President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged Nigerian Universities to intensify their research to develop a COVID-19 vaccine to tackle the dreaded virus afflicting the country.
The President, represented by the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, gave the challenge at the 5th and 6th combined convocation of the Federal University Dustin-Ma (FUDMA) on Saturday.
He explained that Nigerian Universities were supposed to be centres for scientific and technological discoveries, inventions, values and character formation as well as drivers of societal development.
The President added that the development of the vaccine would fortify Nigerians’ immune systems against the virus.
He further noted that his administration remained committed to tackling the challenges of sustainable funding for research, capacity building and employment creation.
According to him, “You all know that in the year 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic began its devastating effect on the education sub-sectors, leading to the destruction of universities’ academic activities.
“I therefore urge and encourage the universities to intensify their research to come up with a more potent vaccine to fortify our immune system against this dreaded virus”.
He also tasked the universities to explore available opportunities, including research collaboration with allied industries and development partners to create other sources of revenue generation.
According to the President, such will support his economic diversification drive.
He, however, said the federal government is committed and determined to combat and defeat all acts of criminality across the country for meaningful development to thrive.
“Our security is a collective responsibility, we must join hands with the government by providing security agents with useful information to enable proactive mitigation of any of these occurrences,” he added.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Armaya’u Hamisu-Bichi, urged the federal government to dig trenches around the main campus of the institution because of the current security challenges in the country.