By Okolo Ezinne
Here’s something we bet you didn’t realise. During the field posting presentations by the 2014/2016 postgraduate students of the university of Ilorin College of Health Sciences, Gabriel Olatunji, a professor of Industrial Chemistry and deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Technology and Innovation) of the university, said it was necessary to abolish the use of local lanterns especially by market women in Nigeria because they emit toxic chemicals.
Mr. Olatunji lamented that a lot of carbon monoxide is released by the local lanterns and inhaled by the market women on a daily basis.
The university has also undertaken to develop a safer alternative to the lamps.
He stated that, “As a chemist, I know the implication of inhaling carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. The chemicals affect one’s health in the long run and one can even suffocate and collapse because there is a threshold level to which you can inhale such a thing,” the don said.
Mr. Olatunji said the university would champion the project to abolish the device as part of its community service mandate, in conjunction with the Kwara State government.
He said the university would meet with the state government to discuss the plans to stop the use of the lamps in markets.
He explained that the university would work with its engineering students to come up with safer and affordable devices that will replace the local lanterns.
Mr. Olatunji listed the three core mandates of the university as teaching, research and community service, and stressed that the institution would not relent in its commitment to community service.
“Community service is something we take so seriously, whatever we are doing should have impact on our immediate community and you can see from the reports presented that they have gone there for three months to address the problems in each community and you see how far they have gone as students”.
The professor however called for more collaborations between the university and the federal and state governments.
“You can imagine the result we will achieve if the state and federal government will partner with us,” he said.