On Wednesday 16th August 2017, naijahq.com reported the discovery of a massive iron ore deposit in Cross River state. Images from the report displayed some Asians in the forest who may have discovered the massive iron ore, instead of Nigerian researchers. Hence, a concerned Nigerian, nicknamed ITbomb, asked “why waiting for outsiders to come and discover stuff in our backyard when we have research centres with PhDs and Prof[essor]s?” Many responders, rightly, mocked Nigerian researchers and professors as useless people, whose potbellies may not permit to bend down as real Nigerian researchers. Yet, many Nigerians failed to consider the motivating factor behind researchers in different parts of the world.
The cost of conducting authentic researches is high both on human, financial and material resources. About US$160 billion is spent every year on biomedical research in United States of America. The researchers may retain patency for their products. China budgeted US$43 billion for research in 2016, other countries like India, England, Australia and Netherlands also voted billions of dollars to research. But in the Nigerian 2016 budget, there was no allocation for research institutions, against US$160 billion budget for only medical research in US.
Nigerian researchers and postgraduate students do not have the type of funds required to conduct real scientific researches. They even incur huge costs to repeat researches that are already concluded in other developed countries. Abeg copy and paste that thing joor, come collect your certificate dey go your way.
Secondly, the Nigerian Mineral and Mining Act denies Nigerian researchers access to mineral resources. It states that…
“… all lands in which minerals have been found in Nigeria and any area covered by its territorial waters or constituency and the Exclusive Economic Zone shall, from the commencement of this Act be acquired by the Government of the Federation…” “No person shall search for or exploit mineral resources in Nigeria or divert or impound any water for the purpose of mining except as provided in this Act.” “The property in mineral resources shall pass from the Government to the person by whom the mineral resources are lawfully won, upon their recovery in accordance with this Act.”
Hence, there is no real motivation to explore the forests and bushes, since any discovered mineral is immediately acquired by the government. If the resource were discovered in your ancestral land, you are forced to forfeit your ancestral land. Sometimes, few elders may be lucky to receive some financial compensation after a lot of court case spending and dragging. So, why should I search for resources in my village, knowing that the land will be confiscated by the government and given to foreigners? Even when the resources are not given away for immediate use, they are militarily locked out of the people’s reach.
The foreign companies will gladly research into these lands, because they have both financial and political muscle to win the properties. Until the ethnic communities take back the right to own and manage their resources, there will be no real interest in research or education in Nigeria. Each ethnic community must begin to work together towards freedom from the choking central.
The hype that discovery of mineral resources in our villages will attract investors remains one of the political lies to be understood. Some political office-holders promote the idea that mineral discovery in Nigerian villages creates job-opportunities for the dwellers. A critical observation shows that the indigenes are called in to do some of the peripheral and dirty works involved. The indigenes are contracted to safeguard the resources for foreign companies to come and take them away. They are contracted to assist in the extraction and transportation of the resources out of their places to foreign shores. Una weh done, God dey watch una.
 Cf. Dan Dunkley, http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60149-X/fulltext?rss=yes
 Channels Television. February 12, 2016, 2016 Budget: Scientists Lament Zero Allocation To Research Institutions. http://www.channelstv.com/2016/02/12/2016-budget-scientists-lament-zero-allocation-to-research-institutions/
 Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 2
 Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 2, paragraph 1
 Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 3