James Ojo, Abuja
The Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI) has appealed to the Federal Government to use part of the money received as donations to fight COVID-19 to fund health research institutions.
In a memorandum to the Federal Government on CONVID-19 pandemic delivered to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who doubles as the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on the pandemic, the union proposed a minimum of 20 per cent of total monetary donations to be allocated to the funding of research by all the nation’s research institutes whose mandate related to medical, pharmaceutical and herbal research.
“Anything short of this would amount to putting all the fingers in one’s mouth without saving for the raining day in terms of adequate preparation, even though it is not our prayer, because after COVID-19, there will be another disease,” said the union’s secretary general, Dr. Theophilus Ndubuaku.
Ndubuaku informed the SGF that there are five Nigerian research institutes which should be relevant in the tackling COVID-19 challenges, but lamented that they were sidelined. He listed the research institutes as the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), National Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research (NITR), Nigerian Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA) and the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), which has Bioresources Development Centres (BIODEC) in 30 states.
“We are only reading about meaningful research on COVID-19 in foreign countries even though we have capable hands in the research institutes in Nigeria whose mandates relate to medical research. It is worthy of note that one of Nigeria’s mandate research institutes, the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), which has the capacity to bail us out, had been conducting studies on COVID-19, even before its outbreak. Besides, NIMR had a couple of its own test kits acquired through collaborative efforts with foreign donors while the government was still scrambling to put things together.”