By Gabriel Dike
The Board of Trustees, Centre for the Advancement of Research in Diabetes in Nigeria, has concluded plans to establish a diabetes research centre at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB).
In a statement, Head, Directorate of Public Relations, Mrs. Emi’ Alawode, said the centre would be established towards fostering research and the use of medicinal plants for the benefit of diabetic patients; both in Nigeria and Africa. Announcing this was the Grand Patron of the Centre and former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, during a working visit of the Board of Trustees to the land allocated for the centre by FUNAAB.
Obasanjo, who was also an honourary awardee of the university, recalled what brought about the idea of establishing a diabetic centre, stating that he believed Nigeria had not done enough in the area of research for medicinal plants and diabetic patients, adding that another reason was that Emeritus Prof Oladipo Akinkugbe, who is the chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the centre was a good creator of ideas.
The former President confirmed the efficacy and effectiveness of herbal medicines, thereby calling on stakeholders and practitioners to promote its cause through research and collaboration. He said pharmaceutical companies have not extracted up to 20 per cent of needed “active ingredients” in roots and herbs, to cure ailments and diseases, while confirming that China and South Africa had made appreciable progress in the field.
While advising stakeholders to wake up to their responsibilities, the former President said the initiative would be extended to all universities in Nigeria and Africa, adding that he was happy that the project would be taking-off from FUNAAB, which is located Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. The grand patron of the centre urged the university to assist in carrying out the perimeter survey, topographic map and directional sign posts for the sites, while the research centre would handle the fencing, stating that staffing would be done between the centre and the university.
The chairman, BoT of the centre, emeritus Prof Akinkugbe said the project, which was conceived nine years ago, would promote collaborative research for the promotion of town and gown, offer curative mechanism for diabetic patients across Africa and ensure health-free society, adding that “you need this kind of collaboration in the universities for the overall development and the town and the gown, like that of the University of Ibadan and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture”.
The emeritus professor of Medicine commended FUNAAB for taking the bull by the horn, to host the research centre, saying the University was doing a unique thing and beating other institutions.