By Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The federal government has shared N84 million amongst 11 tertiary institutions in the country for research development in various areas relating to mapping and evaluation of particular mineral deposits.
The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Abubakar Bawa Bwari, who on behalf of government, presented letters of participation for research development to representatives of some of the universities, said: “I am told that, this ministry will be giving out such assistance to universities for research purposes, but I can assure you that, this will certainly not be the last.
According to Bwari, “The N84 million that is been shared by 11 universities for research development in various areas, will no doubt increase the fountain of geoscience data available for investors.
“We also hope that it will impact on the students and lecturers that will be involved in the field work so that the quality of learning in our schools will continue to be improved upon. We have seen so many graduates of Geology and Mining who cannot identify basic mineral types.”
The minister, who lamented the lack adequate bankable data in the country, said: “As you know, without geoscience data, there can be no mining and Nigeria suffers from lack of adequate data, especially the kind of bankable data that major mining companies need in order to invest in the sector.”
He said: “Few months ago, we finally secured the electromagnetic data that had been in the hands of the contractor for about a decade. This has further made the Nigerian mining jurisdiction more attractive for investors who require as much information as they could get in order to make decisions.
“This administration has therefore made data generation, retrieval and storage a priority and has continued to invest hugely in this area. As our source of funding improves, we intend to continuously increase the amount of money we spend on this critical component of mining.”
Continuing, he said: “The universities that are here, won these grants on basis of the merits of their research proposals and potential value to the growth and development of the sector.
“In order to ensure professional probity, five eminent professors, including the former President of Nigeria Mining and Geoscience Society, Prof. Olugbenga Okunlola, evaluated the research methodology for the steering committee on research collaboration with Nigeria Tertiary Institutions.
With the signing of the 2018 budget, the second phase of this collaboration will commence soon. I therefore urge today’s recipients to stick to their terms of reference and ensure that they deliverÂ within six months,” the minister said.
In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Abdulkadir Muâ€™azu, noted that one of the key impediments to the development of the sector was the issue of talents and human
According to him, “We are also aware ofÂ knowledge gaps and there is need to do research, to invest the research, to know more so the sector can grow using it as one of the vehicle to diversify our calling.”
Similarly, Okunlola, described mining as knowledge based sector.
Â He said: “We got applications from about 15 universities in an open advert that was allowed to run for three weeks and the steering committee of eminent professors looked at the proposals one after the other without bias and those that were in relevance with the roadmap and agreeing with what we want to do in the sector and we came back and awarded marks.”