Academic researchers in Nigeria have protested against their exclusion in the search for solution to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
According to them, as the brain box of medical research in the country, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research has both the manpower and facility to coordinate all coronavirus-related cure and therapeutic research geared towards acceptable medical processes and procedures.
The researchers made their position known in a protest letter by the Academic Staff Union of Research Institutes to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID – 19, Boss Mustpha.
“We make bold to state that NIMR is capable of conducting more 1000 COVID-19 tests and provision of test kits. The institute is also poised to coordinate an amalgam of indigenous Nigerian researchers in the medical, pharmaceutical and herbal-pharmacology health field to spearhead a reliable and dependable treatment and therapy for coronavirus,”, they stated.
ASURI in the letter signed by its Secretary-General, Dr Theophilus Ndubuaku, dated May 8, 2020 and obtained by WE4WE REPORTS in Abuja on Thursday, queried the gaping disconnect between the political managers of coronavirus and Nigerian researchers as the nation and indeed the whole world searches for a solution to the global health emergency.
The letter was also copied to the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu; DG of Nigerian Institute for Medical Research and DG of Nigerian Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development.
ASURI said, “For Nigeria to systematically approach the cure for COVID-19, it is germane to harness all leading research for a possible cure of the virus. This has become imminent given the non-engagement and the seeming sidelining of NIMR despite its capacity to provide adequate mitigation programmes in the fight against coronavirus.
“As the engine room and, indeed, the brain box of Nigeria’s medical research, NIMR has both the manpower and facility to coordinate all coronavirus-related cure and therapeutic research geared towards acceptable medical processes and procedures.
“This is also in line with global practices as medical and academic research institutes have been at the forefront in combating COVID-19 globally. As a research and scientific-driven organisation, we of the ASURI deem it necessary that if the Nigerian government is to make any strategic and tangible contribution in the mitigation, prevention and treatment of coronavirus, there is cogent need to advance home-grown research.
“Following the public statement of the SGF on the need for Nigeria to focus more on research and the recent outcry by the Lagos State Government on the shortage of test kits and hiccups in mitigating COVID-19, we are encouraged to notify on the need for the Federal Government as well as the state governments to recognise the very relevance of the NIMR, among others, to the nation’s immediate need for testing, certification of Personal Protective Equipment treatment and research on coronavirus.”