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Prof. Muhammad Yahuza-Bello of Bayero University, Kano (BUK), has urged government to increase research funding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to enhance national security.
Yahuza-Bello, a lecturer in the Department of Information Technology in the institution, gave the advice in a paper he presented on “The Role of Mathematics in National Security”, at the 57th Annual Conference of the Mathematical Association of Nigeria (MAN), on Tuesday, at Bayero University, Kano.
“There is the need for deliberate efforts by the country to invest heavily in mathematics, in particular, and in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), in general.
“This needs to be done at all levels, with a view to enhance our national security,” he said.
Yahuza-Bello, who was also the former Vice Chancellor of the university, said that success stories in the U.S and other countries did not happen by chance but ” was the result of efforts and investments started decades back and sustained since then.
“The National Security Agency (NSA) of that country, which was one of the largest employers of mathematicians, has a proud legacy of mathematical excellence,” he said.
He further pointed out that in 1996, NSA hired 60 mathematicians, out of which, 40 had PhDs, while it hired another 50 mathematicians in 1997 out of which 30 were PhD holders, to work with it.
The don also noted that the NSA also supports mathematical research, mathematicians and potential mathematicians at all levels of the educational system.
He applauded the efforts of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) for introducing a degree programme in Cybersecurity in the Nigerian university system, saying that the country’s security apparatus need to employ more specialists in mathematics and other core areas.
“Their job specifications should be the deployment of their expertise to ensure our national security.
“And when employed, the progress of such category of staff should not be linked to combat or field experiences and exposures, but to their professional services,” he said.
He explained that the country was facing serious security challenges, both internal and external, physical and non-physical.
“We need to urgently harness and utilize all available resources, including mathematics and mathematicians, to address those security problems. As we have a lot of ground to cover, the earlier we start, the better.
“We need to start, we need to accelerate vertically, in order to climb the very steep slope facing us,” he said.