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We are examining claims on COVID -19 cure, says Onu

By Segun Olaniyi, Abuja
19 May 2020   |   9:37 am
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu has said that the ministry has begun verification claims for the cure of COVID-19.

(FILES) This file photo taken on April 29, 2020 shows an engineer holding a plastic model of the COVID-19 coronavirus at the Quality Control Laboratory at the Sinovac Biotech facilities in Beijing. – Sinovac Biotech is conducting one of the five clinical trials of potential vaccines that have been authorised in China. China would make any coronavirus vaccine it developed a “global public good” once it was put into use, President Xi Jinping told the World Health Assembly on May 18, 2020. (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP)

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu has said that the ministry has begun verification claims for the cure of COVID-19.

He made this known at the quarterly management meeting of the ministry and its agencies in Abuja on Tuesday.

It would be recalled that the ministry had offered the sum of N36 million to scientists and innovators that could find the cure for COVID-19 and Lassa fever.

Onu said all submissions for the COVID-19 cure have been directed to the Academy of Science for verification as well as recommendation to the ministry, adding that the ministry is working hard to develop home-grown solutions to help manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

He assured that encouraging results have been submitted and in no distant time, details on the submissions would be made known to the nation.

According to him, for Nigeria to have increased foreign earnings, the country must look inwards for solutions to its problems and export the same to other countries.

The Minister of State in the Ministry, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi said the two ministers are working to procure huge grants in order to support research and development efforts in the Science and Technology sector. While calling on the Directors and DGs of the ministry to show more commitment in their work so as to realize the mandate of the ministry.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Mohammed Bello Umar admonished the DGs of the ministry’s agencies to highlight priority areas in the preparation and execution of their budget.

In another development, the ministry said it is partnering the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS) to set-up a joint committee to review science and technology reports that have so far been submitted to the Federal Government.

The committee was inaugurated at a high-level meeting held via skype between the Institute and the Ministry at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology in Abuja on Tuesday

At the meeting, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu said the need to re-evaluate the reports of the Institute since its inception, was important to the development of the country.

He described NIPPS as the Apex Think-tank of the country, as key Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the Organized Private Sector (OPS,) and the Armed Forces, send their executives to the institute to help analyze and proffer solutions to challenges facing the nation.

The minister said it was for the overall good of Nigeria, for the Ministry and NIPPS to collaborate and look for a way to help Nigeria surmount its challenges, especially during this Covid-19 pandemic.

He charged members of the committee to analyze future reports of NIPPS and that the committee should submit their findings in the next 12 weeks.

Earlier the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Mohammed Bello Umar, read out the terms of reference of the committee to the members and advised them to follow them assiduously.

The chairman of the committee Dr Peter Ekweozor, who is an alumni of the Institute, assured the minister and the permanent secretary, that the committee will live up to its mandate and will deliver a timely and excellent report to the ministry, that will reposition Nigeria on the path to greatness.