Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
A total of 11 tertiary institutions in the country have benefitted from the federal government research grant of N84 million meant for research and development in the areas of geo-sciences.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Abubakar Bawa Bwari who presented letters of participation for research and development, recently to representatives of some of the universities on behalf of the government , said the move will go a long way in enhancing the fountain of knowledge of geo-science data available for investors, adding that such assistance to the institutions will not be the last.
“We hope that it will impact the students and lecturers that will be involved in the fieldwork so that the quality of learning in our schools will be improved upon. We have seen so many graduates of Geology and Mining who cannot identify basic mineral types.”
The minister, who lamented the of lack adequate bankable data in the country, said, “As you know, without geo-science 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.
“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 requires as much information as they could get 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.”
Bwari said the universities won the grants based on 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, Professor Olugbenga Okunlola, evaluated the research methodology for the steering committee on research collaboration with Nigeria tertiary institutions.
While appealing to the recipients to stick to their terms of reference and ensure that they deliver within six months, the minister said, “with the signing of the 2018 budget, the second phase of this collaboration will commence soon.”
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Abdulkadir Mu’azu, noted that one of the key impediments to the development of the sector is the issue of talents and human resources saying, “We are also aware of knowledge gaps and there is need to do research and invest in it, as well as seek knowledge so that the sector can grow using it as one of the vehicle to diversify our calling.”
Similarly, the President of the Committee on Research collaboration with Nigeria tertiary institutions, Professor Olugbenga Okunlola described mining as knowledge based sector.
“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 another without bias and we awarded marks to those that were relevant with the roadmap and agreeing with what we want to do in the sector, ” he said