From the 9th to 11th November, a wide range of engineering scholars logged-online to participate in one of the biggest international conferences in Nigeria.
The American University of Nigeria (AUN) hosted the 2020 International Conference Addressing Societal Challenges through Innovative Engineering Research (ICASCIE). The virtual event was organized by the Nigerian Society of Engineers in collaboration with the School of Engineering.
Welcoming attendees at the conference room of the AUN Library which served as the coordinating center, chairman of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Yola Branch, Engineer Adamu Umar, said it is the first of its kind in Northeast Nigeria.
With 5 keynote speakers and 37 articles presented the virtual conference proved to be intellectually tasking. The first technical session began with Prof. Abimbola P.I. Popoola of the Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa. Prof Popoola spoke on advanced manufacturing for innovative engineered materials (Multi-Component Alloy Systems). The session was chaired by Prof. Oluwagbenga T. Johnson of the University of Namibia.
Dean of the AUN School of Engineering, Dr. Abel Ajibesin, expressed satisfaction at the level of interest the conference garnered from the global academic community.
“Today we are hosting the biggest educational conference in Nigeria. More than 40 papers from different universities in the world and over 200 delegates are participating in this conference. This is a huge success in itself.”
Director of Civil Engineering, Ministry of Works & Energy Development, Adamawa State, Abdullahi Farouk Tarfa, spoke on the importance of engineering research for society.
“You cannot develop good and adaptive technology without engineering research.”According to him, engineering and technology are all about making the environment comfortable for habitation.
“The experience of COVID-19 has clearly shown that when the chips are down, every country is on its own. By extension, every society has to do what it needs to do to keep society.”
Chair, Technical / Organising Committee, Dr. Victoria Adams, spoke on the importance of a conference such as this. She said while it is targeted at field experts, non-experts such as students can attend. The Professor maintained that it is important for students to attend such a conference so as to draw from the wealth of knowledge from experts. Also, for networking and finding new collaborators. Undergraduate students could find a potential supervisor for their postgraduate research or even find an interesting area for their own research.
It is not surprising that AUN could host a conference of this magnitude she said, the University has all it takes despite the unexpected turn of events globally.
“The plan was for all participants to come to AUN until the pandemic started and with the excellent facilities that are in AUN, we were able to continue virtually without any challenge. this will give people a new perspective on AUN as an institution that promotes research.”
One of the articles presented by AUN’s M F Yahaya gained quite a following. A research using modified clay filters to purify water contaminated by petroleum products. The study was carried out in Nigeria’s Niger Delta area. Filters made from rice husk ash and white clay were used to test water samples for conductivity, turbidity, pH, heavy metals, and total hydrocarbon contents. The results showed a significant decrease in the amount of petroleum/organic pollutants present in the water sample before purification. The research found that a filter candle made using poly (propylene carbonate) as a binder was the most efficient in removing organic pollutants.
In reaction to research findings and themes of the conference, one participant, Dr. Akeem Ayinde Raheem, praised the ICASCIE, saying he hopes it will go a long way in addressing the various challenges facing mankind.
“…especially as it affects housing, to make life meaningful.”
Reported by Omorogbe Omorogiuwa