By: Tinuade Salami & Michael James Igiri
To eradicate poverty, and create sustainable wealth through proper management and recycling of
products in the extractive industry, the Federal Government has been advised to create wealth by
optimising the full life-circle of Steel and Metal products in Nigeria.
A Professor of Extractive Metallurgy and Materials Processing, David Ehigie Esezobor, gave the
advice during an inaugural lecture on “WASTE TO WEALTH: THE RE-ENGINEERING OF EXTRACTIVE
METALLURGY”, which was held on Wednesday at the Ade Ajayi Main Auditorium, University of
Focusing on three vital aspects of the lecture, that is; Extractive Metallurgy, Mineral Processing, and
Development of Materials and Waste-Free technology, Prof. Esezobor raised issues dominating
discussions among scholars, government and the public on metal extraction and its development in
Sighting specific examples from the Ajaokuta Steel Plant, (ASP) and the Delta Steel Company (DSC) –
which were each concessioned (or sold three different times), the lecturer concluded that their
collapse was a consequence of unresolved confusions among the professionals, non-professionals
and relevant government personnel, as well as the “Planned Controversies”, and the “Deadly
Conspiracies” from within and outside the country.
“All these remind us of the fact that if we refuse to develop our own Iron Ore and Steel Industry, we
will only export our Iron and Steel raw materials at very cheap rates, and import the finished
products at exorbitant prices as it is with Nigerian oil today.
“The implication of this is that manufactured goods and services from Nigeria requiring these
products as imputes will not be economically competitive. By a stretched imagination, this is
probably the main mitigating factor in the infrastructural challenge in the country.”
Relying on United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) survey of the steel industry
worldwide, which shows that for every US$1 investment in the steel industry, there is a multiplier
effect of US$8 in the host nation, he emphasised the need to be continually creative in the
management of waste.
Prof. Esezobor, who was elevated to the status of Professor of Extractive Metallurgy and Materials
Processing in 2007, reeled out some of his major research areas and contributions to knowledge
including; the development of Coke-Consumption humidification technology, development of high
quality Refractory Bricks manufacturing technology that can withstand a temperature of up to 1600
degree Celsius, Waste-Free technology as well as Sludge Dewatering Technology, and Novel Thermal
Drying Technology, amongst others.
He concluded by recommending the establishment of, “Waste-free or Zero-waste technology
research centres or laboratories” in the University of Lagos; Lagos state; as well as in other states of
the federation, to investigate every discarded material for possible conversion to wealth.
“The research centre is a vital piece for a comprehensible waste management. The traditional
systems of waste management are designed to hide the value of waste. The claim that landfills and
incinerators make waste disappear is nothing but a myth.
“Any failure to create wealth from waste stops the creative engine and breaks the creative cycle.
This leads to poverty and lack of sustainability which Nigeria in particular, and Africa in general are
He thanked the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos Prof. Rahamon Bello for giving him an
opportunity to present his inaugural lecture; as well as Professors Toyin Ogundipe, and Ralph
Akinfeleye for their efforts towards the actualisation of the lecture.