The Society of Testing Laboratory Analysts of Nigeria (SOTLAN), has warned Nigerians that there are a thousand and one contaminants that are capable of wrecking more havoc than COVID-19 pandemic.
Making this known in Lagos at a briefing to announce its 2021 conference, which will be held at OSTRA Hotels and Halls beginning from September 14, the president of the body, Dr Femi Oyediran, said that it was unfortunate that these contaminants were being neglected in this part of the world though found in every environment across Nigeria.
He raised the alarm that dioxins and furans, snipers, phosphine, chemicals of different toxicity and hazard were being handled carelessly and sold in the open and unregulated markets. He disclosed that biohazards from lots of facilities and the environment are areas that the analysts would be confronted with in the the near future.
“Analysis of such substances cannot be done in the traditional way as results are needed in a speedy manner; more robust, time-saving equipment and devices, and, in fact, sensors and robots may be necessary to test such substances.
“Are Nigerian analysts prepared for the opportunities ahead? Yes. Are they properly equipped to handle such, is the question that we shall be answering during our interactions in the coming days when the 2021 conference of public analysts is held,” he said.
Speaking on the theme of the programme, “Analytical Testing Laboratories in Post-COVID-19 Era: Realities and Opportunities”, Oyediran stated that experts, including foreign partners would be discussing the theme with a view of proffering efficient practices that Post-COVID-19 era would bring.
He said that the pandemic exposed Nigeria’s inadequacy in the areas of testing facilities and procedures, especially when large number of samples were to be tested.
According to him, public analysts are key stakeholders in ensuring continued existence of humanity, sustained trade and enterprise.
He advised: “To be competitive, we need to upgrade our services by ensuring that our laboratories have required recognition, which include registration with IPAN and ISO 17025 accreditation. We also need to certify our analysts for continued service delivery.
“Though we are in a very harsh environment due to the non-appreciation of the preventive services rendered by our members, very expensive working tools – laboratory equipment and chemicals, poor or near zero equipment maintenance, low patronage by the public and corporate organisations due to our attitude to quality infrastructure I. Nigeria, it has become imperative for us to key into the opportunities that the pandemic presents despite daunting challenges.
“We need to invest more in modern equipment that could help us deliver quality services seamlessly within a very short period of time.”
The president announced that during the conference, there would be essay competition for students from different schools that is aimed at catching them young.
“In addition, we shall undertake a three-day laboratory fair, which is first of its kind, to bring together stakeholders in the laboratory sector including students, equipment suppliers, laboratory manufacturers, regulatory agencies under the same roof,” Oyediran said.