MYCOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF NIGERIA HOLDS ITS 8TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE AT FUNAI
…CONDEMS PROLIFERATION OF HERBAL MEDICINE
The Mycological Society of Nigeria held its 8th Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting at the Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, Ebonyi State. The conference with the theme, “Fungi and the Nigerian Economy”, drew researchers and members of the society from all over the country and beyond to the University.
Declaring the Conference open, the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, Prof. Chinedum Uzoma Nwajiuba averred that the theme of the conference, “Fungi and the Nigerian Economy” was apt and timely considering the crisis facing the Nigerian economy, and government’s passionate drive towards diversification.
The Vice Chancellor, who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Sunday Elom maintained that there were many economic benefits of Fungi, adding that government should liaise with the Mycological Society of Nigeria in its drive to reposition the ailing economy through the use of fungi in manufacturing of some essential goods.
“Fungi serve as food in the form of mushrooms to many cultures and are used in food processing to produce citric acids for drinks. New discovery has also revealed that Fungi are used in the manufacturing of essential products like malarial drugs” he concluded.
Speaking in the event, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu called on Nigerians to support the economic diversification policy of the Mohammadu Buhari’s administration, stating that in no mean time Nigerians would begin to reap its inevitable benefits.
The Minister who was represented at the event by Professor Stephen A.U Ituen, Dean, School of Education and Ancillary Studies, National Institute for Nigerian Languages (NINLAN), Abia State, stated that the Change Agenda of the Federal Government was on course, noting that President Buhari is irrevocably committed to taking Nigeria to enviable heights by making sure that the era of depending solely on crude oil for earning foreign exchange was over.
Mallam Adamu enjoined the members of the Mycological Society of Nigeria to embark on production-driven research by discovering other ways through which the government can improve the economy through mycology.
Speaking further, the Minister said that: “Fungi are hidden treasures and latent gold mine of our land which must be tapped to key behind countries like Thailand and Ghana that have successfully utilized this great potential to improve their economy’
On his part, the President of the Society Prof. B. A. Osho noted that since its inception the Mycological Society of Nigeria has contributed to the economic growth and development of the nation. He added that, ‘Fungi’ has been a great asset to the manufacturing and agricultural sectors”, and stressed that the Nigeria’s economy would surely be overhauled if fungi are adequately deployed through research development.
Decrying the consequences of proliferation of Herbal Medicine, Professor Ifeoma B. Enweani of the College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi campus, opined that the influx of herbal medicines into the Nigerian Market has given rise to liver and kidney failures.
Prof. Enweani condemned the numerous unsubstantiated claims of herbal medicine vendors to cure all manner of diseases, advising the National Agency for Food and Drugs Control (NAFDAC) to look into their claims in public interest.
In a communiqué at the end of the Conference, the Society called for the commercialization of fungi for economic purposes, highlighting possible ways fungi could contribute to the growth of the Nigerian economy.