Prof. Charles Igwe, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) has said that COVID-19 pandemic is arguably the most global challenge since world war II.
Igwe said this in Nsukka on Monday during UNN 1st Annual International Conference titled: “A Whole New World; Research, Development and Innovation in the Pandemic Era.”
He said that COVID-19 which has killed many people across the globe as well as infected many others has affected the economy, lives, people’s ways of living in virtually every country of the world.
“COVID-19 pandemic is the most serious global challenge since the world war II the world has witnessed.
“As this has affected the economy, people’s ways of life and behaviour of entire people of the world,” he said.
He commended federal government on handling the pandemic and implementation of it’s post COVID economic sustainability plan for the country.
The VC added that the aim was to use the conference to disseminate the results of some of the research, innovations and developments taking place in UNN and elsewhere to national, regional and global audience.
“The conference will be used to identify areas where there is gap in knowledge and the priorities for further research on ways and means if fighting the present and future pandemic in Nigeria.
“It will also bring together researchers, policy makers, development partners, NGOs and research funders together both in Nigeria and outside,” he said.
The VC who was represented by the Deputy VC Academic, Prof. Johnson Urama urged participants to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the conference to advance research, development and innovations for the wellbeing of global community.
“Is my wish that this conference will generate a quantum of ideas methodologies and actionable recommendation for policy makers in different fields of human endeavors to advance the fight against COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
In a visual remark, Prof Oyewale Tomori, the Chairman Of The Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19 (MEACOC), who spoke on the theme of the conference as the keynote speaker urged Nigeria to embrace COVID-19 vaccine as a way of preventing being effected by the disease.
“Nigeria should disregard the social media speculations that the vaccine has side or dangerous effect.
“The vaccine is approved after series of research and examination by world medical experts as well as World Health Organization which shows that the vaccine is safe for human consumption.
“FG should put in more effort in getting more COVID-19 vaccine for the citizens than relying on the four million dose donated to Nigeria other countries,” he said.
Oyewale however, said that the advent of COVID-19 in Nigeria and Africa exposed the inadequate facilities in health, education and other sectors of the economy.
“It’s unfortunate that among the countries in the world that produced COVID-19 vaccine non is from Nigeria and Africa.
“Government should pay more attention in funding and equipping university than establishing new one as if they are pure water industry,” Oyewale said.
The Don expressed appreciation to UNN for allowing him to give the keynote address visually.
Earlier, Prof. Chidi Nzeadibe, Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the conference said that COVID-19 pandemic has reset the ways of work and life across the globe and in the process, inadvertently fostered innovations in research and development around the world.
“At UNN many research have leverage on the opportunities inherent in the adversity of the pandemic to come up with a research output with huge potentials to improve lives and livelihood.
“This is to overcome or adopt to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.