COVID-19: Most serious global challenge since World War 2 – UNN VC

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 Prof. Charles Igwe, the Vice-Chancellor,  University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), says COVID-19 pandemic is indisputably the highest  global challenge  since World War 2.

Igwe spoke in Nsukka during UNN’s 1st Annual International Conference titled: “A Whole New World; Research, Development and Innovation in the Pandemic Era.”

He said that COVID-19 has killed many people, infected many others, affected economies and changed  ways of life in every part of the world.

“COVID-19 pandemic is the most serious global challenge the world has witnessed since the World War 2,”he said.

The VC commended Federal Government’s efforts in handling the pandemic and implementation of post COVID-19 economic sustainability plans.

“The aim of this conference is to disseminate some researches, innovations and developments taking place in UNN to national, regional and global audiences.

“The conference will be used to identify areas where there is gap in knowledge and the priorities for further research on ways and means of fighting the present and future pandemic in Nigeria.

“It will also bring together researchers, policy makers, development partners, NGOs and research funders both in Nigeria and outside,” he said.

Igwe who was represented by Prof. Johnson Urama, Deputy Vice-Chancellor  (Academics), urged  participants to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the conference to advance research, development and innovations for the wellbeing of the global community

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“Is my wish that this conference will generate quantum of ideas, methodologies and actionable recommendations for policy makers in different fields of human endeavours to advance the fight against COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

In a virtual remark, Prof. Oyewale

Tomori, the Chairman of Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 (MEACOC), urged Nigerians to take the COVID-19 vaccine

Tomori who was also the keynote speaker said that the vaccine is not harmful.

“Nigerians should disregard the social media and speculations in some quarters that the vaccine is harmful or has dangerous after effect.

“The vaccine was approved after series of research and examination by world health experts as well as World Health Organisation,” 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 none is from Nigeria or Africa.

“Government should pay more attention in funding and equipping universities than establishing new ones as if universities are pure water industry.

“It gives me concern that none of the universities in the country is among the best ranked universities in the world, ” Oyewale said.

Prof. Chidi Nzeadibe, the Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the conference, said that COVID-19 pandemic has reset the ways of work and life across the globe.

He said that the pandemic boosted

innovations in research and development around the world.

“At UNN, many researchers have leveraged on the opportunities inherent in the adversity of the pandemic to come up with research outputs with huge potential to improve lives and livelihood.

“These researches will help us to overcome or adapt to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said (NAN)