Use sanitary wares carefully, FUTA don warns as he tasks government on the growth of the ceramic sector

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A call has gone to users of ceramic based sanitary wares to be careful when using such products as abuses could lead to fatal injuries and other unpleasant consequences.

A Professor of Ceramics at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Tolulope Lawrence Akinbogun gave the warning while delivering the 122nd inaugural lecture of the university on Tuesday, 2nd March, 2021 at the University auditorium.

According to him, “users on their own part should not abuse the use of sanitary wares. They should not stand on it because sanitary wares are not expected to bear the whole weight of users as part of the weight are meant to be borne by the floor in which the feet are rested in the process of using the sanitary ware.

Also, they should not hit them with heavy objects that can lead to outright or inner cracks of the sanitary wares”. Professor Akinbogun, a former Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University also encouraged manufacturers to work towards high quality ceramics that are of international standards.

According to him “since Nigerians have taste for foreign products, manufacturers should produce products that are comparative with foreign products in function and aesthetics.” He warned manufacturers not to put rejects into the market such as broken sanitary wares in the course of transportation and handling, and also cautioned against mending broken sanitary wares with glues.

Akinbogun who titled his lecture ,”Abundant Resources, Waning Growth; The Paradox of Ceramic Industry in Nigeria” observed that virtually all government-owned ceramic industries in Nigeria have closed down with owner states battling with what to do with the carcasses of the plants at the various factory sites.

He added that government should ensure stability in the power sector because ceramic mass production is largely energy – dependent and cannot thrive in the absence of power supply. He said “the traditional ceramic production can bounce back if Nigeria develops its tourism market and put an end to the insecurity that has blacklisted the country in the comity of nations. Presently, Nigeria is not a first-choice destination for tourists in West Africa”.

Professor Akinbogun also enjoined governments at different levels to collaborate with other stakeholders in private organizations to resuscitate the abandoned ceramic firms spread across the country and also ensure stability in the power sector to enable mass production of ceramic materials for the use of human kind, all in a secured environment.

Exploring the Ceramic Industry in Africa, the Don, a former President of Ceramics Researchers Association of Nigeria (CerAN) said the African continent is the third largest macro-region for ceramic tiles exports and accounts for more than 10% of total world exports. He further said that the geographical entity known as Nigeria has good pedigree in the production of ceramic rudiments, with the functions of ceramic products becoming broader.

Speaking on the market size for ceramic materials in the country, he said “Nigerian population is becoming higher, the cities are expanding at a very fast rate, people are getting more sophisticated and urbane, the needs for products such as sanitary wares, ceramic tiles are inevitable. The Asian countries are raking in billions of dollars from their exportation of ceramic products to Nigeria.

“In view of this, the investment climate in Nigeria needs to be fixed and policies to protect local industries should be put in place. If electricity is fixed and government evolves policies that can protect the local industries by placing total ban on importation of foreign ceramic products, the next one decade will see Nigerian ceramic industry moving from the category of sunset industry to sunshine industry”.

In the area of knowledge development and capacity building, the Don called for the establishment of more specialized ceramic – based research institute with skill development nurtured through traditional and advanced research at Research and Development Centres such as Industrial Development Centres (IDCs), Centre for Industrial Research and Developments, Centre for Management Development, Project Development Agency (PRODA), Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) and the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC).

Similarly, he advocated for new frontiers for ceramic education in tertiary institutions through curriculum restructuring. He said the curriculum should be redesigned to accommodate the blending of the existing contemporary ceramics with new emerging areas in ceramics.

Chairman at the event and Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape, commended the excellent delivery by the lecturer. He described Professor Akinbogun as a dynamic teacher who has contributed significantly to the body of knowledge in his chosen area of specialization in addition to knowledge impartation across the continent of Africa and globally.

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