Nigeria and untapped resources
It has become imperative for Nigeria to look inward to uncover all of its natural resources with a view to harnessing them for economic recovery.
Some of the common natural resources on earth are land, water, sunlight, atmosphere, wind, associated with animal life and vegetation. A natural resource may exist as a separate entity such as fresh water and air as well as a living organism such as fish, or it may exist in another form, which must be processed to obtain the resource required to include oil, metal, minerals, and most forms of energy.
It should be noted that some, including air and sunlight, can be found everywhere and are known as “ubiquitous resources”. While most of the resources are only found in restricted areas and are called “localized resources”.
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There are very few resources that are considered inexhaustible – these are solar radiation, geothermal energy and air, although access to clean air may not be possible. But the fact is that some of the natural endowments are practically infinite.
The vast majority of available resources are theoretically exhaustible, meaning they have a finite quantity and can run out if mismanaged; oil is a good example. These limited resources require strong policy and regulation to be implemented by the concerned government for their preservation.
It is pertinent to recognize that every man-made product consists of one or two natural resources. Needless to say, anything that is required or used by mankind is, at least, a natural resource. In most cases, some of these resources, such as air and water, are directly used or consumed by humans without transforming them.
The phenomenon described above undoubtedly proves that mankind cannot survive or struggle successfully, as the case may be, without natural resources. This assertion is not unrelated to why every rational government strives frantically for the proper use and preservation of the resources that lie within their jurisdiction.
In Nigeria, hundreds of natural resources abound, of which every state, including Abuja, is a beneficiary. Some of these resources are petroleum, tantalite, lead, zinc, glass sand, copper, gemstones, crystal, oil/gas, bitumen, phosphate, gold, coal, clay, salt, gypsum, iron ore, uranium and limestone. in addition to sunlight, wind, earth, water, vegetation and air that are ubiquitous in nature.
Some of the aforementioned substances can allow any country to massively engage in agriculture and reach any desired height. Nigeria does not just have land, but well fertile land that can produce crops in any quantity and quality. Its vegetation and atmosphere are also invariably good enough to support all types of animal life, including wildlife.
Although farming and herding have been in the spotlight in Nigerian society, it is sad to see that currently such a lucrative occupation is pushed into the background due to over-reliance on agriculture. a single resource, oil.
It really is high time that we as a people let go of this high and irritating level of addiction that has eaten away at our socio-economic bone marrow deeply, especially at this time when the price of crude oil has plummeted on the scale world.
Proper use of clay alone can take the country’s tourism industry, which is currently moribund, to enviable heights. The same goes for the use of other similar compounds or metals that are abundant throughout the federation, including uranium, limestone, and gold.
Along the same lines, it is disheartening that a vital mineral resource like coal has, over the decades, been swept under the rug. Coal can be used to produce energy, both in the form of heat and electricity.
It is mind boggling to hear that a country like Nigeria, which can boast of abundant sunlight, wind and all you have, is still struggling to generate stable and reliable electricity, while countries like the United States, Russia, and Germany, with a limited amount of the resources, invariably enjoy uninterrupted power.
Away from energy, we see that our forest reserves that could produce enough timber for importation currently take on a pathetic physiognomy due to docile policies.
Indeed, Nigeria is densely endowed with various lucrative natural resources, but it is very sad that governments at all levels are not doing enough when it comes to proper utilization and conservation of the resources. This therefore calls for a drastic reversal via the deployment of real political will.
Now that the sale of oil resources is no longer in full swing, it is high time to retrace our steps in order to ensure that each of the available resources is well exploited for the necessary economic emancipation.
It should be noted that Nigerian leaders have over time carried some great and amazing ideas, but the fundamental problem remains the inability to formulate powerful and reliable policies and their consistent implementation.
The government really needs to ensure adequate conservation and sustenance of these natural resources, through the implementation of strict and viable policies accompanied by laws, and their proper enforcement.
Most of these necessary policies such as land use laws and forest reserves, which were duly respected in the past, are currently being abused or neglected in virtually all parts of the country.
It is urgent to relaunch them, to make corrections if necessary and to introduce new ones in an attempt to achieve the necessary emancipation of the country’s economy, today in a dilapidated state.
On the other hand, individuals, on their part, should also think outside the box in order to diversify their respective sources of income to avoid the predicted state of disaster. The good news is that, if the necessary is now done, the current economic difficulties will surely be seen as a blessing in disguise in the near future.
It is therefore high time that the authorities concerned act as planned.