By Obas Esiedesa
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu on Friday said chemical industries are critical to the industrialization process of Nigeria, and challenged technologists working in the sector to up their game.
Onu who spoke in Zaria, Kaduna State, while inspecting the Methanol Fuel Technology Production plant of the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT), urged the staff of the institute to intensify its efforts in its research endeavors so that Nigeria can have a vibrant and sustainable chemical industry that would be the catalyst for the nation’s industrialization process.
A statement by the Ministry’s Head, Press and Public Relations, Mr. Abdulganiyu Aminu said Onu commended NARICT for its efforts on methanol fuel production.
The Minister noted that methanol fuel production will boost the economy of the nation in many areas, such as transportation, creation of wealth, poverty eradication, environmental health, power generation and growth of Gross National Product (GDP).
He further said methanol fuel is cleaner, cheaper and could also be used in industries to produce feedstocks and other chemicals. He said the institute is critical to the efforts intended to move 100 million Nigerians out of poverty as promised by Mr. President.
In his response, the Director-General of NARICT Prof. Jeffrey Barnimas said the institute had made tremendous efforts in Methanol Fuel Technology. He explained that with her fuel testing laboratory, the institute had researched on biomass and natural gas with a view to producing methanol to meet the needs of the nation in all ramifications.
He assured the Minister that the institute will not rest on its oars in its bid to achieve the needed results.
In a related development, Dr. Onu who also inspected facility at the National Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research (NITR) in Kaduna, said the Federal Government would to redouble its effort towards the eradication of tsetse flies so as to ensure food security for the nation.
According to him, “For Nigeria to provide livestock to meet the protein needs of the people, tsetse fly eradication is quite important”.
NITR has an important role to play in ending the herdsmen/farmers clashes by helping to eradicate the menace of tsetse flies, thereby assisting the herdsmen to get settled in one place to tend their livestock. He therefore urged NITR to intensify its research on tsetse fly eradication, adding that the president is determined to bring to an end the incessant clashes.
Dr. Onu further said that the institute should get prepared to expand its mandate to include the war against malaria parasites, which affects all countries in Africa. He explained that the institute is well placed to beam its research light on eradication of the mosquitoes which is the prime cause of Malaria in Africa.
Earlier, the Director General of NITR Dr. Augustine Igwe, in his remark said the institute intends to build new laboratory structures, as the ones in use were built during the colonial era.
He added that the institute was also trying to introduce certain innovations enabling it deploy laboratories to the areas were tsetse flies were prevalent.