Federal Government has been advised to establish research centres or laboratories for advanced research in basic and applied sciences in each of the six geo-political zones of the country.
Delivering 138th inaugural lecture of the University of Ilorin at the weekend, titled, Catalysis and Chemical Industry Development: a fruitful wedlock, a professor of Chemistry, Ezekiel Odebunmi, said Nigeria’s poor industrial base is responsible for importation of lots of consumable goods.
“Nigeria with a population of 160 million, imports consumable goods like refined petroleum products, food, drugs, pharmaceuticals, among other. By comparison, the Republic of South Africa, another developing country with a population of 52 million, has a much more developed industrial sector. Nigeria is a major oil producing country in the world, while South Africa is not. What makes the difference between the two countries is the development of their industrial sector which is facilitated by application of catalysis for their industrial production”, he said.
The university don, who said the research centres to be established should be adequately equipped and funded, added that scientists and technologists in such centres should be given proper training to compete with similar centres anywhere in the world.
The professor of Chemistry, who lamented that there are no factories producing Chemistry equipment and consumable items needed for teaching and training, the situation which he said had made Chemistry to be capital intensive, added that funding of Department of Chemistry at all levels across the country should be drastically increased.
He also recommended that agencies such as the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), National Mathematical Centre (NMC), National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), like their counterparts in developed world, should be restructured to ensure that research becomes a major mandate for each of them, adding that the FG should increase research funds to the agencies.
He also advised that industries and companies operating in the country be made to have a research and development unit in Nigeria, adding that government agencies should monitor their activities and enforce compliance.
“The industries and companies should be given tax relief as an encouragement and be made to publish their research output annually”, he said.