For submitting a comprehensive research proposal that would put to an end to the hazards of oil spillage and pollution in the Niger-Delta region, a lecturer at the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Olawole Ogirima Olanipekun, has won the N1m research grant of Prof. Ayo Francis Ogunye Trust Foundation (PAFOTFUL).
Speaking shortly after the formal presentation of the N1m cheque, Olanipekun said his research findings would be used to clean up the pollution in the Niger Delta area and get the environment restored to its natural state.
He promised that the fund would be judiciously used, thanking the foundation for giving him the will to create a change.
He said, “A lot of researchers have been considering crude oil production as if it is a single contaminant. But when there is pollution, there are multiple hydrocarbons in the environment, which many are treating as if they are just a single hydrocarbon. We have polyaromatic hydrocarbon, aliphatic hydrocarbon and others. And these different hydrocarbons have different degrees of degradability. While the aliphatic can easily be degraded, the polyaromatic is more difficult to degrade.
“So, we want to consider the middle end by looking at aliphatics of the range of 16 to 20, and same with polyaromatic. We are not going to take crude oil as a whole, but we are going to take a model subscript, by taking hydrocarbon from crude oil and mix them together and take consortium from Niger Delta and mix them together and see how they are going to degrade.”
Earlier, Vice Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof. Rahamon Adisa Bello, stated that credible universities were known by the quality of research carried out by their researchers and how they impact the society.
He urged the award recipient to ensure judicious use of the grant, and justify the purpose for which the foundation instituted the award.
Founder of PAFOTFUL, Prof. Ogunye, who pioneered chemical engineering programme at the university, said the foundation was established to initiate a process for sound and qualitative research outputs that will not only put the nation’s universities on the front burner, but also provide solutions to societal challenges.
Also, Chairman of the Research Grant Committee, Prof. Oluwole Familoni, stated that the widely advertised research grant received about 30 entries, out of which three were shortlisted and sent to external assessors.