Opinion

Nigeria and her fathomless endowments

Nigeria as a nation is obviously richly blessed with fathomless natural resources, but regrettably, these endowments have hitherto been neglected by the leaders. Several of Nigeria’s endowments have overtime been kept in abeyance by the concerned authorities. This practice of ours does not augur well for the country’s economy in its entirety.

In view of the above assertion, it has ostensibly become compelling for Nigeria as a country to look inwards towards discovering her overall natural endowments, which are found all over, with a view to exploring them for a better and greater nationhood.

Some of the common natural resources on earth are land, water, sunlight, atmosphere, wind, coupled with animal life and vegetation. A natural resource may exist as a separate entity like fresh water and air as well as a living organism such as fish, or it might exist in an alternate form, which must be processed to obtain the required resource to include petroleum, metal, ores, and most forms of energy.

It’s noteworthy that some, including air and sunlight, can be found everywhere, and are known as ‘ubiquitous resources’. Whilst, most resources only occur in restricted areas, and are referred to as ‘localized resources’.

There are very few resources that are considered inexhaustible – these are solar radiation, geothermal energy, and air, though access to pure air may not be possible. The vast majority of resources are theoretically exhaustible, which means they have a finite quantity and can be depleted if improperly managed; a good example of this is petroleum. Such finite resources required a sound policy and regulation, to be implemented by the concerned government, towards their preservation.

It’s pertinent to acknowledge that every man-made product consists of one or two natural resources. Suffice it to say that everything required or used by mankind constitute of, at least, a natural resource. In most cases, some of these resources such as air and water, are directly utilized or consumed by man without processing them. The above outlined phenomenon proves beyond doubts that humankind cannot survive or strive successfully, as the case may be, without natural resources.

This assertion is not unconnected with the reason every rational government makes frantic effort toward adequate use and preservation of the natural resources found within its country. In Nigeria, hundreds of natural endowments abound, in which each state including Abuja is a beneficiary.

Some of these resources are petroleum, tantalite, lead, zinc, glass-sand, copper, gemstone, crystal, oil/gas, bitumen, phosphate, gold, coal, clay, salt, gypsum, iron-ore, uranium, and limestone, in addition to sunlight, wind, land, water, vegetation and air whose occurrence are ubiquitous in nature.

Some of the aforementioned substances can enable any country to massively embark on agriculture, and attain to any desired height. Nigeria does not possess just land, but a well fertile one that can produce crops in any quantity and quality as desired by the consumers. Her vegetation and atmosphere is equally invariably good enough to raise every kind of animal life, including wildlife.

Though crop and livestock farming used to be the talk of the day in the Nigerian society, it’s sad to note that overtime such lucrative occupation is being relegated to the background owing to over-reliance on mono-resource, petroleum. It’s really high time we as a people desisted from this irritating high level of dependency that has eaten deep into our socio-economic bone marrow.

This is the reason it is desirable to applaud the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration that’s obviously poised to treat agriculture and allied occupation as priorities. But the truth remains that a lot of efforts needs to be deployed for the needful to be done. Proper utilization of clay alone can take the country’s tourism industry, that’s presently moribund, to enviable heights.

Same is applicable to the use of other similar compounds or metals that are in abundance across the federation, to include uranium, limestone, graphite, and gold. In the same vein, it is really disheartening that an essential mineral resource like coal has, over the decades, been swept under the carpet; coal can be used to produce energy, both in the form of heat and electricity.

It’s mind-boggling to hear that a country like Nigeria that can boast of abundant sunlight, wind and what have you, is still battling on how to generate steady and reliable electricity, whilst countries like U.S. blessed with just limited amount of the resources, are experiencing uninterruptible power supply.

Away from energy; it could be observed that our forest reserves that can produce enough timber for importation, are currently wearing a pathetic physiognomy as a result of docile or outdated policies on the part of the governments at all levels. Indeed, Nigeria is densely endowed with various lucrative natural resources, but it’s very sad that various relevant governments are not doing enough as regards the adequate use and conservation of the resources. Hence, this calls for drastic turnaround via deployment of genuine political will.

Now that the sale of oil and gas is no longer booming compared to the past scenario, it’s high time we retraced our steps toward ensuring that each of the available resources is thoroughly explored for the needed economic emancipation. Crude oil ought to equally be regularly renewed.

We can clean used oil by using pretty conventional refinery technologies. The first step is vacuum distillation, which dewaters the oil. Then, we do wiped-film evaporation; this essentially separates out all the contaminants and additives inherent in it. Finally, it would go through a hydro-treating process, which infuses hydrogen back into the hydrogen molecules and makes it very high quality re-refined oil.

This routine can be sustained via a sound policy, hence the need for the government to concentrate only on the needful. The government actually needs to ensure adequate conservation and sustenance of these natural resources, through implementation of strict and viable policies cum laws, and their proper enforcement. Most of these policies such as Land Use and Forests Reserve Acts, which were duly upheld or enforced in the past by the relevant law enforcement agencies, are presently abused or overlooked in various quarters. We need to urgently revive them, make apt amends where need be, as well as introduce new ones toward attaining a greater nationhood.

The actual point remains that the current quest by the Buhari-led government to face science and technology squarely, shall remain a mirage if we fail to walk the talk at all cost. It suffices to say that it’s time we jettisoned any form of retrogressive approach, which would pose a severe threat to our tech-driven intents. This is obviously indeed the moment to hold the bull by the horn if truly we as a people are sincere about the ongoing crusade on diversification. Think about it!

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