President Muhammadu Buhari has commended Nigerian scientists, researchers, others for rising up to challenges and proffering solution to the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Muhammadu Buhari gave the commendation in a speech delivered on his behalf by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN at the opening of the 2021 Technology and Innovation Expo themed “Science, Technology and Innovation for Economic Recovery and Sustainability Amidst COVID-19 challenges”.
Commending the heroic contribution of Nigerian researchers and scientists in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, President Buhari said “the COVID-19 Pandemic has asked tough questions of our national capabilities in the area of research and innovation. I am gratified to report that we are competently answering these questions through the commendable efforts of our researchers and scientists.”
Continuing, he stated that “there, a team led by Professor Christian Happi, analysed the sample and was able within 48 hours to share the very first genome sequence of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from Africa with the global science community.
Stressing the significance of the scientific breakthroughs, President Buhari said “not so long ago, test samples had to be flown out of the country for examination. This is no longer the case because thanks to the efforts of our medical scientists and agencies like the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) we now have the capacity to process samples internally.
Last December, the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) launched a new set of COVID-19 test kits that can produce results in 57 minutes. The new kit was designed by Joseph Shaibu, a molecular virologist at NIMR.”
“These are a few examples of how Nigerian researchers, scientists and technologists are answering the demand of the present moment and providing solutions to our problems.
“As a Government, we are committed to providing an enabling environment for the Science and Technology Sector in order to unlock the enormous potential for innovation, wealth creation and economic growth.”
The President expressed confidence that “through hard work and determination and by effectively harnessing our potential in science, technology and innovation, we will overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and build a nation that meets the aspirations of all our citizens and earns the respect of the world.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, acknowledged the support of the President and the commitment of the administration in enhancing the growth of Science and Technology in the country.
He expressed confidence that with improved funding for the sector, Nigerian researchers will proffer home-grown solutions to some of the challenges affecting the country.
Shortly after presenting awards to winners of the 774 Young Nigerian Scientists Presidential Award (774-YONSPA), the Vice President embarked on a tour of the exhibition pavilion in the company of Ministers of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu; Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Pauline Tallen; Minister of State for Science and Technology, Mohammed Abdullahi; the Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Dr Emmanuel Akabe, among other guests.
The 774-YONSPA award winners include Edeani Izuchukwu Godswill from Enugu State won the first position; Akinwande Oluwatomisin from Ondo State came second, while Etukudoh Emmanuel Imeh from the FCT won the third position.