A professor of chemistry at the University of Ilorin, Baba Abdullahi Alafara, has canvased for the use of locally sourced refined mineral and materials by industrialists to enable our country save her hard-earned foreign exchange, saying the country has potentials to refine crude oil with local materials.
Alafara, who is of the Department of Industrial Chemistry, Faculty of Physical Sciences, recommended this recently while delivering the 198th inaugural lecture of the University, entitled “Sustainable National Development: Mineral and Material Resources to the Rescue” held at the University auditorium.
He said, “When local and secondary raw materials are fully tapped, it will stem the importation of refined products, improve the economy, reduce unemployment and poverty, as well as sustain the industrial growth and development.
“This becomes pertinent with the economic downturn in the world’s economy following COVID-19 Pandemic. By this measure, income earned from this can be used to complement those derived from petroleum exploration which could be used to cushion the effect of the economic meltdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chemist noted that no nation could develop without research and genuine innovations, just as he called on government to as a matter of urgency address poor infrastructure in various tertiary institutions, provide substantial funds for cutting edge research and support indigenous researchers.
The inaugural lecturer equally recommended that the Ministry of Mines and Solid Meneral Development and other critical stakeholders should form alliance with Hydrometalurgy and Mineral Processing Research Unit of the Ministry across the country to promote and find researches in science and technology.
Alafara, while lamenting over the dependency of Nigeria on other countries to source raw materials that could be generated within the country if properly harnessed, explained that minerals with specific values on earth are God-created materials with distinct properties that make their uses differ from each other.
“Nigeria is naturally endowed with different mineral resources and is one of the richest countries of the World as far as mineral resources are concerned. Government should put more effort into the implementation of its ‘waste-to-wealth’ initiative to facilitate industrial growth and promote environmental sustainability,” he added.