About five years ago, I visited the Brazilian Barracoon in Badagry, Lagos Nigeria and I learnt about the life of Seriki Williams Abass, a Nigerian slave trader who himself was once a slave.
Like the significance of the National War Museum, Umuahia in Abia State in telling the story of the Nigerian Civil War, the importance of museums cannot be ruled out in our society.
Museums are a good source of knowledge while also serving as an avenue to preserve and promote heritage. Nigeria, and Africa by extension, place a great value on its heritage and this is obvious in the number of museums on the continent.
However, there are only a handful of Science and Technology Museums on the continent. One is located in Pretoria, South Africa, there’s the Museum of Science and Technology (MST), Accra. There’s also one in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Nigeria is yet to join the league of nations with a science and technology Museum.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu in September, 2017 affirmed the readiness of the government to build a science and technology museum in the country.
This was coming after an earlier announcement, in 2016, to establish a science and technology museum in every geopolitical zone of the country.
Two years after making the initial commitment, the possibility of getting a National Science and Technology Museum is not in sight.
And like the national carrier project that was ‘suspended’ recently, despite receiving ₦1.45 billion in 3 years, the science and technology museum has been getting fund allocations for the past three years as well.
In the 2016 appropriation act, the ‘Establishment of Science and Technology Museum/Science and Technology Innovation Consultative Fora’ got ₦211,599,685.
Subsequently, in 2017, ₦103,245,285 was allocated to ‘Establishment of Science and Technology Museum.’
And it also resurfaced in 2018 as ‘Establishment of Science and Technology Museum/Science, Technology and Innovation Consultative FORA’ as an ongoing project with an allocation of ₦100,545,285.
In three years, the museum project has been allocated ₦415,390,255 in total. The line item of the project in the 2018 budget carries the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) code — ERGP6108649.
The ERGP 2017 – 2020 has focused implementation at the core of its delivery strategy with a promise of strong political determination, commitment and will at the highest level. Worthy of note is that the two items about the national carrier in the 2018 budget both carried the ERGP codes.
The question that begs an answer is, when should Nigeria be looking forward to having a science and technology museum, considering the project is part of the recovery growth plan?