There was a mild drama at the Senate on Monday 8 June 2020 when the Director-General of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Professor Hussain Ibrahim, said the development of Kilishi technology was its major breakthrough since the agency’s creation 33-years-ago.
Ibrahim, who appeared before the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, caused a stir when he said the Kilishi technology was the only major breakthrough it had successfully developed for commercial use.
Kilishi is a locally spiced roasted meat made of beef, and it is very popular in the northern part of Nigeria.
The Chairman of the Senate panel, Senator Uche Ekwunife, had asked the DG to tell Nigerians what specific raw material the agency had successfully produced in the country.
Ekwunife said, “Just give us the synopsis of what you have developed or generated for local industries. Tell us about your breakthrough.”
Ibrahim told the panel that despite its lack of laboratory, the 33-year-old agency had succeeded in producing the local meat delicacy for commercial production.
He said, “We have developed two varieties of Sorghum. We collaborated with agricultural research institutes, pharmaceutical industries because we produce ethanol from it and that is the basic raw material for the production of sanitizers.
“In our 30 years of research activities, we are still the largest research institute. But to be candid with you, we are making progress.
“For now, we have developed a technology to optimise Kilishi production. Research activities take time.”
His submission led to a burst of prolonged laughter from the audience but drew the anger of the lawmakers.
A member of the panel, Senator Clifford Ordia said, “Is this the success story that you are going to tell us after 33 years?
“You have not been able to have your own raw materials done. This agency is just wasting our money.”
The DG, while defending his claims said, “We don’t have a laboratory. We use laboratories existing in Nigeria”
Other members of the Senate committee wondered why the agency had not saved the nation from spending a huge amount of dollars on a yearly basis on the importation of goods that could be produced locally.
The chairman of the committee insisted that the agency must leave up to its billings as far as core mandate is concerned.
She added that the agency must appear before the committee on its expenditure as contained in the 2018 and 2019 budgets.