and an important aspect of its mandate is assisting inventors.
“Any Nigerian who has an idea and wants to protect and patent it, should come to NOTAP, that fellow will be assisted.’’
The minister said that the nation had progressed from six patents in 2015 to 50 in 2017.
“So, it is encouraging that we are really becoming more creative; all over the world, if you want to measure creativity, you look at the number of patents in that country.
“We are very happy about it and we are encouraging all Nigerian inventors to come to NOTAP if you have an idea that you think it is something that you want to protect, the agency will help you get the patent.
“Friendly Intellectual Property Right (IPR) environment enhances aggressive innovation activities, foreign direct investments, technology transfer, acquisition, diffusion and adaptation in regions where the culture of patenting has been internalised as a tradition.
“Patenting has taken a global dimension in determining the status of nations in international power equation and investment by multinational corporations,’’Onu said.
The minister said that the recognition which the world accords IPR and technology must be fully appreciated by Nigerians.
“Recent global developments have made it evident that natural resources endowment are no longer the prime source of national wealth and prosperity.
“Science, technology and innovation have become the key driving force in propelling national economic development and competitiveness,’’ the minister said.
Dr Dan-Azumi Ibrahim, the Director-General of NOTAP said that the days when everything was imported into the country were over.
He said that Africa has a future as long as the youths were encouraged to be innovative and creative.
Ibrahim said that NOTAP’s mandate was to assist innovators to get patent rights to create wealth for the development of the economy.
Mr Mike Akpan, an executive of the Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC) said that IPR provided the the fulcrum for innovation, adding that it was the key to technological development.
He said that as the country was transformed from a technology consumer to innovation generating hub, IPR should be given closer attention.
As part of the activities to mark the day, about 12 schools exhibited their inventions and awards were given to deserving students.
Students from the Government Science and Technical College, Garki, took the first position with their Conversion of Waste Plastics for Fuel and Gas.
The second position went to students of Government Day Secondary School, Karu for their Sewage Treatment Plant and the Vocational Educational Institute, Gwagwalada took third place for a Wireless Charger Project.