During his address at the passing out parade of the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, commended the West Afrikan country's army for position itself as a hub for innovation. Osinbajo was delivering the address on behalf of Nigeria's President, Muhammadu Buhari.
The parade was held to mark the graduation for the 64 Regular Course and 65 Regular Course of the Navy and Air Force, and the Short Service Course 44 of the Army respectively. As part of his address Osinbajo walked those in attendance through a brief history of relationship between science and the military as he also explained the origins of the Internet.
"Five decades on, the Internet has turned out to be perhaps the most definitive invention in the history of mankind, creating unprecedented social, economic and political opportunity. The American military has also been credited with the invention of GPS- Global Positioning System (GPS) now so common that every smartphone and cars use it to ascertain location. But this network of satellites was originally set up by the U.S. Department of Defense in the 1970s. President Ronald Reagan ordered GPS to be made available to civilians once it was completed, while President Bill Clinton later declared that the highest quality GPS signal should be available as well," said Osinbajo.
Nigeria has had its fare share of battles trying to firght cybercrime. The Nigerian government introduced the Nigerian Cybercrimes Bill - which has since become law — on 15 May, 2015, as one of the measures to fight cybercrime. The law provides for the prohibition, prevention, detection, response, investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes; and for other related matters. Added to this law, earlier in 2017 Nigeria's National Information Technology Agency (NITDA) announced its plans to establish a National Cyber Security Research Center (CSRC).
"The use of Unmanned Aerial devices or drones today for surveillance, photography (and in Rwanda), the delivery of blood to rural medical facilities originated from the development of the devices by the military in the early 20th Century. The world I have just described is the one that today’s cadets are graduating into. Placed side-by-side with this contemporary context, the Cold War Era into which your predecessors – today’s Generals and Commanding Officers – graduated, almost feels like a model of orderliness and predictability," said Osinbajo.
He further expressed his pleasure that the NDA has been positioning itself as a hub for innovation.
"I am already aware of inventions such as an Automated Pop-Up Target System, a Multi-Purpose Combat Mobile Robot, and a Perimeter Surveillance Robot, which the NDA has showcased at various science and technology exhibitions in the recent past. This is laudable and I urge you to sustain the culture," said Osinbajo.
He did also note the importance of collaboration, as he had earlier illustrated with examples of the U.S. Army, of the NDA collaborating with the private sector for research and innovation.
"All around the country technology hubs are springing up that are attracting our Nigeria’s brightest talent, and breaking new technological ground. I am convinced that the military should make its presence felt in this area," said Osinbajo as he urged the NDA to start working closely with technology and innovation hubs around Nigeria.