By Sade Williams
Academic institutions and other organisations in the country are set to save billions of naira annually on research and capital flight with the usage of the metallurgical laboratory of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.
This is as the University of Ilorin at the AIB’s headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the bureau on the usage of the facility.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Commissioner of AIB, Engr. Akin Olateru said that the partnership would be beneficial to the agency and the university.
He decried that both private and public business organisations expend little or no resources to funding of researches and projects in the country, stressing that Harvard University in the United States alone has in essence of $30bn for research purposes, stressing that with adequate research, the country would benefit more.
Olateru explained that the vision of the management was to make the laboratory a world class facility where giant construction companies and countries like South Africa, United Kingdom and other European nations could come to conduct their researches, stressing that the collaboration with the university would lead to the recognition of Nigeria as a serious nation in researches in the international community.
He maintained that the usage of the facility would lead to human capital development in the country while the laboratory would also give students more opportunity to practice whatever they had been taught in the classrooms by their lecturers.
He said: “This is a very important occasion for us and I believe University of Ilorin too should be proud of this occasion. I have about 30 years experience in aviation and this is the first that I know of that an aviation agency is signing an MOU with any higher institution in this country for the benefit of Nigerians.
“Let’s look at it very well, Federal Government owns AIB and University of Ilorin is equally owned by the federal government. Why can’t we collaborate? I challenge every other agency to see how we can all collaborate. No more a stand-alone business. We should find a way how we can benefit on one and other. You don’t need to have all the resources, competence or the technical expertise by yourself, it is all about collaboration.
“We need to develop the manpower to be able to run the laboratory effectively and that is why I think this MoU is a grand breaking event and I will like to see more of it not just in aviation, but in the country at large. This is something we are giving our 100 per cent and Nigerians would benefit from it.”
He also explained that AIB hoped to lure more academic institutions to make use of the facility, stressing that it would also form parts of its Internally Generated Revenues (IGRs).
The leader of the delegation, Prof. Yinusa Jimoh noted that it was the first time the institution would sign an MoU with any Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the country and expressed hope that it would be mutually benefited to parties involved.
He said that Nigeria as a whole would gain from the partnership, stressing that rather than travel abroad for researches; they would be able to do so with ease in the country.
He enjoined other academic institutions in the country to take a cue from the institution by looking inward whenever they are conducting researches, stressing that this would also go a long way in curbing capital flight out of the country.
“Nigeria has a lot to gain through this partnership because Nigerians go to every part of the world for research purposes. We still send materials to overseas when we are doing some research work. Our facilities still require improvement and this is a good facility for us and we are taking good opportunity of this.
“We are looking for a place to improve our facilities and we have it now. By tomorrow, this thing that we are starting today will be a huge benefit for this country. I can assure you that we are starting an agreement that would be sustained. It’s a win-win situation for all of us involved,” he said.