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Afe Babalola, Elumelu task researchers, private sector on solution to COVID-19

By Muyiwa Adeyemi (Ibadan) and Helen Oji (Lagos)
27 March 2020   |   4:07 am
Elder statesman and Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola (SAN) has challenged scientists in institution to engage in research and find a lasting solution to COVID-19.


‘How Fidelity Bank checked spread of virus’
Elder statesman and Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola (SAN) has challenged scientists in institution to engage in research and find a lasting solution to COVID-19.

Insisting that the pandemic was threatening to ground the country to a halt, he stressed the need for the institution’s researchers to join other scientists in other parts of the world to combat the scourge.

He lamented that the pandemic has led the Federal Government to shut down all educational institutions in the country, restrict social activities to between 20 and 50 persons and induced partial shutdown of some states in the country.

Babalola challenged scientists in ABUAD’s Sciences and Medicine, Engineering Colleges to take advantage of the one-month closure of schools to engage in research, provide workable solutions and show that they were globally relevant.

He argued that Nigerian academics often relax after obtaining their doctorate degrees when PhDs should actually be the beginning of research and contributions to knowledge and service to humanity, as it obtained in other parts of the world.

“I have always said that I am a big dreamer. I dream big. It is not a crime to dream, but it is a sin not to dream. I said much about this in my Autobiography titled, “Impossibility Made Possible.” For me, I don’t believe anything is impossible,” he said.

However, Group Chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA) PLC, Tony Elumelu has canvassed active private sector collaboration in stemming the spread of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Elumelu stated this while proposing a donation of over N5 billion ($14 million), through the UBA Foundation, as part of its effort to support the fight against spread of the disease in Africa.

In a statement issued by Head, External and Media Relations of the bank, Ramon Nasir, Elumelu said, “This is a time when we must all play our part. This global epidemic must bring citizens, governments and business leaders together and quickly.

Meanwhile, the management of Fidelity Bank Plc has disclosed that one of its staff members, who was returning from holidays in the United Kingdom tested positive for COVID-19, but the bank’s proactive measures averted its possible spread to others.

In a statement issued by its Divisional Head, Brand & Communications, Charles Aigbe yesterday, it declared that the staff went into self-isolation and testing in line with the bank’s policy that mandates staff/family members who have traveled overseas in recent time to self isolate for 14 days and test for the virus before retiring to work.

The test retuned positive and he was immediately moved to the Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC) for further examination and treatment.

Although the employee has not been to work since his return, the contact tracing embarked upon by the bank in the wake of the discovery showed that he bright back items for two colleagues who have also been made to self-isolate and test.

The management of the bank ensured that other measures were deployed, including temporary closure of the office where the official worked.

“As we see a rapidly increasing number of cases of Coronavirus in Nigeria and Africa, the private sector has to work with various governments in stemming the spread of the global pandemic.

“We commend the efforts of governments and we are keen on partnering and contribute our resources to the collective effort, that will ensure the response to the pandemic is swift and effective.”