Waliu Olukayode Adeolu,the national president, Nigerian Association for Engineering Geology (NAEGE), has pointed out that deliberate and consistent implementation of policies by the federal government would boost Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and Foreign Exchange (Forex) in the Nigerian mining sector.
Adeolu who doubles as the CEO, Geophase Resources Ltd, lamented that the mining industry, despite its immense contributions to employment, revenue generation, and foreign exchange earnings, is struggling to reach its full potential.
Adeolu in an interview monitored by Business a.m,noted that the government has failed to prioritise the mining sector, despite its obvious economic benefits. He said that while there have been some policy initiatives in recent years, they have not been consistent or well-coordinated, which has led to lack of investor confidence. He called on the government to develop a long- term strategy, and to provide more support for the mining industry.
“The inconsistency that comes with government policy in the last 15 to 20 years has not been encouraging. Nigeria alone has over 46 solid minerals that are of economic value, not just to Nigeria, but to the entire Africa. The liberation of Nigerian economic strength as regards to solid minerals would have been a liberation to the whole of Africa, and when policies are not consistent with this kind of development, then we will always have issues,’’ Adeolu said.
The Geophase Resources CEO noted that the undocumented mining practices in Nigeria are depriving the country of its economic potential. In addition, he pointed out that the inconsistency of government policies has hindered the progress of the geosciences and mining sectors. He explained that this inconsistency has created an uncertain environment for businesses, making it difficult for them to plan and invest in the long term.
“So, if you ask me again how has the geoscience world fared within the last two decades, I’m afraid not so well. The potentials are commensurate, but the growth is not rapid as it should be. So, if you ask me, I’m saying we can do better, but one thing that is more critical is policy consistency such that investors are able to come into this country, help us develop mines at economic quantities, under a strategic control by the relevant agencies of government that are in control of this,’’ he said.
Adeolu also stressed the indispensable role of geoscientists in protecting the lives of humans, preserving the environment against the harmful effects of climate change and mitigating building collapses in Nigeria.
Speaking on the various ways scientists can help in mitigating building collapses in Nigeria, he noted that engineering geologists and geotechnics provide the information of the subsurface before construction activities are done to have a good understanding of the area and determine the durability of the place where a structure would be set up, which he referred to as pre-construction investigation.
Adeolu emphasised the importance of pre-construction investigation, as it provides valuable information for structural engineers and architects to design and build safe and productive structures. He explained that geologists and geotechnicians are able to provide information about the sub-surface, even in challenging environments such as water bodies. This, he said, enables engineers and architects to design structures that are safe, efficient, and built to last.
Adeolu warned that if the government does not take deliberate steps to prevent building collapses in Nigeria, the country will continue to experience such tragedies. He strongly opposed the idea of monetising the agencies responsible for approving buildings, as he believes this would only increase the number of building collapses. Instead, he called for the strengthening of these agencies, as well as the establishment of clear guidelines and standards for construction projects.
Adeolu further disclosed that his company, GEOPHASE, will be launching an app called “Build On The Go,” which will allow users to manage and monitor construction projects from anywhere in the world.
The NAEGE national president also emphasised the need to take action to protect the environment from the harmful effects of climate change. He implored Nigerians to be aware of their actions and how they impact the environment. He pointed out that small changes, such as the use of environmentally friendly materials and practices, can have a significant impact on mitigating the effects of climate change.
According to Adeolu,one way for the government to promote a more eco-friendly environment is to build more concrete roads instead of asphalt roads. He explained that the carbon footprint of concrete roads is lower than that of asphalt roads, as concrete is more durable and requires less maintenance over time. He also pointed out that concrete roads have lower life cycle costs and can absorb and filter rain.
“In terms of cost, it is even very good, although at the moment it is very expensive, but the average lifespan of a well constructed concrete road is about 40 years. While the average lifespan of an asphalt road is about 10 to 15 years, if you look at it, it is more like “penny wise, pound foolish” doing an asphalt road,’’ he added.
Adeolu, therefore encouraged the Ministry of Environment and works to listen more to the relevant professionals who have solutions to mining and geoscience-related problems. He emphasised that the relevant professional bodies are knowledge-based and can offer informed recommendations based on expertise, rather than emotional or political impulses.