By Okon Bassey
The Uniuyo Alumni Association has donated N5 million to the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Akwa Ibom State Council and the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Uyo, as research support towards finding both preventive and curative solutions to COVID-19
Making the initial donation of N2 million on behalf of the association at the Faculty of Pharmacy yesterday, the International President of the Association, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke charged the institutions to explore, research and come up with local solutions to the pandemic.
“All hands must be on deck both for preventive and curative purposes.
“This donation is to encourage both the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Akwa Ibom State Council and the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Uyo to commence research on possible cure of the pandemic.
“We are today making available the initial sum of N2 million and the balance to make up the total sum of N5 million will soon be made available,” he said
The Association’s president noted that universities around the world are working tirelessly as well as sharing information to bring an end to the pandemic, and there was therefore an urgent need for the institutions to do same.
Luke who predicted a post COVID-19 era when countries of the world would become very nationalistic in approach, challenged the federal and state governments, corporate organisations, institutions, public spirited individuals and the political class to concentrate on funding researches towards securing a lasting solution to the dreaded pandemic.
He expressed optimism that in the ways and manners of God, the one true cure of this global pandemic could be found in Akwa Ibom State and harnessed in the laboratories of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Uyo.
His words, “This particular strain of the virus was unknown to man but now it is here.
“Our researchers and research institutions need to rise to the occasion in challenging this pandemic that threatens our collective existence
“Let us not think that the cure to Coronavirus will come or can only come from abroad, it may be right here with us in Akwa Ibom and it is in your hands to bring it forth.”
“As an individual, when I look into that future, I see an era where local remedies will become indispensable as there will be increasing global inclination to nationalism.
“It will be everyone to themself. As foreign nations search for vaccines, they will only put themselves first with their medications. When they finally consider sending these vaccines our way, they will be doing so on their own terms.
“We have therefore never had a better opportunity than now to wake from our years of slumber.
“I am using this opportunity to implore our state government and corporate bodies to invest in research expertise in the University of Uyo. I am also calling once more on our diaspora alumni to not forget home.
“Our institutions need them, both their skills and financial support. I am very optimistic that our pharmacy faculty and the college of medicine for instance can bring the solution that our entire country needs at this time.”
While charging the Institutions to put in their best and ensure appropriate use of the funds, he reassured them of continued support of the Alumni.
Receiving the grant, Dean of Pharmacy, Emmanuel I. Etim, thanked the Alumni for the very thoughtful initiative.
He applauded them for their show of solidarity while acknowledging that the desire for scientific work was always there, but was hampered by the paucity of funds.
He pledged that the funds would be used judiciously.
On his part, Chairman, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Akwaowoh Akpabio appreciated the gesture and prayed God’s wisdom on the leadership of the Alumni.
Akpabio said he was personally disappointed that the Federal Government of Nigeria had to turn to Madagascar, instead of funding local researches for cure.
He assured that the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria was already in the laboratory on Covid-19, and considered the donation from the Alumni a huge push and a motivation to do more.