Scientist wants FG to encourage scientific advancement

Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu: Minister of Science and Tech

A scientist, Mr Callistus Igwilo, has advised the Federal Government to address bottlenecks that discourage scientists from practicing in the country.

Igwilo, who gave this advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja, said that the development had adversely affected scientific advancement in the country.

Igwilo, who is a Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of African Biosciences Ltd., said that the bottlenecks on the way of scientists in carrying out their research works were quite discouraging.

According to him, to carry out a serious research works in the country, is a daunting task as many of the universities do not have basic equipment.

“The reality on ground is that either the equipment are not working or a part of it is missing or the re-agent to use it with is not there.

“The very serious ones have to send their samples abroad or go abroad and then all the money ends up abroad,’’ he said.

Igwilo said that the African Biosciences Ltd. was set up to work with research organisations to help them carry out their research in a controlled lab space.

The scientist added that there were still challenges confronting the company in helping the scientists to carry out their works.

“For now in Nigeria generally, all the re-agents for molecular biology are imported.

“The first major huddle you face is you get the NAFDAC certification to import items and when they get to the port, there is also NAFDAC inspection.

“The same agency that certified you to import, expects you to pay them to inspect the item that they certified you to import.

“This is a re-agent for research and most of these things are used by students and in an ideal situation, a student is not supposed to pay for these things.

“There should be funding for it, in fact government should pay students that undertake research, rather than support the researcher, the same government agency requires them to pay for inspection.

“These are unnecessary hiccups, why should NAFDAC be paid for doing its work, sometimes you pay even more money for inspection than the item you are importing.’’

Igwilo said that sometimes most of these re-agents were transported under a cold chain and must be maintained in that state to be viable for effective research result.

He said that in some instances, such imports were even seized by the agencies that should facilitate their delivery to their destinations.

“So, that is why we have our serious scientists go outside the country to accomplish their dreams.

“Government has to remove all these bottlenecks that hinder our scientific advancement and make government agencies that should promote research and innovation be up and doing.’’

African Biosciences Ltd is a biotech company that provides support for research in plants and animals right from the molecular stage.