The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has given 16 Nigerian Universities a total N232.5m Telecommunications research and development grant.
The grant consist of three Professional Chair endowment grant of N6Om and N172.5m to 13 Universities for research projects.
The presentation of cheques to the 16 Universities and the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the three Professional Chair endowment Universities in Abuja, Nigeria.
The Executive Vice Chairman, EVC, of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, said; ”the Commission would have provided more than N660,000,000.00 million to Nigerian Tertiary Institutions for the Information Communications Technology (ICT) focused research innovations.”
According to Danbatta; “In the 2021 Request for proposals, the Commission received a total of 55 research proposals that focused on five emerging technology areas namely: 5G Deployment, Innovative Clean Energy, Advanced Method of Quality of Service (QoS)/Quality of experience Management and Test Mechanism; IoT Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) Technology; and Monitoring and localizing of Drones. After the evaluations, thirteen (13) proposals were found to have met the stipulated criteria.”
In an Interview, the NCC Boss said; “the endowment of three Professional Chair to three Nigerian Universities is to drive this effort and grants to 13 Nigerian universities for the purpose of conducting research that are relevant.
“We signed MoU with the three universities and they got a professional chair endowment grant of N20m each, making it a total of N60m. There are conditions for the application of the endowment chair to the universities. The conditions are what we stated in the MoU we signed; if we see any application of the grant outside what we have stated in the MoU then we will raise an objection. Because you don’t give an endowment to a university without stating what it’s intended to be used for.”
The Head, Research and Development Department, Mr. Kelechi Nwakwo explained that; ”the Commission in line with the strategic management plan 2020-2024, having Identified stakeholders’ collaboration and partnership as being critical to the attainment of its cooperate objectives, designed the Telecommunications-based Research Innovation from academics in Nigerian tertiary institutions and the endowment of Professorial Chair programmes, to ensure that the Nigerian academic community is able to contribute to the life transforming solutions and products that the information society offers.”
Mr Nwakwo also emphasised that Commission strongly appreciates the importance of working with stakeholders to engender innovations and build indigenous technological capabilities that would strengthen the ICT ecosystem; not only in the provision of services, but in the development of a communication manufacturing and supply sector within the Nigerian economy.
The Vice Chancellor, Uthman Dan Fodio University Sokoto, who spoke on behalf of the recipients said Nigeria must develop its own technology and stop buying foreign technology.
He said; “The ICT as it is today is the engine of the next industrial revolution in the world. And Nigeria should not be left behind.
”Local content in all we do is very important; no one will solve our problems but ourselves. No matter how money we invest in transferring technology, that technology will never be transferred. That technology must be created here by us and for us and others to benefit from our own creation.”
One the recipients, Federal University of Agriculture Abeocita , Ogun State, Professor Olufunke Vincent explained that with this grant the university would develop agricultural innovations that would boost food security and improve agricultural yields with the help of the ICT.
The award of Research Grants to 13 Tertiary Institutions for the Telecommunications-Based Research Innovations from, Nigerian Tertiary Institutions includes; Sule Lamido University, Jigawa, University of Illorin in Kwara State, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka Anambra State.
Others are the Nigerian Army University Biu, Borno State, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta Ogun State
Niger Delta University Bayelsa State, Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano, Kwara State University, and Federal University of Technology Owerri, Imo State, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Anambra State. With Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, Edo State getting two to make it to 13.
The endowment of Professional Chairs went to University of Port Harcourt, Usman Danfodiyo University of Sokoto, and Federal University of Technology Minna.