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Umahi challenges engineers to harness abundant resources 

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Gov David Umahi of Ebonyi State has challenged engineers and investors to harness abundant human and material resources to achieve the needed Industrial revolution in the country.

Umahi, who was the Chairman of the occasion, gave the challenge at Adada House Nsukka on Saturday at the 18th Herbert Macaulay memorial lecture.

The lecture entitled “Potentials prospects and drawbacks of steel and petroleum industries development in Nigeria” was organised by the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered reports that the venue of the event was moved outside UNN to Nsukka town because of the ongoing nationwide warning strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Eric Igwe, said the theme of the lecture was apt as steel and petroleum resources were very vital for the development of any nation’s economy.

“Development of infrastructure in any nation without these two resources remain an uphill task.

“Our nation is abundantly endowed with steel and petroleum but we have not developed capacity to harness them to serve our nation population,” he said.

Umahi urged engineers in universities to find out what prevented the country from full and proper exploiting of these key resources to national development.

“No country has ever developed by just selling raw materials without refining them to finished products.

“Refining of these products, more value is addressed, jobs created, bye-products developed to new products,” he said.

He expressed appreciation to the faculty of engineering for the recognition and honour given to him to chair the 18th Herbert Macaulay memorial lecture.

Speaking on theme of the lecture, Gov Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State said contributions of late Macaulay to engineering profession in the country, being the first engineer were numerous.
According to him, Macaulay who was the first licensed engineer in the country in 1893, contributed immensely through research, training as well as practicing of the profession.

“”Macaulay trained and practiced as engineer, architect and surveyor in those days when there was little distinction between these disciplines.

“There is no doubt that this training equipped him for his pioneering role as nationalist in the fight for Nigeria political emancipation.

“Macaulay’s legacies should serve as an inspiration to all engineers in the country,” he said.

Sule, who was represented by his Deputy Governor, Dr Emmanuel Akabe, said that engineers in Nigerian universities should go into a serious research on how the country could drive maximum benefits from steel and petroleum resources.

“Engineers in tertiary institutions especially those in UNN as the foremost university in the country, should lead others to advise government properly on the best way to solve the problems in steel and petroleum industries.

“This is important as no government will reject professional
advice from the ivory tower,” he said.

The governor noted that getting the problem of steel and petroleum industries solved would help boost the economy as well as reduce the number of unemployed youths in the country.

He expressed his gratitude to the faculty of engineering for finding him worthy to come and deliver the all-important Herbert Macaulay memorial lecture.

In a remark, Prof Emeka Obe, Dean, Faculty of Engineering, UNN said that in 1978, the faculty Board of Engineering, recognizing the pivotal role played by the person recognized as the founder of Nigeria nationalism, Herbert Macaulay towards Nigeria independent resolved to establish a biennial lecture in his honour.

“The theme for this 18th lecture is important because steels and petroleum are drivers of modern economy, thus they are very strategic for Nigerian’s industrial development.,” he said.

The Dean, however appealed for help to enable the faculty to have a 1000 capacity lecture theater, new and separate building for seven departments, among others.
Earlier, Prof Charles Igwe, the Vice-chancellor of UNN, said that the university had always recognized the great contributions of Macaulay in engineering as well as Nigeria in general.

“Engineers, surveyors architects and other professionals should learn from the professional lifestyle of Macaulay and make every effort to leave good footprints on the sand of time,’ he said.

The VC, represented by UNN’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Prof Johnson Urama, expressed optimism that the 18th lecture would provide solutions to many challenges facing steel and petroleum industries in the country

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