Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
The Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, inaugurated on Monday a ministerial committee on COVID-19 herbal remedies and natural compounds, in a bid to find a home-grown solution for the disease.
Onu stated that the quest for a home-grown remedy for COVID-19 by the Ministry is in tandem with President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire to diversify the economy.
A statement released in Abuja by the Ministry indicated that the ministerial committee, chaired by the President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Emeritus Prof Motso Onuoha, was inaugurated by the Minister in Abuja.
The Minister, in the statement, stated that COVID-19 remains a threat to the health and wellbeing of Nigerians, as well as the national economy, reiterating urgent need to develop a home grown remedy and vaccine to tackle it.
He urged the committee, made up of eminent scientists and fellows of Nigerian Academy of Science is to authenticate claims by researchers, scientists and traditional medical practitioners of cure and herbal remedy for COVID-19 .
The Minister asked members of the committee to vigorously scrutinize and evaluate all claims brought before it, charging them to identify the remedies with the brightest prospects for providing protection and healing to affected persons or those at the risk of contracting the dreaded disease.
He said: ‘I have no doubt that the discovery of a cure for COVID-19 in Nigeria would enhance the standing of our dear nation in the comity of nations.
‘It will also accord Nigerian scientists deserved recognition and help regenerate foreign exchange earnings for the nation as well as enable a knowledge economy that will facilitate economic growth and sustainable national development.’
Onu also said that the Ministry is tirelessly working with all relevant stakeholders, particularly the Federal Ministry of Health, to find a solution to COVID-19.
He added that Nigeria with 172 other countries has been making frantic efforts for an enhanced access to COVID-19 vaccines by participating in COVAX, a global initiative to provide worldwide access to safe and effective vaccines.
Onu insisted that COVAX currently has the world’s largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio, including nine candidate vaccines; seven of which are currently in clinical trials, with a further nine under evaluation and conversations underway with major producers.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Ministerial committee and President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Emeritus Prof Motso Onuoha, said that Nigerians have the capacity to find solutions to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
He promised that committee will work closely with all relevant stakeholders to scrutinize and verify claims on the cure for COVID-19.
He further appreciated the vigorous efforts of the Ministers and the Ministry to create a viable solution to the pandemic, and assured that the committee will work faithfully in discharging its duties, adding that the trust reposed on members of the committee would be justified.