ABUJA- A Nanotechnology Research Group (NANO+), had urged the Vice President-elect, Sen. Kashim Shettima to ensure that Nanotechnology, emerging technologies took the centre stage of development in the incoming administration.
Prof. Agbaje Lateef, Head of the research group domiciled in Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Oyo State, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
Lateef said that Shettima, during the political campaigns had been captured making promises that if voted to power, the incoming administration would drive development deploying emerging technologies and nanotechnology.
He also said that if Nigeria could leverage on Nanotechnology and Nanomaterials, the country would save money from capital flight.
Lateef, however, regretted that Nanotechnology practice in the country lacked a policy to drive development in that sector.
“We will continue to interface with the government because the major constraint we have is lack of policy to drive Nanotechnology.
“We hope that the government can expedite action because at individual and research group levels, we have done our bit.
“We have put the country on the map of Nanotechnology but to galvanise all these efforts and make it useful for us as a country, we need a policy.
“We hope that Shettima fulfills part of his campaign promises by driving technology sector through AI, robotics, emerging technology, Nanotechnology because these are driving economies around the world,’’ he said.
The expert recalled research by another Nanotechnology group which focused on producing food sensors, adding that Nigeria produced foods whereby some were being destroyed by micro-organisms.
According to Lateef, the micro-organisms when they grow on foods, secrete toxic materials particularly micro-toxins which are deadly, adding,”because they affect the central nervous system and they kill.
“Even when they don’t lead to death, there can be chronic toxicity and all of these have contributed to high incidences of cancer.
“Consuming such contaminated food overtime tend to affect the kidney, the liver and cause cancer of those organs.
“To enhance food safety it will be necessary for us to have real-time sensors to test for toxins that could be present on food materials and in what quantity.
“Nigeria loses a lot of agricultural products at the international market because of the poor quality.”
Lateef further said that in the bid to prevent growth of micro-organisms, some Nigerian farmers moved towards the use of agro-chemicals.
He added that when the agro-chemicals on the foods stayed beyond the threshold acceptable at the international market, they became useless.
“We need real time detection, something that is simple, very fast, used by everyone no matter how literate or illiterate, maybe something that can give colour change like litmus paper,’’ he said.
The expert said the group was using nanomaterials to develop sensors that could be used in real-time to quantify toxins and residual chemicals.
According to Lateef, all their efforts are geared towards enhancing food safety, saying,”so that we know the food we are consuming is safe.”
He said his group had other research activities going on which included research on Valorising Poultry feather and cow hoofs to produce bio-fertilizer.
“We are going to produce Nano-fertiliser, which will be on for two years and it is worth N25million,’’ Lateef said. (NAN)