I want to start by, on behalf of the Council, welcome all of us to Lafia, Nassarawa State on the occasion of our 41st Annual General Meeting, the first AGM since this Council was elected. I want to particularly thank God Almighty for granting each one a safe trip here, despite the bad roads, general insecurity in our country and difficult economic times which the nation is passing through. I am convinced that God will reward us all for the sacrifices done and ensure we return back to our families safe and in peace.
The Council wishes to thank all our members who attended the 40th Annual Conference at Minna where this Council was elected to serve you. As we move on, we want to reiterate the pledge we made to serve you dutifully, transparently and with the zeal we indicated.
During the course of the almost one year we have been on saddle as your servants, we have made some modest progress which I will highlight briefly and also mention some of our targets, moving forward.
As you all know, the Institute’s website, www.nipng.org was at best at a static level and it was the view of our members that there is an urgent need for a body like NIP to have a virile interactive and updated website which should link us properly to the world, especially the science and technology world which we belong. This Council on assumption immediately approached the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), which has the pedigree of having developed similar sites for our sister bodies. to design and develop a new website for the Institute. The new NIP website is now functional and has the address www.nipngn.org. As soon as INTERSWICH completes the processes of aiding online payments, members will be able to carry out online and real time major activities such as (1) membership registration (2) Printing of Membership Certificates (3) Payment of Annual Dues (4) Payment for Journal publications) (5) Sending of articles for publication in the Nigerian Journal of Physics (NJP) (6) Tracking of status of sent articles for publication (7) Payments for re-print of journal published papers (8) Reviewing of Articles and other others. We believe this will place us on the global tract and reduce the present difficulty our members and even some Council positions are having meeting the expectations of our members.
NATIONAL PHYSICS CENTRE (NPC):
The last Council under the leadership of Prof. DI Malgwi, FNIP worked very hard and was able to secure for the NIP a 2-Acre land along the Airport road Abuja within the University of Abuja. However, NIP was not able to survey the land, mark out its boundaries etc due to high cost of doing all that. I want to inform the AGM that, as I speak, this Council has been able to get the survey done and have clearly marked, beaconed and have fortified our boundaries with other structures being built at the area. We therefore now have a clear picture of the land that was given to NIP thereby translating what was merely on paper to a reality. As soon as funds are available the villagers, who traditionally own the land before it was acquired by the Federal Government, will be settled financially and work can commence on the NIP property.
A proposal for a full launching for funds to carry out both perimeter fencing and actual development of the property is proposed by Council. We intend to assemble our re-known members/Fellows who will constitute a LAUNCHING COMMITTEE. To this Effect, some of our colleagues and elders have been approached and are willing to serve in the committee. Thus we are suggesting names like Prof. SB Elegba (former DG, NNRA), Dr. Olu Agunloye (former Minister of the Federal Republic), Prof. SP Mallam (Chairman, NAEC), Prof. LA Dim (DG, NNRA), Prof VU Chukwuma (OOU), Prof. MS Liman (VC, FU, Lafia), Prof. I. Farai (UI), Prof. M. Hassan (UNIMAID), Dr FE Osaisai (Former Chairman, NAEC), Prof AH Agba (BSU), Prof. PN Okeke (UNN), Prof. EE Okwueze (UNICAL), Prof Abu Mallam (UNIABUJA), Prof. DI Malgwi (UNIMAID-Immediate Past President, NIP), Prof I Owate (UNIPORT), Prof MO Oni (Vice President, NIP) and Dr NN Abdulsalam (UNIABUJA to serve as Secretary). Since we are targeting billions of Naira here, members who are connected or have link to big time business people/organizations or who feel they can serve in this proposed committee and make a big difference are welcomed to join or suggest names that should be included in the committee.
NIP REGISTRATION WITH CAC:
I had last year briefed the 40th AGM on the progress done about our registration. Since coming on board, this Council has made concerted efforts to ensure that the process is concluded. The right officials at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) are now cooperating with our lawyer and it is our fervent hope that very very soon we shall receive the good news.
THE NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICS (NJP):
At this conference one edition of the NJP has been published and is out. Council has been in deep discussions as to how to publish at least two or more issues in year and at, if possible, free of publication charges. The TETFUND was approached to meet its traditional funding for the journal but we are yet to get a favorable response. Before funding is secured members will have to continue to bear the charges as stipulated by the editorial team. Also, as earlier explained, the difficulty prospective authors get in getting their papers published will be greatly reduced as soon as the journal publication process goes fully online.
Council is proposing having two Journal Titles for the NJP starting from the next publication i.e. Nigerian Journal of Applied Physics (NJAP) and Nigerian Journal of Theoretical and Environmental Physics (NJTEP), to take care of our various our sections/areas of research interest with better focus. The Editor-in Chief and the Deputy Editor will still superintend and will work with Sub-Editors, to be appointed, to ensure quick peer review of articles, which, this time around, will all be done online along global best practices.
Of recent, some of our members have made good suggestions through their contributions on our Telegram platform. I want to assure you that these suggestions will be considered as the best is what we should all be aiming at achieving.
The NIP has further re-established its links with the Institute of Physics (IOP), UK. I have written to them about hosting of our Journal and also participating in their key activities and them too coming over to be involved in some of the things we do. This is receiving their attention.
The Council wrote a letter to the present Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) for a courtesy/working visit. The aim is to be able to get government attention and also to present our views about the Science and Technology Policy of government. We hope to also advance our grounds on appointing physicists to head Departments and Agencies of government which are largely physics bias but are presently being occupied by persons of other disciples. The letter to the SGF has not been replied to but we shall follow it up and hope to get an audience with him.
We visited the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), where their erstwhile Ag Director General Dr AM Umar, was awarded Fellowship of the NIP. The organization, in its wisdom, appointed NIP Adviser to it. This we appreciate.
The Council hopes to embark on courtesy and advocacy visits to other key Ministries and Agencies before the next conference. Such agencies are the Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission and the Nigerian Space Research and Development Agency, Ministry of Science and Technology, TETFUND, Mobil Producing Unlimited and MTN Nigeria. To this effect, I call on our members who work in these organizations or have links to them to kindly let us know so as to assist facilitate appointments with their heads. The aim is to open up acceptability of NIP and funding drive.
The Constitution of NIP stipulates that NIP should have State Chapters. It is the reason why a Chapter Liaison Officer (CLO) was incorporated into the NIP Council, a decision that was ratified at the 2014 Uyo Conference. The immense progress being made by other sister associations are traceable to big contributions by their Local/State chapters. Since the past several years, calls have always been made at AGMs for members to come together and form State Chapters but this has not yielded any result except for Kaduna, Benue and probably Cross River State Chapters. The once vibrant Kaduna State Chapter has recently gone quiet.
When this Council came on board, I made a passionate appeal to Council members to spear head the formation of chapters in their various states of operations and I am happy to announce that Ogun and Lagos State Chapters has been now been formed and are active. I want to specially recognize and appreciate the doggedness of Dr Joseph Coker (NIP’s Financial Secretary) who, by dint of hard work, not only coordinated and added stimulus to the formation of these chapters, but went ahead to organize a very successful first ever one day Seminar of the NIP Ogun State Chapter. The formation of the Lagos State was similarly coordinated/supervised and initiated by Dr Abiodun Okedeye (NIP’s Publicity Secretary) who swung into action shortly after witnessing the events of the Ogun State Chapter’s one day seminar. On behalf of the Council and all of us, I once more thank the duo for this immense contribution for the progress of NIP. I look forward to the establishment of several other State Chapters before the next NIP conference. I request the CLO, Prof Anthony Ekine to immediately take up the crucial task of nursing these chapters to full maturity.
MIDYEAR NIP ACTIVITIES:
The constitution of NIP permits NIP to hold activities midyear apart from the Annual Conferences. To this effect, members or Chapters are encouraged to organized activities both at regional, sub-regional and national levels in the form of seminars, workshops, colloquium, physics quiz, physics exhibitions etc after obtaining clearance from the Council through the CLO. NIP Certificates of Attendance/Participation/Presentation can always be given for such events so as to encourage members to add to their CVs. Recently one of our old members turned engineer, Engr Musa Daji Abdullahi, did a wonderful presentation via a one day seminar with the topic “Challenging Einstein’s Theory of Relativity on Mass, Energy and Radiation” at Kaduna Polytechnic which attracted dignitaries such as the Representative of the Minister of Science and Technology, DG, NSRDA, Executive Secretary, TETFUND, DG, NARICT, Vice Chancellors HODS of Physics Departments in the neibouring institutions, physicists and directors of key physics centers. I was privileged to be invited to anchor the program. That epoch scientific presentation, in which the paper was tagged controversial, ought to have been made at a national colloquium with the “right” audience. I look forward to seeing key physics related agencies like NNRA, NAEC, ECN, SHESTCO, NSRDA etc take up the challenge to host NIP in a midyear event, especially on their recent findings while carrying out their key mandates.
Members have drawn our attention to certain aspects of our constitution that requires either amendments or added clauses to certain sections. One major area being canvassed is a review of the process of voting and fixing criteria for members wanting to vie for certain offices. It is my hope that the amendments will be presented to members for ratification at the next AGM.
The NIP has had very difficult moments of losing some of its founding members and others. Some notable cases are that of Prof Awele Maduemezia, Prof A.I.I Ette, Prof. I.Y Zakari (ABU, Zaria), Dr Hamisu Maiunguwa (BU, Kano) and Wife of Prof Michael Onuu. The Council was able to either send representatives or mobilize members to attend the internment of these loved ones. Late Prof Ette is however yet to be buried. Just when I was putting this report together, the news of the sudden death, through an auto crash, of Dr Muhammad Abdulrahman Enagi of ATBU was broken to me. I need to quickly add here that there might be other deaths not mentioned here because such was not brought to the attention of the Council. As we observe a minute silence of their behalf, may the souls of these departed giants of physics rest in perfect peace.
Some NIP members were recently elevated or received recognition. These include Prof M. Abdulazeez, now the DVC (Adm) ATBU, Prof EE Udensi, now DVC (Adm), FUT, Minna. Others are; Prof Akpan Ndem Ikot of University of Portharcourt who received Certificate of Award for Reviewing for top Physics Journals from IOP Publishing, UK. Prof Theresa Nkechi Obiekezie, of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, appointed Hon Commissioner, Tertiary and Science Education, Anambra State; Professor Levi Nwankwo, formerly of the University of Ilorin, now Provost, College of Education, Open and Distance Learning, Kampala University, Uganda. There may be others but not reported to Council. We congratulate them and wish them well.
On coming to office, the present Council was handed a little above Three Million Naira. As has always been explained, the reason for why NIP keeps grappling will little financial resources is because, as at today, NIP does NOT receive grants or donations or any other source of money from anywhere other than from membership dues/payments and returns from LOC after our Annual Conferences. Some conferences have even turned out negative returns where Council was expected to refund to LOC ‘excess’ expenses incurred.
All the already achieved projects, earlier mentioned, including transportation (air fares and land transport) of Council members to their meetings were expended from this meager amount. As promised at the time we took office, this Council will provide detail account of all its finances next year when it is completing its tenure.
The Financial Secretary is already mapping out some strategies on how to boost the finances of NIP. However, as this is being thought out, I appeal to our members to kindly have a sense of patriotic duties to NIP by regularly paying up their Annual Dues. I implore our members heading some of the agencies of government to please make a special case for NIP to their boards for yearly subvention to NIP. In the alternative they could award some projects on yearly basis to NIP to execute where funds can be made for the upkeep of the Institute. I believe this is achievable. Some of our sister associations are exploring this mode for funding their associations.
Finally, let me seize this opportunity to welcome our newly inducted members to the Nigeria physics family. We hope to see you grow in our midst and very soon you will be entrusted with areas of service as some of us are presently doing. To our new Fellows and even the old Fellows, please know that you owe the Institute your advice, finances and time at all times. We welcome your constructive criticisms and interventions as we pilot the affairs of the Institute.
In conclusion, I call on members who are not yet on our Telegram platform to quickly download the application and be added so that they partake in all the discussions and exchange of information and read news and get updated about the happenings across physics family in the various states and regions of Nigeria and abroad.
May God see us through this 41st Annual Conference and beyond.
Thank you all.
ADDRESS BY PROFESSOR HYCIENTH OGBU ABOH, FNIP, PRESIDENT, NIGERIAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS (NIP) ON THE OCCASION OF THE 41ST ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (AGM) OF NIP AT FEDERAL UNIVERSITY, LAFIA, TUESDAY, 9TH OCTOBER, 2018