Steve Azaiki, a member of the House of Representative has moved a motion asking the Federal Government to send a delegation of academia to Madagascar and Senegal to monitor and study the COVID-19 breakthrough recorded by the two nations.
Noting that Nigeria needs to invest in reaserching so as to retain its space as the giant of Africa, Azaiki who moved the motion explained that Nigeria must be counted as one of the countries making contributions in science and research to find the cure and vaccine for COVID–19
The lower chamber also asked for a N15bn Coronavirus Emergency Fund for Nigerian Universities and Tertiary Institutions.
Noting that COVID-19 has further exposed Nigeria’s vulnerability, Azaike said :
“Nigeria must be counted as one of the countries making contributions in science and research to find the cure and vaccine for COVID–19 and to achieve this objective there is need to provide support and funding to universities and research institutions through special emergency funding to enable them carry out such responsibilities. ”
He added that the “COVID–19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Nigeria’s universities and tertiary education system and without major mitigation, like discovering an effective therapy or vaccine, mass testing and a new strategic infusion of federal funding, the landscape of Nigeria’s university and tertiary institutions may be forever changed.”
Meanwhile, the lawmaker commended some selected schools in Nigeria that have made efforts in the fight against the Virus.
“We must take cognizance of the efforts by some Nigerian institutions like University of Benin (UNIBEN) Ahmadu Bello University Zaria (ABU) and Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) in contributing to the ongoing fight against COVID19, where researchers have produced clinically tested low-cost and effective ventilators.”
Adding that, “strategic additional funding could increase their capacity in this regard.”
The lower chambers Further the federal government to set up an Infectious Diseases Research Institute in 6 selected Federal Government universities across the Six Geo-Political Zones of the country.
Resolving to urge the Federal Government to empower some special universities to build the capacity to do the required testing to meet up with the national demand on testing, The chamber also mandated the committees on Tertiary Education, Emergency and Disaster Preparedness and Science and Technology to ensure implementation, while also seeking the concurrence of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.