The Ministry of Science and Technology announced yesterday that Nigeria’s pilot plant for pozzolana production is at an advanced state of completion at the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) in Ota, Ogun State.
Supervising Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson said at a housing summit in Abuja yesterday, that the nation had recorded a major milestone in research and development into pozzolana cement as alternatives to the hitherto conventional Portland cements.
“Pozzolana cements are products of locally sources, readily available raw materials with cementing properties which will serve as partial replacements to conventional cement. Pozzolanas are known to have the advantage of being more eco-friend,to and are sustainable as their production process entails less harmful emissions into the atmosphere.”
She said the commencement of production from the Ota plant would be a “ major leap towards augmenting Nigeria’s alternative cement needs, a veritable consequences of which will be a reduction in costs of constriction of houses and infrastructure.”
Stressing how meeting housing needs is bedeviled by economic constraints, she noted that construction is a financially intensive endeavor and most Nigerians may not comfortably embark in building construction and finish within the basic means of their income.
“This is the primary reason why most housing schemes hitherto embarked upon by government failed to see the light of the day. It is essentially because miss Nigerians did not qualify for various financial and mortgage options available in the system. Thus sourcing and deploying of materials for building, where the land to build is available, is an onerous and herculean task to achieve. In instances where the project finance is available, acquiring tenured land is often a challenge for individuals,” the Minister noted.
She went on: “ Again, the quest for greener pasture has also constituted a major problem or cause of escalating deficits in the housing sub-sector. This is because our urban centers are inundated by an influx of job seeking rural- urban who end up living in squalor situations just to make ends meet. Researchers have affirmed, for instance, that on daily basis, only about 10% of visitors to Abuja ever want to travel back; most come with the intent of staying permanently.
“This is no doubt an alarming situation because this rate of influx is both unprecedented and unplanned. The influx has given rise to a heightened urbanization growth rate in Nigeria, currently put at 5.8% per annum and adjudged one of the highest globally. For this reason, our urban and semi- urban infrastructure has been over stretched, turning some of these settlements into squalor and unkempt neighborhoods.
“We must therefore explore avenues of alleviating these acute housing shortages in addition to the fact that housing is another integral component of the critical infrastructure to accelerate economic development and forms a substantial part of the Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) of most developed countries.”