By Kingsley Adegboye
Against the backdrop of the persisting problem of environmental degradation caused by non-biodegradable materials used for food packaging, the Federal Government and operators in the oil and gas sub-sector have been urged to take advantage of the abundant polymer materials in the country to produce products that are environmentally friendly.
This call came from engineers last week at the annual lecture, life achievement awards and induction of new fellows organised by the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, NAE. The lecture focused on “Engineering Opportunities and Challenges Related to Producing a Broad Range of Polymer Products from Oil and Gas” .
The guest lecturer, Professor Willis Harmon Ray of the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Wisconsin in the United States of America noted that there were great opportunities to produce large quantities of a broader range of valuable polymers in Nigeria that would expand the domestic market, significantly reduce imports, and offer materials for the export market.
He posited that despite the abundance of polymer materials in Nigeria, the country is currently spending over $1 billion on the importation of polymer into the nation. The former University don who was represented by Professor by Babatunde Ogunnaike, the interim Dean, College of Engineering, University of Delaware, USA declared: “there are well-regarded and successful polymer production processes available for license that could be installed in Nigeria to take advantage of the large volumes of inexpensive oil, gas, and refined products available locally.
“Creating and expanding the production of polymers would allow the expansion of the domestic polymer processing industry to provide more varieties and larger volumes of polymer consumer products for both domestic use and export. Nigerians must embrace the production of polymer materials”, Ray noted.
Earlier in his address, NAE’s president, Professor Ayodele Francis Ogunye said polymer production was becoming more relevant to the advancement of various sub-sectors of the nation’s economy. He therefore urged the federal government and stakeholders in the oil and gas industry to utilize the abundant benefits in polymer production to the country’s advantage.
The Academy honoured three of its elders with life achievement awards while 12 new members were inducted into the exalted class of fellows. Those honoured with life achievement awards include Engr.(professors) Gabriel Ayodele Makanjuola, Sikiru Adebayo Sanni and Engr.Guy Eboe Otobo.
Those new fellows include former governor of Abia State and Chairmen, All Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP Engr. (Dr.) Ogbonnaya Onu, Engr. (Prof.) Michael Oladimeji Faborode, Engr. (Prof.) Joseph Atubokiki Ajienka, Engr. (Prof.) Joseph Olawole Shojobi, Engr. (Prof.) Lawson Olabosipo Asekoya and Engr. Yusuf Olanrewaju Sagaya.
Others are Engr. (Prof.) Joseph Olorunfemi Ojo, Engr. (Prof.) Adetokunbo Omokayode Denloye, Engr. (Dr.)Kisito Okpere, Engr. (Prof.) FunsoFalade and Engr. Jani Ibrahim.