Describing Nigerian scientists as worthy assets to be nurtured, President Muhammadu Buhari has observed that the COVID-19 pandemic revealed the potentials, talents and the creativity of the nation’s scientists.
In a speech delivered on the President’s behalf by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at a public forum organized by the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, the President commended Nigerian engineers for the diversity of their experience and competence.
According to him, “I think the pandemic has truly opened up the immense talents and creativity of Nigerian scientists and engineers and if the current momentum is supported, the next few years could be incredibly exciting.”
He went on to commend the academy and its membership saying, “we are proud of Nigerian Academy of Engineers; your membership is made up of accomplished Nigerian engineers across all disciplines industry sectors of engineering in Nigeria and in the diaspora. This provides it with the depth and diversity of experience and competence to provide advice on virtually all areas of engineering in the country.”
Speaking on the important role of Science, Technology and Engineering in dealing with the pandemic, the President noted that the world turned to these disciplines “for immediate solutions and answers. I am sure that as engineers, you will agree with me that one of the most poignant lessons of the response to the pandemic is the critical interdependence of science and engineering.”
Giving an update on production of a local vaccine, the President noted that the African Centre of Excellence for the Genomics of Infectious Disease located at Redeemer’s University Ede, has “developed an efficacious rapid test for COVID and have been working on a vaccine in collaboration with DIOSynVax (Digital Immune Optimised Synthetic Vaccines), Cambridge UK, using the DIOSynVax genomic based technology.
“There are also efforts going on therapeutics of various kinds. The development of vaccines, tests and therapeutics these days are aided by automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence, so this is a strong point of synergy between science and engineering.”
Citing the opportunities presented during the lockdown period, President Buhari stated the “huge potential for the creation of effective technologies for tele-work activities, including Telemedicine and Fintech.”
The President recalled his Executive Order Nos 5 which directs all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (“MDAs”) of government to engage indigenous professionals in the planning, design and execution of national security projects and maximise in-country capacity in all contracts and transactions with science, engineering and technology components.
Present at the public forum attended virtually by the Vice President were the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu; President of Nigerian Academy of Engineering, Engr. Alex O. Ogedegbe; Executive Secretary of Nigerian Academy of Engineering, Engr. Titi Omo-Ettu; Guest Speaker, Engr. Prof Babatunde Ogunnaike and other top officials of the academy.