The Managing Director of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority NEPZA, Prof Adesoji Adesugba has described the Ekiti state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi as the ``father of gemology in Nigeria’’.
The Gemological Institute of Nigeria trains students about the varieties of gemstones, identification of gemstones, grading, appraisal and mastery of terminologies and the proper usage of gemology instruments.
Speaking while receiving the governor in his office, Adesugba recalled the role played by the governor in the establishment of the Gemological Institute of Nigeria while serving as the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, reiterating that the governor made the creation of the institute a reality.
``At that time a top official had stalled the process of registering the Institute for almost a year, Dr Fayemi intervened and registration was concluded, giving birth to the first Gemological institute not just in Nigeria but South of Sub-Sahara Africa. The governor as the minister guided us through the process and today the GIN is a reality.
``The institute has secured close partnership with the World Bank's MinDiver project. The institute now has a gem laboratory, training gemologist in a train the trainers programmes.
``Your Excellency, let me use this opportunity to thank you for allowing us when I came up with the idea of setting up the Gemological Institute of Nigeria (GIN) the very first of such institute in this part of the world.
`` The support you gave us had led to the formation of that institute which allows for the training of our various youths who are in the field of gemology.
`` Prior to that, we did not have any gemological institute which meant we were unable to ascertain the quality of gems, but all that has become history now with your support. The World Bank’s Mindiver Program is presently supporting the institute and will soon start training of gemologists and Jewelers’’, the NEPZA boss said.
Adesugba also said that: ``most Nigerians would not know the import of that because what Dr Fayemi did, but he actually has shown us the quantum of wealth in this sector’’.
``We are always talking of other industrial minerals and oil and gas but nobody has ever looked at that sector that has the capacity to fetch Nigeria more than 10 billion US dollars annually.
He said the governor had through his wealth of knowledge and good leadership facilitated the establishment of the institute that could train Nigerians to be able to harness the opportunities in this sector.
`` I just thought I should mention that you are actually the father of Gemology in Nigeria’’, Adesugba said.
Speaking earlier, Dr Fayemi commended the appointment of Professor Adesugba,saying "I have a professional relationship with you when I was the minister of mines. You helped me with creation of the chamber of mines and you were a member of the roadmap committee of the Ministry of Mines and Steel.
``Some of the things we started then has now resulted to some of what people are hearing about, the presidential initiative on artisanal gold mining for example, The resuscitation of Ajaokuta came out of that work, there are a whole range of things and I’m glad that the new minister is continuing with that road map that we put in place.
``So it is a really wonderful opportunity for us in Ekiti to engage with you and your team with the view to assuring that we attain the status of a special economic zone but one that is primarily directed to a knowledge economy, and knowledge production and knowledge generation in the country because for us in Ekiti, that is what we sell and we will like you to assist us in deepening our opportunities ", the Governor said.
Dr Fayemi further extended invitation to the NEPZA Chief to visit Ekiti for on the spot assessment of the proposed Knowledge free zone in the state.