Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
Rufus Ebegba, the Director General, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Thursday lamented that communication gap between scientific findings, public opinions and attitudes could threaten new technological innovations in the country.
He stressed that there is a problem with how certain innovations are perceived in Nigeria, adding that among certain portions of the general public, there is mistrust and even fear of science and technology.
Ebegba disclosed this in Abuja while presenting a paper on “Science, Technology and Modern Society: Role of Communication in Promoting Sustainable Livelihood,” at the launching of Science Cafe by JSDI in collaboration with Connected Development.
He noted that mistrust and fear of science and technology could become a serious problem especially when it begins to influence how quickly a technology is adopted to solve local problems and drive national development.
Accordingly to him, “there are many possible explanations for this. Some argue that there is a communication gap between scientists and society owing to the inability of some scientists to communicate in plain language. Others have said that public ignorance and misunderstanding is to blame for this negative attitude.”
Ebegba stated: “The controversy surrounding modern biotechnology, GMOs and biosafety in particular, is an example of how the gap between scientific findings and public opinions and attitudes can threaten new technological innovations.
“Issues like these are precisely why good scientific communication is important. The media is a powerful tool which we must use to take Nigeria from being a net consumer of the products of scientific innovations to being pioneer in various scientific and technological fields.”
“communicating science is a vital ingredient for development. Safe science is a foundation for national development and if this foundation is not properly communicated, the nation may not reap the desired benefits,” Ebegba warned.
Earlier, the National Coordinator, JSDI, Michael Etta said Science and technology is a key pivotal to human growth, but lamented that in this part of the world that people resist science and technology in many read due to lack of understanding.
Against this background, he noted that the science cafe was launched to serve as a platform for stakeholders to deliberate, enlighten the people and bridge the communication gap in science and technology.