Worried over the devastating effects of malaria on the African continent, billionaire businessman and philanthropist, Ned Nwoko, has announced that deep research would begin in five African universities by February, to develop malaria vaccine for Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
Nwoko made this known at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport on his arrival to Nigeria from an expedition to Antarctica, accompanied by a team of scientists from Russia, India, China, the United States of America and Britain, aimed at eradicating malaria not only from Nigeria, but the African continent as a whole.
New Telegraph recalls that Nwoko, a former member of the House of Representatives, had last month established an Academic Research grant to the tune of $750,000 for five yet to be selected leading universities in Africa to develop malaria vaccine.
While insisting that malaria vaccine was very important to eradicate the malaria scourge totally from the continent, he noted that the first phase of the malaria eradication process, which involves fumigation of the country was a serious project that requires the input of all individuals and the three tiers of government.
“Antarctica is a continent about the same size as Africa, was there first to create awareness on the eradication of malaria, which is a big problem in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.
While in Antarctica, I had meetings with some scientists because this project involves two solutions; we must clean up Nigeria. We must fumigate Nigeria. We must look at all the sanitation that has to be done to clean up Nigeria.
“The second which is the most Important one is the research that I believe should be conducted in about five universities across the continent for the single purpose of trying to discover a vaccine for malaria. There is no reason why we shouldn’t have a vaccine for malaria when we have vaccines for other ailments from polio to typhoid and all others.
“Malaria is the biggest killer and time has come to address it. Everybody, all the governments from local government, state governments and federal government must join hands together to make sure that we find a solution. We must stop it.
“As soon as my team is able to put together whatever that will need to be done but the research should begin by next month, February.
“Apart from the scientists, I met with pilots who will carry out the fumigation. It’s a very serious project. You may think that Nigeria is such a huge place that nobody can possibly think of fumigation of a whole country but it will be done. They have done it in Malaysia, Florida and it will be done here in Nigeria.”
Nwoko who hoisted the Nigerian flag as the 13th country to make its presence felt in Antarctica, a destination for science and research, urged the Nigerian government to take appropriate steps to become a signatory to the Antarctic Treaty, which was signed by 12 research active countries on December 1, 1959 in Washington.
“Nigeria must take steps to become a member signatory to that treaty. when that is done we can begin to consider the possibility of having a station there with our own scientists doing all that is required to be done.
“When you are in the cold you think very well. Antarctica is life in a freezer. Other countries are there researching for tomorrow; you have the Indians, South Africans,Americans, British, Chinese, Germans, etc., but Nigeria being the giant of Africa as they say we are, we must put our house together and take our position there. There is ongoing struggle for Antarctica.”