Professor Nnanyelugo OkoroAs businesses  thrive on innovations which drive the world economies,  institutions have continued to embark on researches geared towards providing solutions to indigenous and remote challenges. 

The University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) has not been left out of this trend and has demonstrated her commitment to proffering creative and working solutions to emerging challenges in this pandemic era. 

The institution which slated her first ever University of Nigeria Business Promotion and Products Exhibition Fair on  23-30th  November, 2021 at Freedom Square, Nsukka campus, said the  fair will provide opportunities for participants to showcase their patents and inventions to the world and make instant sales, demonstrate products/services qualities and build networks for business expansion. The fair will also be a platform for business owners to interface with investors and commercialise their products. 

The exhibition, which is an innovative enterprise of the University of Nigeria Centre for Business Development (UNCBD), seeks to provide creative solutions for local businesses through research, technology and innovation in Nigeria’s oldest University.

The institution which has aligned itself with the rising global demand for innovative ideas in research and technology,  has established centers and hubs such as  Centre for Entrepreneurship and Development Research (CEDR), Roar Hub, UNNICT and Centre for Lion Gadgets and Technologies (CLGAT).

These research centres are committed to developing students’ competence in providing home grown solutions to social problems.

According to the Director of UNCBD, Professor Nnanyelugo Okoro, UNCBD is poised to incorporate innovation and creativity in providing solutions that work to challenges facing the University and the world at large.                                                                            

During a facility visit to the Centre for Lion Gadgets and Technologies, which was initially conceived as a laptop assembly plant of the institution, stakeholders observed that the Centre is leaving no stone unturned in its preparation for the upcoming exhibition fair. 

However, with a visionary and ingenious Director, the scope of the primary objectives of the centre was expanded. Today, CLGAT under the pioneer Director, Rev Fr Edward Anoliefo, is a Public-Private Partnership initiative of UNN that assembles laptops and electronic utilities as well as researches into indigenous problems and develops capacity to tackle them.        

According to Rev Fr Anoliefo, the Centre not only assembles laptops, but designs software that create unique and relatable experiences for its users.Rev Dr Anoliefo explaining the mechanism of the extractor.

“It is not a question of buying parts and assembling, it will not be worth it. Our team worked towards a wazobia keyboard. We produced a software that enables our laptops to accept local alphabets. Also, when our laptops are booted, you hear the UNN anthem play as the welcome tone.”

Other major solution-driven technologies developed by the centre include: a fermented cassava extractor, an industrial centrifuge, vegetable oil refining plant and a multi purpose oven. 

These model designs and prototypes will be featured at the upcoming exhibition fair.         

In an interview with Rev Fr Edward, the Director said  the development of the cassava extractor was a timely response to the challenges associated with manual cassava processing as well as a solution to food problem at large. 

 “Traditionally, people manually extract the fermented cassava, so we conceived and designed a machine for this; the fermented cassava extractor. The research team has applied for patent and we are hoping that it will be granted soon.”

The Director also noted that the benefit of their ideas and creations was that nothing was lost in the process and it gave students a reason to believe in themselves and what they can achieve.  

“At times, when we have things, we overlook them. In this centre, we like to try new things. The good thing about our melon oil, which was produced purely from melon is that when it is extracted, the seeds can still be used for cooking just the same way. We intend to showcase all these things during the exhibition fair. We also have plenty driers to showcase. We developed ordinary driers, flash driers, hybrid and so on. The flash drier is used for drying cassava in order to preserve it over a long period of time.” he said.

Emmanuel Ejiofor and Anwulika Iwuoba wrote from UNN.

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