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UNILAG targets Africa’s research hub in five years, establishes biodiversity conservation center



The University of Lagos (UNILAG) has expressed its commitment to become the research hub for Africa in the next five years.

Indeed, the citadel of learning has already established six research centres to help accelerate multi-disciplinary research in the institution.

In pursuance of this agenda, the school’s faculty of science recently inaugurated a Centre for Biodiversity Conservation And Ecosystem Management (CEBCEM).

Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, at the inauguration ceremony, said: “This inauguration re-emphasises the new policy drive of the University, to make the University of Lagos the research hub for Africa in the next five years. This was amply exemplified by two of our centers, who recently won the bid to host the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence.”

He said the centre was established to bring together a wide range of skills and expertise for scientific researches on biodiversity, which provide the basis for conservation, management and sustainable use of the Nigerian flora and fauna.

“The centre provides a platform for education and research of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty in the related fields of Science, Social Science, Arts and Science-based Education courses.

This again, emphasises the importance that the University places on multi –disciplinary approach in research,” he said.

According to the centre’s director, Prof. Bola Oboh, the conservation centre is set to promote and coordinate biodiversity research in Nigeria; advance domestic and international research collaboration; integrate biological, biotechnological, ecological, and socio-economical disciplines in pursuit of academic excellence and innovation; and provide the scientific foundation for the conservation, education, and sustainable use of biodiversity.

She added that the centre intends to expand the knowledge of Nigerian biodiversity, entrench environmental sustainability and provide leadership and innovation in conservation and evolutionary biology.

“The major aim is to focus on the management of biodiversity, conservation and sustainable ecosystem management through collaborative research,” she said.

The keynote speaker, Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Abdullahi Baffa, said biodiversity is under threat in Nigeria and globally while plants and animals species seems to be more precarious to this threat.

“The action of especially anthropogeny is believed to have serious negative impact on biodiversity leading to genetic erosion and consequent extinction of our valuable plants and animal’s species,” he said.

He noted that, the greatest proximate threats to biodiversity are habitat loss, which is a direct result of human population growth and resource use.

“Biodiversity continues to be threatened and in consequence, it affects the survival of humans. Other threats to biodiversity and to ecosystems include the over-utilization of plant and animal species; the introduction of non-native species; and pollution.

Many types of human-caused pollution are a threat to biodiversity,” he said.

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