The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Raji Fashola, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has presented a cheque on behalf of the Lagos State Government to researchers in the University, to fund a study on environmental profiling of land-filled sites in the state. The study is being conducted by researchers in the University, headed by Professor Toyin Arowolo of the Department of Environmental Management and Toxicology, College of Environmental Resources Management (COLERM) and the immediate past Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).
Shedding more light on the grant, the Director of Grants Management (DGM), Professor Kolawole Adebayo, who represented the University at the occassion, said the Lagos State government instituted the research grant programmes to sponsor researches that fit into the developmental plan of the state as well as research ideas, innovations or anything in the line of research that would help the state to become a better place.
According to Professor Adebayo, who disclosed that the grant was open to researchers from institutions in Lagos and beyond, said that the Professor Arowolo-led team submitted a proposal on environmental profiling of land filled sites to Lagos State, which looked at the sites where Lagos State had been using as dump sites by assessing the water, air and soil in those areas to determine how hazardious they are to the community and what could be done to remedy the situation. The proposal was worth N4 million, out of which the state government released 50 per cent upfront.
The Director further disclosed that the criteria for selection was based on 100 percent merit while the Board for the grant award was headed by the Panel Chairman, Professor Olufemi Bamiro, former Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan and Chairman, Lagos State Research Grant Committee, adding that the Professor Arowolo-led team was the only team that was presented by FUNAAB and won. According to him, the implication of this is that “it re-enforces the drive to make our University a world-class University. World-class Universities solve problems. Lagos State had a problem and we went there and said we can solve this problem and they saw it. So, it wasn’t like man-know-man. It was based on merit as a result of our proposal submitted by the team of researchers. The Lagos State government saw that this was a problem that it had and these are researchers that could provide solutions”.
“The award re-enforces our status as a University that addresses real life problems by finding solutions to them and on the long run, it sends a signal throughout the federation and beyond that, if there are problems in this country, there are brilliant scientists, particularly, in our University and other institutions of higher learning, who could provide solutions for them”, he added. Speaking at the occasion, Governor Fashola condemned the fact that the country continually consumed foreign peoples’ innovations when the country has the human resource and the intellect that can develop innovations and new things in the country. Governor Fashola expressed the believe that Nigerian scientists have the capability to produce innovations for the rest of the world if well-funded and called on other state governments to support indigenous researches in the nation’s ivory towers.
Corroborating the Lagos State Governor, Professor Adebayo said “for us as researchers, we would urge every state, every government in Africa and beyond to key into this. For instance, when we talk about internationalisation, the European Union (EU) has research funding policies. They fund research annually, United States’ Agency for International Development (USAID), Department for International Development (DfID); all of them have funding for research. Nigeria has just started along that line with the creation of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). So, I buy into the vision that Governor Fashola had given us that we, as a nation and people, need to develop a culture of investigation and research and we cannot do this without funding. A University like ours should have research funds running into billions of Naira. In FUNAAB, I think we are on the right path because our research portfolio is a lot higher than what it used to be, but this is just the beginning”.
Professor Adebayo further disclosed that though the study is for a period of 18 months, after the initial release of 50 percent, which was the sum of N2 million was paid, a 2nd tranche of N1.6 million has been collected, due to the impressive progress made by FUNAAB’s team of researchers. He added that it was the tradition of the University for every research to have a student component and as such, postgraduate and undergraduate students would be carried along to gain experience in the conduct of research as well as writing of proposals and reports.
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