The establishment of the Agricultural Equipment and Machinery Development Institute in Cross River State has been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The president gave the approval following a request by Governor Ben Ayade for the institute to be sited the state (for the South-South geo-political zone).
Ayade this week received the letter of approval from the Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Professor M.S Haruna, in Calabar.
According to Prof. Haruna, the choice of the state followed a rigorous evaluation of states in the South-South zone, along with other parameters.
He said the products of Ayade’s achievements stood tall, hence, the decision to site that zonal office here in Calabar.
“We are here to officially communicate to you that President Muhammadu Buhari has granted your request and approved the zonal Agricultural Equipment and Machinery Development Institute to be sited in Cross River State.
“President Buhari approved six of these institutes for each of the geopolitical zones and I am happy to announce to you that, that of the south-south is to be located in Cross River.
“The effort and achievements of Governor Ben Ayade have continued to resonate all over the country and this was what informed President Buhari’s choice of Cross River as the South-South zonal office.”
To ensure food security and sufficiency in Nigeria, Haruna noted that there was a need to embrace research and technology.
In response, Governor Ayade lauded President Buhari for the approval, stating that Cross River was best suited for the institute.
He said, “NASENI is the way for us to go because as a nation, there is no way you can progress without good research in science and engineering.
“There is no way, even if we are copying technology, the way China started which is reverse engineering where you import something, deconstruct it, and now fabricate yours and even that process requires the backing of science and engineering research.
“As far as a nation depends on another for agricultural equipment, for ammunition, for food, for drugs, then you are a slavish nation, you are a subhuman nation and that is what is seen in Nigeria today and that is the narrative Professor Haruna is trying to change.”
Ayade also praised Haruna, stating that the NASENI CEO has distinguished himself internationally and brought back that experience to add value to Cross River’s science and research.
The governor further directed the State Commissioner for Lands to immediately make land available for the institute.
He also announced the provision of accommodation and vehicle to NASENI to fast-track the establishment of the institute.