A professor of Exploration Geophysics at the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA has called for more inclusion of indigenous Geophysicists in the exploration and mining industry, to stem the domination of the industry by expatriates and activities of quacks.
Professor Pius Enikanselu who gave the call while delivering the 111th inaugural lecture of the institution titled: “Exploration Geophysics: A Reality or Mere Conjecture,” said human resource development of indigenous lecturers and technologists needs to be accorded top priority so as to improve the participation of indigenous manpower in the advancement of technology in the areas of geophysical data acquisition, processing and interpretation.
The Don pointed out that the present practice where quacks in the profession operate unchallenged is inimical to the development of indigenous manpower in the industry. He said innocent clients are often exposed to undeserved risks thereby denting the image of qualified and authentic practitioners as well as reducing confidence in their findings.
Professor Enikanselu advocated a stronger university industry relationship, decrying the fact that only an infinitesimal portion of the huge profits declared by the oil companies finds its way to the universities for research purposes and development of critical manpower.
He stated that the partnership with university students, faculties and administrators are vital in furthering research, inspiring innovation and building a vibrant talent pool. To this end, he said relevant moderating bodies such as the Council of Mining Engineers and Geoscientists (COMEG) should be encouraged to perform their constitutional functions, led by experts in the profession rather than political scientists without foundational bearing with the geoscience. He defined exploration Geophysics as the application of Physics to the study of the solid earth. According to him the subject has been developed from the disciplines of Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science and Geology.
The Don said that the detailed application of this Science to rocks at shallow depths and in some area, for the purpose of ascertaining their characteristics and structural attitude gave rise to the present well known science of Applied or Exploration Geophysics and that the discovery of enormous new quantities of oil, gas and Sulphur, is the principal beneficiary of Exploration Geophysics.
Professor Enikanselu pointed out that Exploration Geophysics is still a relatively young scientific discipline but has been developing very fast since the last six decades. He said a few factors have contributed to its rapid progress and these include among others; success of search of oil during the early years of the last century, huge effort and money being expended by prospecting oil companies, improvements in techniques and quality of data recording and availability of more funds, technology and people to tackle the hazardous problems of offshore production, resulting in discovery of more reserves.
On the way forward, the lecturer stated that Nigeria as a nation must significantly raise upward its current funding of education and by extension the geosciences, as the kitchens of the nation dominant source of revenue. He said the current of 7.05% allocation of the national budget to education as against the UNESCO recommendation of 26% for developing nations is unacceptable.
Enikanselu noted that teaching and research in the discipline thrives on imported and expensive equipment from which trainees are exposed to practical rather than imaginable knowledge and experience. He therefore suggested the establishment of regional central laboratories in designated centers of excellence provided with necessary data and equipment and made accessible to students and faculty for learning and research purposes.
Speaking at the lecture, Chairman of the occasion, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape described the lecturer as an astute scholar who has contributed immensely to the academic development, training and mentorship of emerging generation of geophysicists especially in his area of specialization.
Professor Fuwape said Enikanselu is a distinguished Professor who has been consistently productive and an asset to FUTA since his assumption of duty in the university.