1st Faculty of Basic and Applied Sciences (FBAS) Public Lecture
The University on the 2nd of June, 2021 held its 1st Faculty of Basic and Applied Sciences Public Lecture on “Water Issues in Africa: Need for New African Perspective for Sustainability” delivered by Prof. Olalekan Siyanbola Fatoki, an academic of international repute. Present at the event as the distinguished chairman was Prof. Kingston Nyamapfene, the Vice Chancellor of the university, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Iwekumo Agbozu, The Registrar, Dr. Akpoebi Adesi, the University Librarian, Dr. Mrs. Rose B. Okiy, the Executive Secretary, Bayelsa Education Trust Fund, Dr. (Mrs.) Alice A. Atuwo, Mr. Christopher Ehwrujakpor, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education Bayelsa State who stood in for the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Dr. Gentle Emelah.
The Host, Prof. Francis D. Sikoki, Dean, Faculty of Basic and Applied Sciences, in his welcome address stated that public lecture series of this sort are one of the ways through which the University could discharge its function of community service by enlightening the public on contemporary issues of importance. He went further to state that the choice of the topic was to address the problems of scarcity of portable water, annual flood and erosion common in this terrain, despite the presence of water.
The University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Kingston, in his remark commended the Local Organising Committee, chaired by Prof. D.I. Olorunfemi, for the time and effort put into planning the event, which turned out to be great, enlightening and educative. He also thanked the dignitaries, staff and students of the University present.
High Chief Ayakeme Whiskey (traditional ruler of Bulou-Orua Community) thanked the Vice Chancellor for the community service the University has rendered to its host communities. He stated that the importance of water to the University and host communities, especially Bulou-Orua cannot be overemphasized. Chief Whiskey called on the University to partner with the community in the provision of portable water for the students and host communities.
Prof. O.S. Fatoki began his lecture on the fact that, the quality of any foundation matters a lot, as the quality of the leadership will determine the trajectory of the University in question. That having known the Vice Chancellor for over 25years, he is confident the University will churn out students that would stand out among their peers. On the main topic of the lecture: Water issues in Africa: need for new African perspective for sustainability; Bayelsa state as a case study. He emphasized that Bayelsa state and other states in the region have rich water resources which is an undisputable fact, but that despite the availability of water everywhere, it is unsuitable for either domestic or agricultural use due to massive pollution.
He further emphasized that the uncontrolled pollution in the area has caused serious consequences, which has impacted on people’s health and the eco-system. The issue of water availability was treated as a matter that touches human right, that is, the right to life. Water is needed in all aspects of life. Prof Fatoki pointed out that the situation of access to water supply and sanitation in developing countries is very low compared to developed countries.
The major problems faced by most developing countries are: water scarcity (due to uneven distribution of fresh water resources, compounded by climate change and population explosion), quality problems (due to uncontrolled domestic and industrial pollution), lastly lack of adequate and efficient water resource management.
Emphasizing on the importance of management of underground and surface water, Prof Fatoki stated that the lack of water resources is not the cause of conflict but poor management.
Possible solutions were proffered among which are:
- Further research to be carried out on water resources.
- Development of early detection method.
- Monitoring and health risk assessment study of Covid-19 drugs and vaccines in wastewater.
- Assessment of economic cost of EDCS (Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals) on humans and the eco-system.
The detailed lecture ended with an interactive session, with the awesome performances of the Theatre Arts department students and a photo session.
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