By Ayo Ajayi
Nigerian governments at all levels have been charged to demonstrate direct support for research and development that promote innovation and growth of Chemical Engineering sector. They are also charged to demonstrate direct support for education and training in the same industry.
The charge came from the past president of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers, Engr. Onochie Anyaoku while delivering his paper at a public lecture last weekend.
The lecture titled, “Chemical Engineering Practice in Nigeria: The Imperative of New Paradigm” was organized by the Lagos/Ogun Chapter of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers to mark the 92nd birthday of its Fellow, Engr. Anthony Olufemi Shobo.
Onochie noted that government should be the major market for research products from the country’s research institutions.
“Government must fund research, provide market and be a major market for our research and development products from our institutions and universities,” he said.
The guest speaker also called for the government’s support for both local and international competitiveness through investment in supporting infrastructures, and reduction of the cost of logistics, distribution and exportation. Other steps, according to him include tax incentives; free trade zones; and access to funding, such as venture capitals and public-private partnerships.
Onochie also charged his colleagues to strive to lead the industrialization of Nigeria as he decried the current status of the country, where almost all engineering solutions are imported, leading to what he called the multi-dimensional poverty of 133 million citizens. ‘A clear sign of social crisis,’ he added.
“Nigeria must work hard and fast to develop competitive manufacturing and services export capacity to reverse the slide. Domestication of engineering knowledge, skills and capacity must be treated as a national security challenge. The solution should be based on a clear National Vision anchored on a robust and comprehensive strategic multiyear development plan to build a productive economy,” he warned.
Engineering solutions, particularly chemical engineering, according to him, are central towards achieving sustainable growth and development.
Chemical engineering practice, he said, has therefore had to radically evolve to begin to address the challenges in industrial growth and manufacturing; energy production and management; environmental protection and sustainability; food and agricultural sector; water resource management; as well as health and pharmaceutical industries amongst others.
In his address, the chairman of the event, Engr. Babajide Soyode appreciated everyone for making the society forge ahead for the past 24 years despite not being given a chance at the inception.
The Chapter Chairman, Engr. K. F. K. Oyedeko also appreciated his colleagues, particularly, the celebrant. He prayed that God would give him many more years of good health.
The event which was virtual, was attended by past and current leaders of the society, as well as members.