Popularly called ”STI Ambassador” Barr Mohammed Abdullahi is an enigma, aura-personified, and inspired-filled personality who has dedicated a large part of his life to public service with loyalty, integrity, and sincerity.
In pursuit of growth to change Nigeria’s narratives in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) as well as the nation’s ranking in the global innovation index, Minister of State for Science, Technology, and Innovation, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi, since assumption of office, has remained resolute in ensuring the nation is globally competitive via grassroots engagement.
Speaking exclusively with PLEASURES Magazine in Abuja Nigeria, the Minister disclosed that the full deployment of STI will help Nigeria overcome its numerous challenges in the sector as well as become globally competitive.
Decrying that Nigeria remains low in the global innovation index 2021 ranking, he stressed the need for innovators to rise to international best practices as well as provide verifiable statistics of the various progress made so far by Nigerians in STI.
The Minister, however, blamed the current result on the lack of data on invention in the Innovation Space.
Speaking further, he stated that Nigerians have made giant strides in inventions and innovations but are not adequately captured, as data from relevant Institutions do not meet up with the global best practices.
Barr Abdullahi said one of the major challenges facing Science, Technology and Innovation in developing countries like Nigeria was funding.
As part of efforts to change the narratives, he said that the government needs to invest more in research and development to spur and improve the livelihood of Nigerians.
Via enlightenment and sensitisation, he noted that the government is changing the orientation of its citizens to pay more attention to science for the rapid development of the country.
He said via the initiative Nigeria will become self-reliant and be respected by other nations all over the world.
Part of the roadmap according to him was developing development policy, at different phases including the National Science, Technology and Innovation 2017-2030.
Others are the National Strategy for Competitiveness in Raw Materials and Products Development, Presidential Executive Order 5, Leather and Leather Products Policy and Methanol Fuel Production Technology Policy.
He continued: “This plan as instituted by President Muhammadu Buhari is to use Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) as a catalyst to spur Nigeria’s economic growth and competitiveness.”
The Minister stressed that there is a deliberate attempt to promote lethargy towards ensuring students and pupils of both primary schools in the nation study science-related courses.
Consequently, he said the goal is to institute the spirit and desire to study science-related courses amongst students and pupils in the country, saying science is the foundation of which civilization was birthed.
He has through his recent clamour for increased involvement in science and technology propagated Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The goal is for youth empowerment, enlightenment as well as involvement in science-related disciplines.
To promote research study and academic study via STI in Nigeria, he said emphasis was also placed on building infrastructure and manpower to boost Nigeria’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) to rejuvenate consciousness of science subjects.
The Minister said part of the effort to sustain the government efforts was via the Youth STEM Innovation Competition that encourages science-related innovative drives across all secondary schools in the 774 local governments in the nation.
Also, he said the Ministry annually organises a science and technology expo, to encourage people who are technology-oriented to showcase what they have.
During the expo, he said the Ministry engage in matchmaking via linking investors and academia to remodel their idea for possible promotion and investment
“What we do during the expo is simply matchmaking, to encourage young scientists and innovators to be globally competitive. The essence is also to place Nigeria on the STI map.
“When the intellectual property organisation released the global innovation index. Nigeria was not in the first 130 most innovative nations in the world, also we were not in the first 10 in Sub-saharan Africa in the index. So our aim before the programme winds up is to be among the first 100 nations in the world and the first 10 nations in the region.
“We aim to move from our current position which is 145 to 99 or even 80. People think it is not achievable but we believe we can do better by ensuring that data are gathered,” he said.
He noted that his experience in the private and public sectors has made him blend to achieve results as an appointee.
“My message is for young Nigerians to leverage on the Presidential Standing Committee on Innovation and Invention to promote their ideas to generate income.
“We have grants to support them and their creativity and we have the National Board of Technology Incubation, which provides funds and infrastructure for people to pursue their creativity.
“We want the youths in the country to also take part in the expo coming up in March 2020. An exhibition of innovation by Nigerians in all fields of science and possibly get an investor,” he said.
He said a robust STI ecosystem will accommodate continuous system improvement, product quality enhancement and guaranteed standardisation of ‘Made-In-Nigeria’ goods and services.
Barr Abdullahi also noted that via STI Nigeria would experience irreversible indigenous industrialisation with an adequate platform for higher productivity.
Barr Abdullahi in Brief
Barr Abdullahi is a graduate of Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto with a combined Honours Degree in Law and was eventually called to the Nigerian Bar in 1991. He was born on 21st April, 1968 and hails from Uke in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
He started his Legal Career with Messrs Ola Olanipekun & Co. (Prime Chambers) as an Associate Attorney (1992 – 1994) shortly after his compulsory National Youth Service Corps Scheme (NYSC) with Messrs Ukpabi, Ukpabi & Co. (Legal Practitioners) in Enugu from 1991-1992.
As a seasoned professional, he has so far garnered experience in both the private and public sectors for over 30 years which includes being a founding partner in the law firm of Messrs Hammart & Co. (Tafida Chambers) from 1994 to date.
Amongst many appointments, Abdullahi was appointed the Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice, Nasarawa State between 2003 to 2005, Group Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp) from 2006 to 2008, Vice President/Executive (Administration & Regulatory, Intercell Tech Limited, 2008 to 2011. Then, he was re-appointed Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice – Nasarawa State, from 2011 to 2013 and later became Special Adviser on Special Duties where he superintended the Nasarawa State Government 30 Billion Bond Issuance Programme (1st Tranche) and also supervised the state’s investment portfolio.
Before he was appointed minister by President Muhammadu Buhari, he was the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) of Nasarawa State from 2017 to 2019. He is a member of both the Nigerian (NBA) and International Bar Associations (IBA).