Monday, September 27, 2010

Nigeria applies for membership of IAEA

27 September, 2010
Samuel Ogidan

NIGERIA has applied for the membership of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The position is expected to strengthen the nation’s quest for nuclear technology.

The country’s strong interest in the esteemed board is informed by the need to further advance the primary objective of applying nuclear technology to peaceful purposes, which for most developing countries, including Nigeria, has become more critical now than ever before.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Mohammed Abubakar, said this at the 54th regular session of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) general conference, held in Vienna, Australia.

Abubakar disclosed that Nigeria’s intention to occupy the seat vacated by the fellow West African state of Burkina Faso in the board, adding that as a current member of the Security Council, Nigeria is determined to present a strong voice for Africa on issues of particular interest to the continent.

According to him, “it is worthy of note that Nigeria has played a pre-eminent role in the conception, negotiation, adoption and entry into force of the Treaty of Pelindaba on African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone.”

The minister commended the efforts of the agency for its sustained commitment to ensure stiff resistance to attempts at proliferation of nuclear materials for weapons purposes, as this would ultimately be one of the key bases for enthronement of international peace and security.

Abubakar reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to the basic tenets of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Pelindaba Treaty on African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone which entered into force in July last year.

He re-emphasised the point that the country’s nascent science and technology programmes are purely for peaceful purposes, and are aimed at enhancing the living standards of Nigeria people.

According to him, “Nigeria fully understands that the successful implementation of its nuclear power programme is hinged on the availability of adequate and qualified manpower. Consequently, we are committed to building the requisite human capacity, and in this respect have established two additional nuclear energy training centres with the mandate to provide essential professional education in nuclear science and engineering”.

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