Nigeria’s Federal Government has announced a N36m ($98,372) cash prize for any Nigerian that finds a cure for coronavirus and Lassa fever.
Speaking on Thursday at an event held to mark the retirement from service of A.O. Oyesefo, a former director of the Department of Chemical Technology, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, challenged all Nigerian scientists to go out and find cures for coronavirus and Lassa fever.
“Any scientist that is able to do this will be given N36m,” said Dr. Onu. “There is nothing that we want to do that we can’t do. Nigeria will be making contributions to the world.”
Dr. Onui explained that the N36 million pledge was to encourage local scientists to be more innovative, He also wants to reassure the scientific community that the Federal government is very much supportive to research and development.
The Minister further charged the scientists to be proactive in finding lasting solutions to human challenges to prove to the world that Nigeria has the capacity to address human problems not only at local scale but at global level.
Lassa fever is a seasonal disease that usually breaks out in parts of Nigeria during the dry season and most infections usually result in death.
Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is currently ravaging China, with more than a thousand deaths so far recorded. Many others are infected. However, there have been no recorded cases of coronavirus in Africa.