The reconstituted Advisory Board of Nigeria Prize for Science will re-position science for better impact on living standards in Nigeria, the Managing Director of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, Babs Omotowa, has said.
Omotowa made the statement in Lagos on Friday during the inauguration of the Advisory Board.
He said the board would reposition the Nigeria Prize for Science as the leading science prize in Africa.
He said the board was reconstituted based on a decision reached at a Stakeholders Forum in 2013.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the five-member board is headed by Prof. Alfred Susu, the first winner in 2004 and fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science.
Other members are Prof. Michael Adikwu, winner in 2006 and Vice-Chancellor, University of Abuja; and Prof. Elijah Mshelia, a nuclear physicist and fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science.
Also on the board are Prof. Barth Nnaji, a renowned scientist and former Minister of Power; and Chief Nike Akande, Industrialist and President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The NLNG boss said Nigeria Prize for Science was inaugurated alongside Nigeria Prize for Literature in 2004 and later registered as a charity.
Omotowa said at take-off, the prize was administered by the Nigerian Academy of Science and started with the prize money of $20,000.
He said: ”The prize money currently stands at $100,000 after three reviews in 2006, 2007 and 2011.
”Science and events revolving around it are usually not big attractions.
“Yet any country that wishes to develop must support and appreciate science and scientists.
”Nigeria LNG Limited believes that greater recognition and support for science will provide leaders with answers to crucial national issues.
”This will bring about improvements in our living standards and can only be beneficial to us if it is supported to play vital roles in the society.
”Inspired by this, NLNG instituted the Nigeria Prize for Science as a significant science prize, widely seen as a first step on the road to recovery for science, as it serves both as a celebration of science and scientists.
”I believe we have become stronger in our resolve to support science education and research in the country through the prize in line with NLNG’s vision of helping to build a better Nigeria.”
Omotowa said NLNG was committed to work with the new board to build on past successes.
The Chairman of the board, Susu, said the attempt to ensure diversity by selecting an array of academics and industry professionals was quite germane.
Susu said the board was committed to ensuring that the administration of the prize was fair and credible.
According to him, every entry will be given equal consideration, irrespective of the background of the person or persons involved.
“The only criteria for winning shall be based only on excellence and this will be the philosophy during our tenure,” he said.
The Nigeria Prize for Science is one of NLNG’s programmes to contribute to the development of science in Nigeria.
NLNG is owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Shell Gas BV, SGBV, Total LNG Nigeria Limited and Eni International.