By Joe Adedeji, Ilorin
Nigeria’s ailing economy can be revived if it’s abundant solid mineral deposit is explored, stakeholders in the sector have said.
This was the resolution of scholars and professionals in mining and associated disciplines at the 18th Nigerian International Materials Congress (NIMACON) held at the University of Ilorin.
The scholars held that exploring the solid minerals a meaningful way of addressing the nation’s depressed economy considering the decreasing demands for crude oil in the international market.
The congress was jointly organised by the Materials Science and Technology Society of Nigeria (MSN), the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) and the University of Ilorin with the theme “Sourcing and Management of Materials Resources for Sustainable Economic Diversification.”
Declaring the congress open, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, said it was high time Nigeria gave the exploration and exploitation of the nation’s huge solid minerals serious concern.
This, according to him was in view of the decreasing dependence on crude oil by the nation’s hitherto customers, particularly the advanced nations at the global oil market.
Prof. Abdulkareem, who was represented by the Provost, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Prof. Timothy Olarewaju Adedoyin, said it was very apparent that “one day, Nigerian oil will dry up and if not, it would become irrelevant”.
The Vice Chancellor said in view of this reality, Nigeria must begin to diversify its economic base in the interest of the present and future generations of the people.
He stated that the University of Ilorin had faced the reality long-ago by establishing relevant and well-manned academic Departments and resourced research outfits to assist in the generation of much-needed manpower and material wherewithal.
This was done in the field of Materials Science and Technology urging the government not to waste further time in encouraging organised large-scale mining of solid mineral resources the nation is blessed with.
In his lead presentation, the Director-General/Chief Executive of the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences, Jos, Prof. S. B. Hassan, stressed the need for Nigeria to seriously explore and exploit her vast natural resources to stimulate its economic growth.
Prof. Hassan pointed out that Nigeria’s over dependence on oil in the last six decades accounted for its slow development, saying that the discovery of the crude oil in commercial quantity in the late 1950s led to the abandonment of the exploration of solid minerals.
He also posited that very soon, oil and gas would be of no use, adding that little revenue would at the time be generated from the oil sector in view of the increasing technological innovations being recorded in the advanced countries.
Pathetically he said, this would lead to low demands for oil in the next few years while solid mineral materials exploration which stated in 1902 would remain neglected and the nation becoming poor.
Prof. Hassan noted that there was hardly any Local Government Area or State across the country that does not sit on high grade but untapped solid mineral deposit.
His words; “as at the last count, the nation has no fewer than 44 known mineral resources and that, if and when fully exploited, can provide 5 million jobs and generate between 3 and 6% GDP and about $27 Billion revenue by the year 2025”.
Pix:Director-General/Chief Executive of the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geo-sciences, Jos, Prof. S. B. Hassan