Olugbenga Okunlola, a professor of geology at the University of Ibadan, says most of the geologists in the country are not practising what they studied in school.
Okunlola, a board member of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), made the statement at the south-west zonal stakeholders’ workshop of the agency in Abeokuta.
He went down memory lane, tracing the origin of geology as a course of study in Nigeria.
“Between 1960 and 1976, we had about five universities that were producing graduates in geology,” he said.
“Currently we have about 54 universities in Nigeria that have produced geo-scientists. Nigeria has less than 50,000 geo-scientists and that is underestimation. Where are they? They are either riding Okada or in the banks or elsewhere.
“When you don’t take a geologist to the field, you are killing him and the natural resources.”
He said there would have been no jobless mechanical engineers in the country if the steel company at Ajaokuta had been working at full capacity.
Ajaokuta Steel is unarguably the largest integrated steel complex in the sub-Saharan Africa. It sits on a site of 24, 000 hectares located in Kogi state.
“We don’t need anybody to come and invest in Nigeria, if Ajaokuta starts working, there will be no single jobless mechanical engineer in this country,” he said
“This country has no business with poverty… lack of clear-cut optimisation models; and abandonment of the extractive sector result to poverty.”
He said the major challenges facing the extractive industry are low funding, misplacement and underutilisation of capacity.
In October, the professor of geology said gold deposit in Osun state is worth $5bn.