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DELSU Don, Professor Adaikpoh Wants Geological Resources Harnessed For Nigeria’s Growth

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By Ben Nwanne

The place of the Geologist in creating and sustaining wealth for the nation came under focus Thursday, June 21, 2022, at the Delta State University, Abraka, where a notable Geologist, Professor Edwin Adaikpoh made a robust case for the harnessing of geological resources for national development.

Professor Adaikpoh, a Sedimentologist who was speaking at the 91st in the series of Inaugural lectures of the Delta State University, Abraka under the title “Creating and Sustaining the Wealth of the Nation: Can we Steer Focus to include Self-sustenance for Geologists? drew attention to the enormous mineral resources available in the country but regretted that they had remained untapped.

According to the Professor who turns 66 on April 30, 2022, “apart from oil and gas, Nigeria is endowed with over 44 mineral types occurring in commercial quantities in over 500 locations across the country… We have industrial minerals such as kaolin, barite, feldspar, gypsum and limestone. We have energy minerals such as bitumen, lignite and uranium. We also have metallic ore minerals such as gold, columbite and cassiterite, iron ore, lead, zinc and copper. There are construction materials such as granite, gravel, laterite and sand. We also have precious stones varieties such as sapphire, tourmaline, emerald, topaz, amethyst and garnet”.

Professor Adaikpoh, noted that although Nigeria was endowed with a wide spectrum of minerals which offered limitless opportunities for exploitation, job creation, revenue, growth and economic development, ironically, most of the geologists, trained to source for this national wealth are unemployed and hungry. Given that many persons are not quite familiar with the term Geology, Prof. Adaikpoh defined the subject as the “scientific study of the earth, its composition, it processes and the forces that act upon it. It is a broad subject that covers very specific aspects, from glaciers and volcanoes, to gemstones and energy resources, to changing land formulations and mass extinctions.”

The well-travelled Professor took a look at education in Nigeria and concluded that the sector had suffered a huge setback, as a result of poor funding, lack of sufficient interest in education by students and issues connected with “research misconduct”.

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Besides the general problem bedevelling education in Nigeria, Prof. Adaikpoh pinpointed some peculiar shortfalls in the case of Geology to include, but not limited, to the short duration of field work (which is crucial in the programme), lack of security in the field as a result heightened national insecurity, wrong timing of students industrial work experience scheme, very low number of specialized lecturers in core Geology courses and lack of an adaptive curriculum which discourages initiative and flexibility.

Professor Adaikpoh believes that in repositioning Geologists for a better future, they must not limit themselves in the search of employment to government-owned and large-scale multinational establishments, insisting that they should work towards self-employment or form partnerships with their colleagues by setting up small scale industries.

He noted that ground water sourcing, as a small-scale or self-employable business was very common in Nigeria, but added that it was dominated by non-professionals. In order to enhance Geology education in the country, he recommended that the funding of tertiary education should be taken seriously, while encouraging multinational companies to set up endowment fund, specifically for field training, while ensuring that curriculum for Geology programmes must be adaptive, steered to produce graduates who can face the global challenges, among others.

Decorating the Inaugural lecturer with the University Distinguished Honorary Medal, the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Andy Ogochukwu Egwunyenga noted that the Inaugural lecturer had brought the problem faced by Geologists to the fore and documented it for posterity.

Prof. Egwunyenga who has been providing an enlightened and committed leadership to DELSU in the past 30 months regretted that the country was not prepared to manage its resources, hence others are managing it, stressing that “we should apply our resources in solving the country’s problems.”

He agreed with the Inaugural lecturer that the 28 days for field work for Geology students was inadequate, but observed that admission into the programme in the Department had been declining in recent years.

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