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Engr. Onyekwere make waves, designs, fabricates automated covid-19 sanitising dispenser

*Seeks FG, Enugu State government’s patronage

What inspired him:
This is my 18 years of research and development on mechanism, automation, system control, machine design and building. I love solving problems using technical approach.

When this corona virus pandemic broke out, I took time to study the global trend around the pandemic and I concluded that if I could come up with manual-free soap, water, sanitizer dispenser, it will help a great deal in containing the virus and stop the spread. That was why I went into this project. Thank God, I was able to make it in the end. This machine compares with any other one manufactured anywhere in the world, both in terms of efficiency and durability.

Academic backgroud:
I hold Bachelor degree in Engineering, specialising in Metaurllurgical and Material Engineering. I m also a COREN registered Engineer, with 18 years post-graduation experience.

Sponsorship:
This has been a major problem. Here in the country, there are no sponsors of innovation or engineering discoveries.

Even to get grant to research into novel areas are hardly sponsored. Things are not the way they should be here in the country. Rather than secure sponsorship, budding engineers are frustrated and even threatened.

So, I looked at the possibilities and the figures being announced daily by the National Center for Diseases Control (NCDC) on covid-19 and I felt something must be done urgently, otherwise, the prediction that “corpses will litter the streets in Africa” will become reality. This is what motivated me to think out of the box, surmount all the frustrations and lack of sponsorship and took the bull by its horns.

I therefore sponsored the fabrication of this sanitising machime with my own meagre resources since I know it will work.

Daunting task:
As I told you earlier, I love facing challenges and I love to solve problems, create employment, reduce poverty and increase access to economic empowerment.

My little company, Tags Tools Manufacturing Company was registered in 2013. We are into industrial, environmental, agricultural and household equipment, designing, fabrication and manufacturing, in order to actualize our dreams. For this effort, we went into partnership with Tontanna Engineering Services . We designed, fabricated and produced the product for the company for commercialisation. We will also design and fabricate all the necessary machine to enhance productivity as our aim is to continue production even after COVID-19.

But if Tontanna Engineering is unable to foot the bill, we shall not relent, but will continue in our search for other companies or individuals to make contacts and build partnerships with.

People have been asking me if I had met our state Governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. I must state unequivocally that I did not make any attempt to see the governor. But I hope to do so when I discuss with Tontanna Engineering group even though I am the Managing Director.

The reason is that I don’t want to sound desperate or see the governor to start sponsoring me from the scratch. I had intention of getting somewhere so that if he asks me questions, I will be able to demonstrate practically, what I am doing. Now that I have got to this level, I shall seek to meet the Governor. And I am using this opportunity to plead with those who have the governor’s ears to kindly link me up with him because I have a lot of ideas I can sell to him, which will help promote business and technology in out state, the country and entire world.

My story starts here, but let me not forget to say this in case you have access to pass the message to them. I have the capacity to create not less than 10,000 jobs within or in less than five years. I am challenging government and want them to disproe me.

In 2009 or there about, I discussed with ESWAMA (Enugu State Waste Management Authority) to carry out contract on refurbishing their Dumpsters. The deal was secured and jobs well done. A new management came and I told them to stop the importation of Dumpsters, that they should partner with me because I have proven track record that I have the knowledge of designing and building all the components, including the pressing system for extrusion for mass production and commercialisation to other states. I told them that all the materials for construction will be sourced locally within Nigeria, and that what I need is to set up a Machine Shop comparable with the one at the IMT’s Industrial Workshop. I told them that my time of completion is between 6-9 months and they should simply tell me which component to start with first.

I was disappointed because they said I am not capable of doing what I told them without concrete proof to try me, but they wanted to create jobs and increase the state government’s economy.

I am still saying it I want this government to challenge my claims. I shall take off all the foreign exchange being spent importing Dumpsters. I will reduce the costs and if given the opportunity, I will apply several engineers and technicians who are roaming the streets at the moment.

To drive my claim home, I went into the fabrication and construction of automated machines for mass production of shovels and spades; automated machines for stamping of metal sheets for production of doors; automated machines for cutting and sealing of shopping and waste bags of any length.

I am ready to mentor our young people in the technology, if government provides good platform as the objective is to transfer and to hasten technological growth.

With benefit of hindsight, I have discovered that several people are not good in reading and understanding, but want to learn if you can teach them especially things concern technology and empowerment; that is to say, technical education.

We want to help government to eliminate poverty and create Jobs by using local technological transfer. All our effort to discuss the idea with government have been in vain all along. But I believe that governor will develop interest if he reads about this my home-grown innovation in fighting covid-19.

Aside issues of covid-19, last week, we finished building an automated felt and washer making machine for roofing sheets. We are now fine tunning and adjusting the machine for mass production of roofing sheets which they travel abroad to import the technology.

Set back:
They are too numerous to mention. But let me say that I encountered serious setbacks when I submitted a proposal to His Excellency, our Governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and our Deputy Governor, Her Excellency, Lolo Cecilia Ezeilo, on how to use Technical Approach to solve problems of farmers/herders crashes in Enugu State on 19/09/2019.

I have gradually been researching on how to resolve the problems of farmers/herders clashes in Nigeria, and intensive research took me four good years and it provided good answer for me which I am going to tell you.

In the course of my research, I discovered that palm and cassava silage will be used in feeding both diary and beef cow and other related ruminants.

Palm silage is made by grinding dried palm fronds as base material for feed making, mix with rice bran, palm kernel cake, wheat grinds, molasses, sweet patotes or any other organic material, as the case may be. I know how to to build grinders that can crush palm fronds for feed and sugar cane for molasses. Cassava silage, crush dried cassava sticks, and leaves and augment it with other nutritional items and vitamins good for all ruminants.

The experiment was performed by me and they were eaten by all cows and goats I presented them to. The good thing about it is that it will create unlimited jobs. Palm oil will increase in production when you cut out fronds for feed making; palm wine increase, value added chain. It is like invented triangle.

With this, you can go to the market and buy your cow feed and put your cows in a ranch and feed them with those items and thus completely eliminating herders/frmers clashes.

I wrote a reminder for the demonstration to Her Excellency, but no response till this moment, I am making this report. I am still telling government that if given the opportunity, within nine months, I will design and build machines that will convert palm fronds to feeds, crush sugar canes and extract juice for molasses.

Frustrations at the Federal Level:
I did not have any contact with the Minister of Science and Technology or PRODA. But I may make an attempt and explain other ideas if I have the opportunity. I did not discuss with them as a result of fears that since I couldn’t succeed at the state level, that one will be a tall dream, but I will do so soonest.

My Inspirations:
I always wanted to be an Engineer. It is my dream. I was inspired by our grand father, the late Ozor (Engr.) Luke Mmamel. When he was alive, he built several engineering items which have remained eye opener for several of us and we drew inspiration from him.

Research and development is my hobby. I have acquired enough knowledge to know the things I can and cannot do. I don’t waste my time and money on things I don’t know how to do or say I can do something I don’t know how to do, unless if am researching on the subject matter.
Another Iroko that galvanised my zeal is Ozor (Prof.) Chiweyite Ejike, former Vice-Chancellor of ASUTECH. He is my mentor. He made me what I am today.

These are the personalities that believe so much in human capital development and they impacted so much on me as a young man, and up till now. I look up to them, because they attacked the zenith of their careers and have left indelible footprints. I will ever remain indebted to them.

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