By NBF News
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A CHEMIST, Mr Obed Onwochei, has attributed the rapid deterioration of roads in the country to the non-involvement of chemists in road construction.

Onwochei made the observation in Abuja, while delivering the monthly lecture of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Alumni Association, Abuja branch, entitled: 'The Pivotal Role of the Chemist in the Nigerian Emerging Economy.'

He said on Sunday that the role of chemists in road construction and other critical sectors of the economy was 'very important' as it could stimulate the development of infrastructue in the country.

'The soil chemist is involved in the test that gives the civil engineers the parameters required for durable road construction.

'This input is very important in making the road surface stable, avoiding its breaking up and causing craters in the asphalt,' he said.

Onwochei, a 1974 chemistry graduate of the then University of Ife, now OAU, said the construction of excellent roads was germane to the development of the national economy.

He urged chemists to ensure that a great deal of mileage was achieved through their contributions to nation building considering the large chunk of money spent by the Federal Government on the sector yearly.

Onwochei corrected the erroneous impression that being a chemist automatically makes one a classroom teacher, saying a chemist could be useful in the energy, industry, health, water and agricultural sectors.

For instance in the water sector, he said a chemist must guarantee the delivery of safe drinking water by ensuring that the water treatment plant was efficiently run.

'Provision of safe water and its sustainability are the desire and challenge of any government.

'Where safe drinking water is not available, the severe consequences of water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, gastro-enteritis and dermatitis hold sway,' he said.

Onwochei said in the agricultural sector, the chemists played a critical role in the agro-allied industry in the production of fertilisers and pesticides.

'The chemical industry the world over represents an important economic activity with global sales of top 50 chemical industries hitting $578 billion,' he added.

Onwochei called on the Federal Government not to relegate chemists to the background if the country must attain the required industrial growth.