A COMMUNIQUE OF THE CHEMICAL SOCIETY OF NIGERIA (CSN) ISSUED AT THE 36TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE, WORKSHOP AND EXHIBITION HELD AT THE JUSTICE LEGBO KUTIGI INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, MINNA, NIGER STATE, NIGERIA, FROM 16th TO 20THSEPTEMBER 2013
The Chemical Society of Nigeria (CSN) at her 36th Annual International Conference, Workshop and Exhibition held between 16th and 20th September 2013, at the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre, Minna, Niger State, in Plenary, on 17th September 2013, deliberated extensively on the theme: “Chemistry and Global Sustainable Economic Development: Challenges and Opportunities for the Developing Nations” and observed as follows:
1. Chemistry remains central in the drive for global sustainable economic development globally as it plays major roles in food security (production of pesticides, storage, fertilizer, animal feed, etc.), development of renewable energy, pollution prevention/environmental protection and disease control among many other activities of man.
2. Various reports from the United Nations (UNCTAD and GATT) have indicated that above 33% of drug products in the developed countries are derived from higher plants; most of which are tropical plants growing in the equatorial countries like Nigeria
3. Even as plants and animals continue to play an essential role as sources of medicines in health care, greater demand and increased human population are leading to increased, unsustainable large-scale harvesting of medicinal plants and animal poaching in many parts developing countries, with some wild species already threatened with extinction. This puts practitioners of ethnomedicine (i.e. herbalists and other traditional healers) at a risk of extinction as well!
4. The world over, the chemical industry is one of the great movers of developed economies. Major products of the chemical industry (basic chemicals, specialty chemicals, consumer products, etc.) produced by different companies drive society. In Nigeria the main chemical industry is the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), while others like UAC, Nasco Group, PZ Cussons, etc. depend a lot on chemicals as inputs for the consumer products they make.
5. With increase in awareness on the need for sustainable environmental protection, pollution prevention, safer industrial ecology and cleaner production technologies worldwide, there is heightened interest and almost a grand challenge to chemists to develop new products and processes that would satisfy society economically and still remain environment friendly. This is in the purview of Green Chemistry and emphasizes sustainability in the production of goods and services.
6. The emerging area of nanochemistry has potential applications in many industries and other areas of human endeavours, including, therapeutic drug delivery systems, diagnosis and sensing, environmental protection, water purification, etc.
7. Despite the importance of Chemistry in the overall development of any economy, its teaching and practice in Nigeria is grossly deficient and plagued by poor infrastructure.
Further to the foregoing observations, the Society realizes that:
a.) Sustainability necessitates a balance and harmony between our needs and wants and the preservation of a healthy environment and ecosystem.
b.) To that extent embracing ‘sustainable chemistry’ will maximize the use of resources efficiently through activities such as conservation of energy and non-renewable resources, risk minimization, pollution prevention, minimization of waste at all stages of product life-cycle, with the development of products that are durable and can be reused and recycled.
c.) Significant progress has already been made in several key research areas such as biosynthesis, biocatalysis, photocatalysis, heterogeneous catalysis, design of safer chemicals and environmentally benign solvents, green corrosion inhibition and microwave assisted polymerization to reduce the environmental impact of chemicals.
d.) Chemists could apply their skills and develop synthetic technologies to tweak the structure of a natural product for the purposes of enhancing its potency or improving its selectivity and, physical and chemical properties. This approach will serve to preserve our biodiversity.
e.) The (chemical) industrial fortune of Nigeria can be boosted through massive investment in Chemistry and allied research and development.
f.) There is an urgent need for a critical look at the way Chemistry is presented and taught at all levels of education in Nigeria in order to make it more responsive to the challenges and opportunities for a developing economy.
The Conference, having examined these issues as related to its theme, recommends as follows:
i.) In recognition of the central role Chemistry plays in human life, government should address the relatively low profile of Chemists in our national life by creating greater participation of Chemistry professionals in various policy-making and implementation activities in the country, using capacity building through strategically directed investment in people, research and development for application towards achieving a developed economy on a sustainable basis.
ii.) Chemists in Nigeria should see self-employment (through manufacturing) as thedesirable occupation for Chemistry to take its right place as the pivot for meeting the challenges of sustainable economic development in our nation so endowed with natural resources.
iii.) Government should review the legal and institutional framework of the Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Equity Scheme (SMEIES) with the view of removing requirements that challenge easy access by starters so as to encourage manufacturing.
iv.) The Chemical Society of Nigeria (CSN) and the Institute of Chartered Chemists of Nigeria (ICCON) should be encouraged (by way of substantial investment) to aggressively and strategically campaign for the adoption and application of the principles of Green Chemistry in our national techno-socioeconomic life.
v.) Government should urgently develop a National Policy on Chemistry Education to advance the cause of sustainable development in Nigeria.
vi.) Government should, as a matter of urgency, invest in aggressive research, human capacity development, and training and re-training in application of nanochemistry; seeing that this emergent area of chemistry has wide ranging applications, including combating the challenges of (breast) cancer and malaria in Nigeria.
In conclusion, the Chemical Society of Nigeria (CSN) pledges its loyalty to the Federal Government of Nigeria and offers its assistance to the government and the private sector in the implementation of the above recommendations
LONG LIVE CHEMICAL SOCIETY OF NIGERIA!
LONG LIVE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA!!
Dr. Shettima A. Saidu,FCSN, FICCON, FICEN, FCIM, SFIIAN President
Prof. Rufus Sha’Ato, FICCON, FCSN, MIPANNational Secretary