From LAYI OLANREWAJU, Ilorin
A Professor of Industrial Chemistry at the University of Ilorin, Baba Alafara, has urged the Federal Government and other stakeholders to swiftly put machinery in motion towards reviving many indigenous steel plants and allied industries to boost the country’s economy and create employment opportunities for the nation’s teeming unemployed and underemployed youths.
Prof. Alafara, who gave this advice last at the weekend while delivering the 198th Inaugural Lecture of the University, also advocated the prioritisation and use of locally sourced refined mineral and material resources by industries in the country to save a significant proportion of her hard-earned foreign exchange.
In the Lecture, entitled “Sustainable National Development: Mineral and Material Resources to the Rescue “, the don said that the suggestions became ripe following the increasing downturn in the global economy, which was precipitated by Corona virus pandemic that had taken the entire global community by storm since December, 2019.Pointing out that there are incontrovertible evidences, which point to the fact that Nigeria-sourced mineral resources have high economic value, the don lamented that such materials have not been effectively utilised.
The scholar also advanced the call for more synergies among the industry, concerned academic departments and laboratories as well as research agencies towards exploring the vast mineral potentials of the country, saying that the development of a roadmap that will promote linkage between research and industry should be put in place for what he called “the optimized translational and transformational value chain transmission”.
Prof. Alafara, who is also the immediate past Head of the Department of Industrial Chemistry, University of Ilorin, specifically urged the government at all levels to put in more efforts towards the implementation of its waste-to-wealth initiatives to facilitate industrial growth, reduce poverty and promote environmental sustainability. On the challenges facing researchers in Nigeria. Alafara urged the government and well-to-do individuals to support the research initiatives of indigenous scholars.
He said that there is nothing their colleagues in the advanced world do that they cannot do provided the means of doing so were available. To launch the nation into the comity of industrial nations, Prof. Alafara appealed to government and all stakeholders to promote the utilisation of raw materials and manufactured goods instead of imported ones.
The academician also appealed to the government to address the poor infrastructural situations in various tertiary institutions of learning for them to produce skillful professionals who will help in harnessing the nation’s vast mineral resources.