The University of Ilorin is set to mass produce and commercialise its two prototype designs of automobile speed limiting device as corporate investors scurry for pieces of the action, Sulyman Age-AbdulKareem, director of the University’s Laboratory to Product Centre said this Wednesday after a routine meeting of the Speed Limiter team in Ilorin.
This comes at a time when Africa’s largest economy is facing foreign exchange shortages and needing to look inwards to boost local manufacturing.
Age-Abdulkareem said corporate investors have started bidding to invest in the mass production of the device.
He added that patents on the devices have been filed and would be ready next month.
“Interested investors are knocking at our doors with proposals to fund the project,” he said.
This would alleviate the concerns of industrialist who have been concerned about the quality of results coming out Nigeria’s universities.
“Some universities are currently supporting industries with research but most of these researches are too academic and abstract in nature, and this is why there is a big gap between industry and the research output,” Muda Yusuf, director general, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said in a telephone response to questions.
“There is no alignment between industries and university research output. For a university research to be of value to industries, it must meet their industrial need by looking at problems industries want to solve,” Yusuf said.
This recent development is set to help reverse this trend. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, Vice-Chancellor of the university and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Management Services, Adedayo Abdulkareem, are examining the offers and would soon be meeting with the investors.
The Director, who is also the Coordinator of the research team, highlighted that the university was considering several funding options and raising several questions to get the best from the project.
He said the institution’s management would look for the best option for now and in the foreseeable future.
Age-AbdulKareem stressed that the prospect of an investment model that would allow engineering students to work and study would be exciting. According to him, this will also afford earning a living wage while reading as it is being done in developed nations and create job opportunities for staff and students.
This would contribute significantly to the University’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Age-AbdulKareem expressed optimism that this development would conserve the nation’s foreign exchange by minimising importation of production materials and motivate local engineers.
In his speech, the VC said that the University was the first in Nigeria to respond positively to the challenge given by the Federal Government to Nigerian universities.
The challenge was to come up with a speed limiting device that could be used to curb accidents on Nigerian roads. The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has also been informed of the developments.