The Senate on Friday rejected a fresh legislative move that will empower the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to be in total control of the Nigerian Building Research Institute.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, stated this at a public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, Chaired by Senator Lilian Uche Ekwunife (PDP Anambra Central).
The public hearing was on three proposed legislation which is the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute Establishment bill; National Energy Sustainable Development Bill and the National Research and Innovation Control Establishment bill.
Lawan who was represented by the Deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Boroffice (APC Ondo North) on the occasion, said it would be unfair to bring back NIBRI under the control of the Ministry.
He said, “I (Boroffice) joined the Ministry of Science and Technology in 2008 and I was the Chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology from 2011 to 2019.
“I understand the anatomy of science and technology. The agency had been freed from the armpit of the ministry.
“One of the bills we are considering today is trying to bring it back to the ministry.
“It is unfair to bring the agency back under the total control of the Ministry.
“The agency should be allowed to play their roles without the control. We are talking about innovation. How can we get innovation if the agency is not free.?
“The ministry should be formulating policies. We are going to oppose any attempt to return the agency to the Ministry.
“The Director-General of the agency should also be challenged on the aspect of monitoring and supervision.
“You are not involved in the control of construction. It is only when there is a case of building collapse that NIBRI would be called upon.”
Lawan also tackled the agency in charge of development control by accusing its officials of inefficiency.
He said: “The development control agency. I am sorry, I don’t think I support what you guys are doing.
“Your men only go-to site and collect money. You don’t do any thorough work and I am going to take it up with you at the right time.
“You are supposed to go to the site and take control. Your people only go there to collect money. Quote me. My name is Boroffice.
“I have a project I am executing and that is what the development control agency go there to do.
“We should allow the agencies to develop and carry out their mandate in the interest of Nigeria”