The Nigerian government has expressed its firm determination to continuously support local initiatives to improve the nation’s oil and gas industry.
Chief Ogbonaya Onu, the Minister of Science and Technology made this known in Samaru, Zaria, Kaduna State while inspecting the mini refinery project of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
He said that Nigeria had relied on the three refineries built between the 1960s and 1980s by foreigners, and this was now the time to look inwards for alternative ideas.
“But I am so happy to be here for a number of reasons; the most important is that we must develop our own technology. Nigeria must develop its technology to enable us build an economy that is based on knowledge as well as innovation driven”.
The minister, however, expressed happiness that from what was on ground in ABU, though, a small scale refinery, Nigeria had come of age.
“But you have to start small and increase to a greater level, I am highly impressed. I have just spoken with the Director General and Chief Executive, Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC). Of course, he assured me that all materials were developed and fabricated here in Nigeria; and I am so glad to hear that,” he said.
The minister, who lauded ABU for the gigantic stride, charged the university not to relent in its research and development initiatives.
He noted that once the project was accomplished, it would greatly assist in teaching students both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
“Once you understand how to refine the crude oil, then you will extend it to so many other things. Many people do not even know that palm oil can also be refined into many other fractions; many very valuable products that are needed in the pharmaceutical industry and other sectors of the economy,” Onu said.
The minister praised the RMRDC for the support given to ABU towards the project and pledged the Federal Government’s commitment to the realisation of its success.