Soapbox Science Lagos, September 2021 Event: Speaker Topics

Held on 30th September 2021, Soapbox Science Lagos hosted speakers from a range of topics for an online event.

Here the speakers give brief introductions to their work:


Dr. Adeyemi Oginni, University of Lagos

Buildings well suited to their climes possess appropriate features making them fit for the users and their task performance. Building envelopes are essential modifiers of the microclimate; as a modifier of microclimates, building envelopes isolate spaces from environmental temperature and humidity fluctuations; they also shelter spaces from precipitation, prevailing winds and enhances natural lighting. Buildings, their environs and related facilities produce more CO2, generate more  pollution, consume more energy, and use up more natural resources than any other human industry; their performance is therefore of utmost concern in various parts of the world presently.

In Nigeria, the epileptic supply of power from the grid has necessitated the constant use of alternative power supply- the generator or inverter system in most homes. Yet, a sustainable approach to development remains a ‘buzz word’ in construction and remains cosmetic in its approach in the provision of buildings. Such are the prevailing issues evident in the nation Nigeria.

The need for climate sensitive approaches and environmentally responsible construction cannot be overemphasized. Presently, buildings in Nigeria are being constructed without much consideration for their impact on occupant‘s health, productivity and comfort.

Children are more susceptible to heat stresses; however, cultural factors and acclimatization can help minimize this. Heat stresses have an impact on learning capacity. At high temperatures, children are less able to concentrate and can exhibit irritable or aggressive behaviors. Adults (including teachers) can be similarly affected. School buildings are meant to be designed to ensure that human comfort conditions are easily and efficiently maintained through the variety of passive and active means available. Since children, spend most of their time indoors in school buildings, the indoor environment is therefore of primary importance. Countries of the world are currently overwhelmed with the effects of technology advancement and the pressure of man‘s activities on the environment.

 A Building‘s performance therefore has significant effects on occupants‘ productivity health and safety. In several countries of the world, especially in advanced communities, occupants spend most of their times indoors. Hence the indoor environment becomes key determinant of the health, wellbeing and efficiency and productivity of its occupants. In Nigeria, performance of pupils in schools has been on a decline. Could it be as a result of discomfort? The aim of this research is to assess the impact of the building envelopes on the thermal performance of public classrooms in Lagos.

The comfortable thermal sensation (acceptable) has been observed for the temperature range from 25 to 31°C from the dry to wet seasons. The pupils’ responses were happy irrespective of the value of the objective measurements taken owing to adaptations to the heat.  Most of the subjects recorded cool thermal sensation and preferred a warmer climate in cold or wet seasons. Most of the subjects voted slightly warm and warm and hot thermal sensation and preferred a cooler environment in the dry seasons.

Also, the buildings‘ characteristics impacted on the thermal performance (temperature, humidity variables). These factors are important even here in the Tropics. Building envelopes should be designed to enhance activities taking place at uncomfortable periods of the day, midday, when the weather is hot, or provide alternative means of adapting to such conditions. A case is made for computer simulation tools to be explored in initial design decisions on materials and designs of school classrooms in the Tropics to ensure thermal comfort.


Drs. Bada, A.A, Osuolale O., Momoh, A.O and Asabe N.T., Elizade University

The study investigated the physiochemical and microbiological assessment of water sources (groundwater) in Ipogun village which were boreholes and wells. Water samples were collected from two (2) different settlement in the village which were one well and one borehole water sample from the police station area in Ipogun and 2 wells and 2 boreholes from the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) national rural water supply programme. The physicochemical, heavy metals and microbiological analysis were determined using standard procedures. The groundwater samples from each settlement contain normal p.H of 6-8.5. Some water samples were soft (below 60mg/l) while some were moderately hard (60-120mg/l); the hardness of the water samples were within the permissible range of the WHO standard (60-180mg/l). The conductivity levels of the water samples was below the WHO standard of 150-500µS/cm. The water samples were slightly acidic because all p.H obtained from the water samples were below 7.0. The alkalinity levels of the water samples (4mg/l-15.4mg/l) were below the WHO permissible standard of 20-200mg/l. Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (ASS) was used to analysis the concentration of heavy metals in the water sample to check for the presence of heavy metals such as cadmium (Cd), Lead (Pb), Zinc (Zn), Iron (Fe) and Copper (Cu). The concentration of Cadmium (Cd) was above the WHO standard, BH1, BH3, WL2 and WL3 showed low concentration of Lead (Pb) while BH2 and WL1 contained concentration of Lead within the WHO standard. All water samples had concentration of Zinc (Zn) and Iron (Fe) below the WHO standard while Copper (Cu) was not detected in all the water samples from Ipogun. The microbiological results showed that the water samples from Ipogun showed high bacteria pollution and can be attributed to both the shallow depth at which water is tapped, settlement pattern and land use practices. The bacteria pollution of shallow wells around Ipogun is anthropogenic in origin. The Escherchia coli in the water samples shows that there is presence of fecal contamination. Proteus vulgaris, Serratia mascescen, Bacillus cereus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are opportunistic bacteria. Conclusively, regular and quantified monitoring of geochemical characteristics of ground water for sustainable water management as well as good sanitary condition of wells should be maintained at all times to minimize the contamination of the well water. There can be speciation of cadmium in the water which can provide different toxicological effects.


Barr. Kemi Omodanisi, University of Ibadan

Non-custodial sentencing developed owing to international recognition that imprisonment though a legal sanction for offenders does not constitute a panacea for crime prevention, rehabilitation and re-integration of offenders. Also, the challenges of most prison systems in many countries such as: overcrowding, poor hygiene, sexual abuse, sexual and reproductive ill-health and outdated facilities have adverse effect on physical and mental health of prisoners. These impede the yield towards educational and vocational training and affect the likelihood of future adjustment to an ordinary life outside incarceration. More so, the negative impact of long term incarceration on an inmate’s family and work is another factor that led to the development of non-custodial sentencing.

Non-custodial sentences are codified in international and domestic frameworks. In Nigeria, with the aim of shifting the criminal justice administration from the retributive penal justice system to a problem solving approach, these sentences as innovations are codified in the Administration and Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015 and re-enforced by the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS) Act, 2019. They include: Restitution and Compensation, Probation, Parole, Suspended Sentence, Community Service, Fines and Plea Bargaining.

Regardless of these innovations by the ACJA, 2015 and NCS Act, 2019, some of these measures are yet to gain full integration in the Nigerian criminal justice system, considering that there are hardly pronouncements on these measures. However, some states such as Lagos State and Oyo State that have taken steps to enact their Administration of Criminal Law have utilized these measures especially as it relates to applying community service for simple offences such as traffic offences.

In view of these, this presentation seeks to examine the application of these measures in Nigeria bearing in mind factors and challenges that impedes the application of these measures. It will also consider judicial attitude in their application, regulations as well as policies in place to enhance the application of these measures. Comparatively, this proposed research will consider the application of these measures in Kenya and United Kingdom were there are robust judicial activism, laws, policies and regulations on the application of these measures. This will help Nigeria borrow ideas from these jurisdictions and proffer solutions to the ineffective application of non-custodial measures in Nigeria.


Dr. Elizabeth I. Omodanisi, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

History of Moringa 

Moringa oleifera(MO) is native to South Asia and has spread to the Tropics. This plant is in the annals of Ayurvedic Medicine since 2000 years BC. Studies has shown that MO has been able to manage so many health complications and it is nutritious, thus, the name Miracle tree. It is referred to by several indigenous name based on location. This plant is able to grow and thrive under several climate conditions. 

Figure 1: Moringa oleifera leaves, flower and fresh pods

Components of Moringa 

This plant has gained the attention of so many researchers who studied this plant and elucidated the benefits and efficacy of this plant.  Moringa oleifera is rich in Antioxidants which combat free radicals that cause oxidative stress and several diseases . MO is high in quercetin which lowers blood pressure, contains chlorogenic acid which helps to reduce blood sugar levels, antibacterial, antidiabetic, wound healing, properties. MO is use in the management of several ailments such as, intestine ulcer, heart problems, high blood pressure, stomach ailments, asthma, arthritis, rheumatism, cancer, diabetes, constipation, diarrhea, seizures, intestinal spasms, headache, symptoms of menopause,  kidney stones etc

Nutritive Properties of Different Parts of Moringa

Leaves– contain proteins, glycosides, Mineral (CA, Mg, P, K, Cu, Fe, S), Vitamins (A, C, B1), isothiocyantes, alkaloids, thiamine, riboflavin, tannins, sterols, isoqucertin, kaemfericitin, amino acids

Seeds -amino acids, fiber, proteins, fats, oleic acids, pterygospermin, fatty acids- linoleic acids, hehenic acids, minerals, cabohydrates, phenolic compounds

Rootbark-Alkaloids, Minerals, phenolic compounds, carbohydrates, proteins

Flowers-Calcium, potassium, amino acids, protein, flavonoids, glucosinolates

Pods– fiber, fatty acids, ash, protein, carbohydrates. Tannin, terpenoids, saponins, flavonoids

Where can I get Moringa 

Moringa is well distributed(and grown) in East, West, South Africa, tropical Asia, Caribbean, Florida’s ecological zones, due to the favourable climate found in these zones. Moringa can be purchased in local pharmacies as a tea, powder and/or capsule. (Popoola & Obembe,2013).

Who can take Moringa

Moringa Leaf is safe to use in all ages and genders, but cautionary measures should be taken in people diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

Moringa products 

There are so many over the counter Moringa products such as Moringa capsules, Moringa tea, Moringa powder, Moringa seed oil.  

Figure 2: Moringa products


 How can I use moringa/ Preparation of Moringa 

The seed(green pods) of Moringa can be consumed in a food dish either cooked or roasted, while the moringa leaf can be enjoyed as a delicacy once it is well dried. Moringa powder can be used as a warm drink(tea) for those tea lovers. Those who prefer cold drink can blend the moringa leaf to form a delicious and healthy moringa juice.

Figure 3:Meals prepared from Moringa leaves

For what should I use moringa / Uses of Moringa

Researchers have discovered many benefits of moringa oleifera and have proven efficacy in treating certain diseases .


Moringa has antiasthmatic properties that improve lung function,  protect against bronchial constrictions, in adults . Researchers found that taking three grams of moringa, twice daily for a period of three weeks decreases the severity of asthma and also decreases allergies.

Diabetes Mellitus

Researchers discovered some significant effects of moringa on diabetes mellitus. It has been proven that taking the drumstick(seed) or leaves of moringa with each meal decreases post-meal sugar levels in bloodstream of diabetic patients not taking diabetic medications.


Early Researchers found that malnourished children gained healthy weight when adding moringa powder to meal for period of 2 months.


Moringa is found to significantly increase body mass index of HIV/Aids patients, when taking moringa powder for 6 consecutive months, although the direct effects on the immune function is still unclear.

Other uses of moringa include:  heart diseases; mild gingivitis; athletes foot, dandruff; wound healing; to name a few. More research is required to identify the mechanism of action of moringa in treating these above mentioned ailments and diseases.


Mgbodile Florence C. (Ph. D student), University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Metals have been in existence long before its first discovery by the ancient man, approximately 5000 years BC. Over the next 2000 years which marked the Bronze Age, human advanced in their use of metals for various purposes. Metals find applications in  everyday use, ranging from your kitchen utensil to electrical cables, jewellery, coins, batteries, vehicles and even in some thermometers to mention but a few. Can you imagine a world without metals? I bet not! For the purpose of this program however, we will be focusing on heavy metals. What do you know about heavy metals? You might want to take a guess, ‘metals that are heavy,’ well; you are pretty much close. They are group of metals with atomic density greater than 5g/cm3. Heavy metal pollution occurs when heavy metals and their toxicants accumulate in an environment up to a concentration considered abnormally high. There are up to 50 heavy metals relevant in toxicological studies but seven have the most immediate concern according to the WHO and they include cadmium, chromium, cobalt , lead, nickel, mercury and zinc; these metals when they accumulate are toxic to living organisms including human beings. Growth and developmental abnormalities in addition to carcinogenesis and renal dysfunction are some of the longterm effects of heavy metal accumulation in humans. 

“Have you ever wondered how wastes from metal mines are treated or where they are discarded? Has it ever occurred to you that your surrounding environments might be battling heavy metal pollution? What if edible plants are grown on a heavy metal polluted agricultural land or seafood is sourced from such aquatic environment, have you ever thought about the dangers of consuming those? These are some of the burning questions environmentally conscious individuals might harbour and you should too”. 

Heavy metal contamination is a major environmental problem due to its toxicity. Soils in some urban areas are affected by high levels of heavy metals as a result of increasing industrialization. Mining operations often generate large quantities of waste materials most of which contain high concentrations of heavy metals such as copper, zinc, iron, manganese, nickel, lead and cadmium. These metals can result in widespread contamination of soils and water bodies. Today, contamination of soils, groundwater, sediments, surface water, and air with heavy metals represents a serious threat to the environment and health of all living organisms since most metals are highly toxic and not easily degraded, unlike organic molecules, they thus indefinitely persist in the environment.  Therefore, cleanup of metal contaminated sites is necessary for environmental and human health preservation. In this regard, several physicochemical methods such as precipitation, ion exchange, reverse osmosis, electro dialysis, and ultrafiltration are commonly used to remove metal ions from aqueous media. However, most of these methods are very costly, ineffective, and environmentally destructive, which is why alternative processing methods, such as those using bacterial biomass is a valid choice to consider. 

 The big question then is: ‘How do we rid the environment of heavy metal contamination in a cost-effective manner without jeopardizing its safety afterwards?’ This is where our research comes in; we are seeking to evaluate the use of soil bacteria for the bio removal of heavy metals from polluted sites and further harness them to this effect.  Since environments heavily contaminated with heavy metals harbour organisms that can deal with the pollution, we sourced our soil samples from metal dumpsites. These soil bacteria can convert the toxic metals to less toxic states and this property makes them potentially useful in bioremediation and other industrial applications. Some of these microorganisms are also plant growth promoters. Since agricultural soils are equally affected by heavy metal pollution, using the bacteria as sources of inoculum can play a dual role of heavy metal detoxification as well as growth promotion. We isolated several strains of bacteria and subsequently screened them for lead, copper, and cadmium tolerance by exposing them to increasing concentrations of the heavy metals. As expected, these bacteria were highly tolerant to the heavy metals studied.

Isolated strains were characterized and identified by molecular techniques, and were found to be closely related to Pseudomonas asiatica, Sphingobacterium caeni, Burkholderia cenocepacia, Achromobacter ruhlandii, Klebsiella sp and Micrococcus sp. They were also found to be highly tolerant to high NaCl and sugar concentrations and in addition, produce a wide range of industrially relevant enzymes such as protease, pectinase, amylase, cellulase, xylanase, lipase and inulinase. The properties of the isolated bacteria strains underscore their potentials as bioremediation agents and possible candidates for producing halotolerant and osmotolerant enzymes that currently dominate the world enzyme market.

 Microorganisms have their good sides which can be maximally exploited to our own advantage. This is the case for our soil bacteria which when thoroughly studied can be applied in solving some of the major challenges facing our environment, of which heavy metal pollution is one of them.


Dr. Kofoworola A. Olatunde, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta

In most locations within Nigeria, it is common to see streets littered with solid waste. Given the efforts put in place by different stakeholders towards efficient waste management, it raises the question: can we really mange our solid waste?

The answer is yes.

For a start, what is solid waste?

A solid waste is any material that is not needed, is not allocated a value and requires disposal because of the space it occupies. This means that the concept of solid waste is subjective as my neighbor’s waste may be what I require or value.

The composition of solid waste varies with location depending on the consumption pattern and financial wherewithal of residents. Here in Nigeria, our solid waste averagely has a high proportion of food waste and organics which decompose with time. Other constituents include plastics, textiles, paper, glass and metals.

Waste generation is inevitable as long as we continue to live. We must therefore find efficient but ways to dispose them and ensure they do not end up on the streets as they currently do. Some problems associated with improper solid waste management include

  1. Loss of aesthetics
  2. Water , soil and air  pollution
  3. Proliferation of rodents and disease transmitting organisms
  4. Diseases and Infections

What can we do to improve our current solid waste management practices? We must adopt the 3R principles of solid waste management. The 3R is an acronym for reduce, reuse and recycle.

Reduce: This is the most efficient approach to managing our solid waste. It ensures we generate less waste that requires eventual diposal. We can reduce our waste if we

  • Buy only needed materials
  • Rent, borrow or barter goods
  • Avoid disposables
  • Buy re-usables
  • Use emails instead of paper correspondence
  • Refuse packaging when possible

Reuse: Upon generating waste, we should reuse materials that are reusable, either as initially used or for a different purpose. We can achieve this when we

  • Buy drinks in refillable glass bottles
  • Buy groceries in reusable bags
  • Give away clothes, furniture and other items you no longer use
  • Pack a lunch
  • Use plastics and packaging  as crafts for children

Some of our solid wastes are not reusable. They can however be converted into other materials that can be used for new purposes. Different recycling strategies are available. We should adopt viable strategies that are environmentally friendly and economically viable. A major approach that should be encouraged is composting due to the high proportion of food and vegetable materials in our solids wastes. This can be done at the household or communal levels. Compost, the product of the composting process can be used as soil amendments for backyard gardens or farm. A judicious adoption of the 3R principle will help us toward achieving a clean and waste free environment.


Dr. Esther O. Makinde, University of Lagos

Remote Sensing was used to carry out this study. Remote sensing is a general term that describes the action of obtaining information about an object with a sensor that is physically separated from that object. Such sensors rely upon the detection of energy emitted from or reflected by the object. The term remote sensing includes all activities from recording, processing, analyzing, interpreting, and finally obtaining useful information from the data generated by the remote sensing systems.

Remote sensing systems are mostly used for surveying, mapping, navigation, aerospace, artificial intelligence, monitoring etc. of resources and the environment.

‘Eyes (Sensors) in the Sky’


Without direct contact, some means of transferring information through space must be utilized. In remote sensing, information transfer is accomplished by use of electromagnetic radiation (EMR).


Land Satellite (Landsat) from United State Geological Survey was used to assess the green space land cover, spectral indices, biomass of Biscay and carbon sequestered from 1999 to 2019 within the same season, with a view to proffering nature based solutions.

Left: Landsat images;    Right: Biscay Province Extracted

Classified Images

In addition, other indicators for measurement were adopted. Some of them include Normalized Differential Vegetation Index, Enhanced Vegetation Index, Normalized Differential Built-up Index etc. They were used to further analyze the satellite images and to compute for changes within the three decades under review and conclusions were made.

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