John Ade Ajayi, professor of mineral and metallurgical engineering at Akure FUTA Federal University of Technology, has lamented that Nigeria has not been able to use its abundant mineral resources to create sustainable wealth and drive real development that impacts people. Ade Ajayi made the presentation while delivering the 146th inaugural lecture of the Institution with the title: “Rich Nation, Poor People! The king of metals as a paradigm: Quo Vadis Nigeria? on January 10, 2023.
He said that Nigeria is blessed with a large amount of non-ferrous minerals, including copper ores, capable of contributing enormously to the Gross Domestic Product, the country’s GDP. However, he lamented that, despite abundant mineral resources, there is hardly any serious mining capable of turning Nigeria into an industrialized nation. According to him, “there is not a single functional and sustainable mine, mill or metal extraction plant in Nigeria. The National Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe, Mine and Mill are not really operational for now. The only tin smelting plant in Nigeria, Makeri Smelting Company, Jos has gone to the dustbin of history. What prevails is artisanal mining and ‘processing’ and quarrying. “He described the operations of artisanal miners as ‘unscientific, non-technical, uneconomical, unsafe, unhealthy and harmful to the environment’.
Professor Ade Ajayi said there is an urgent need for the government to lead the drive to chart a new direction for the sustainable development of mineral resources that will bring economic prosperity to Nigeria through the right policies. He said that the economic development of any nation depends considerably on its level of industrial development and this, in turn, invariably depends on the level of mineral exploration and manufacturing activities in the national economy. He said a concerted effort must therefore be made to revive industries and establish factories working across the mineral and metals value chain in Nigeria to improve the quality of life for its people.
He said the importance of iron and steel production in the national economy like Nigeria cannot be overstated as it is now recognized that a nation that controls iron and steel controls the world. To this end, it recommended that a Council for the Nigerian Institution of Mining and Metallurgy (CNIMM) be established in accordance with international best practices to ensure the sustainable production of non-ferrous metals required for the production of ferroalloys and different types of alloys. .
Ade Ajayi, Nigeria’s first professor of mineral and metallurgical engineering, said that in order to sustainably produce mineral and metal products for use by society, Nigeria’s mining, minerals and metals (3M) industries must have links viable with academic institutions. and research institutes. He said that 3M industries should produce goods and services for the society, thereby generating employment, creating wealth and engendering national economic development. The Don called for a clear convergence point between inventors and investments in Nigeria, such as science and technology parks for startups.
It recommended that FUTA, as the best technological university in Nigeria, be declared a center of excellence in mining engineering, mineral processing technology and extractive metallurgical engineering. According to him, there is a need to transform Nigerian universities from the current intellectual amnesia to the intellectual revolution.
Ade Ajayi advised that enhancing skills and training should become the hallmarks of the country’s policy makers, saying: “Funds used to travel and seek international investors can be used for training and research. In the national interest, we must reorder our priorities.”
Vice Chancellor Professor Adenike Oladiji said in her speech that Professor Ade Ajayi has been a consistent productive academic, metallurgical engineering expert and educational administrator par excellence. She said that Professor Ajayi had contributed significantly to her knowledge in her chosen area of mineral and metallurgical engineering.