24th May, 2012
Scholars, administrators and eminent academics gathered at the Federal Polytechnic, Offa Kwara State, recently for the third engineering conference of the Polytechnic with the theme, “Technological enhancement towards national security: The engineering intervention”.
The Rector of the Polytechnic, Dr. Mufutau Olatunde Olatinwo, in his address urged experts to examine the need for the nation to encourage scientists and engineers to specialise in areas essential for our national security. “It is obvious now that we need to demonstrate advanced capabilities in areas of intelligence gathering. This very vital security area requires competencies in systems engineering, information technology and security, communications and networking as well as signal processing among others”.
Dr. Olatinwo opined that relevant areas of engineering could also be deployed to conduct research and come up with fabrications and tools that could help in surveillance, reconnaissance and communications systems.
The Rector reasoned that since the level of poverty in the country also contributes to the level of insecurity, engineering could be deployed to stem poverty by coming up with appropriate technology suitable for employment generation.
“The need for appropriate technology has been supported by international agencies and professional groups as needed by developing countries like Nigeria. Recently, the Engineers Without Boarders in United States (EWB-USA) after conducting a field study asserted that there is an urgent need for appropriate technologies specific to the developing world. Such appropriate technology must necessarily be characterised by some features that make them useful and usable by communities in developing nations. These include the technologies being small-scale, energy-efficient, environmentally sound, labour-intensive, and simple enough to be maintained by the people who use them. I believe that such technology that could be deployed in areas like agriculture, small-scale industries, arts and craft, food processing would go a long way in reducing poverty in the land,” he stated.
The chairman of the conference and former Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, (FUT) Minna, Professor Sulaiman Adeyemi, observed that in the last two decades, countries around the world have been using security at various levels of sophistication to detect, control, combat, monitor and reduce crime and terrorism.
“The experience, so far, is that science and technology have proved so handy and effective in combating crime and terrorism in many countries,” he said.
The lead paper presenter at the conference, Dr. John Manukaji of Federal Polytechnic, Bida, contended that specific technologies like small robots tactical intelligence gathering could be used.
“There is also the need to invest in nonlethal weapons to address these issues. Such weapons are useful to incapacitate personnel or material, while minimizing fatalities. They are useful in a situation where the state requires catching the terrorists alive to trace the terror network,” he stated.