By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie
President Muhammadu Buhari has commended scientists and engineers for helping to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who represented Buhari, stated this at a public forum organised by the Nigerian Academy of Engineering.
The President also commended the engineers for using their experience and competence to assist in time of need.
He said: “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 praised 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.”
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 the production of a local vaccine, the President noted that the African Centre of Excellence for the Genomics of Infectious Disease 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 United Kingdom (U.K.), using the DIOSynVax genomic-based technology”.
He added: “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 pandemic lockdown, President Buhari stated the “huge potential for the creation of effective technologies for telework, including Telemedicine and Fintech.”