AE-FUNAI HOSTS FADIB 25TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State, recently on Monday, 4th November, 2019, hosted the Annual International Conference of the Foundation for African Development through International Biotechnology (FADIB). The theme of the conference which held at the University Main Auditorium was BIOTECHNOLOGY: Catalyst for Sustainable Development.
The event which took place on Monday, 4th November, 2019, was well attended by scholars and professionals from within and across Ebonyi state, who actively participated at the brain storming sessions to proffer multi-facet approach by which biotechnology can meet the needs of the present generation, with main focus on application of Biotechnology for sustainable economic development and utilization of our natural resources.
Addressing FADIB officials during their courtesy visit on the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba heartily welcomed the officials for coming up with such a great theme for their 25th Annual Conference. He charged the scientists to research more and come up with different solutions to solve the trending issue of development in Nigeria. Professor Nwajiuba affirmed that Nigeria is looking forward to seeing a Nigerian who can win a Nobel Prize for producing drug for complete malaria cure.
Declaring the conference open, the Vice-Chancellor, who was represented by Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Philip Omoke, appreciated the organizers of the conference for putting together such a great theme for the conference and welcomed the entire participants to AE-FUNAI. He wished them meaningful deliberations and fruitful stay in the University.
Prof. James C. Ogbonna, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), University of Nigeria, Nsukka and President of Foundation for African Development Through International Biotechnology (FADIB) in his opening remarks, appreciated the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nwajiuba and the entire University Management for the support and hospitality given to them. He said that the theme for the conference is a new development that meets the need of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Prof. Ogbonna pointed out that the present world economic growth is based on the principles of producing and consuming more, with little or no consideration for sustainability, which has resulted in rapid depletion of our resources, imbalance in our ecosystem, heavy pollution of our environment and consequent climate change that is affecting all aspects of our lives. These problems according to him are even expected to increase as the world population continues to grow and developing economies strive to develop.
He added that meeting the needs of the present generation in a sustainable way requires multi-facet approach which includes sustainable exploitation, utilization of our natural resources, reduction in per capita consumption of our resources, development of efficient green technologies that can achieve large scale production with minimal effect on our environment, affirming that Biotechnology is the best tool that can be used to achieve relevant results.
Keynote Speaker, Prof. Paul Chidozie Onyenekwe, Director General/CEO, Sheda Science and Technology Complex, Abuja, who was represented by Dr Andrew Ilo, stated that Biotechnology is a bride of many husbands, iterating that it catalyses sustainable development in three major aspects, which include Society, Economy and Environment. He added that it grows economic efficiency and competitiveness, flexibility and stability of the economy and employ international trade. According to Dr. Ilo, in developing countries like Nigeria, Biotechnology offers potential benefit that may help achieve the productive gains needed to feed a growing global population, introduce resistance to pests and diseases, resist adverse weather and soil conditions, improve the nutritional value of some foods and enhance the durability of products during harvesting or shipping. He pointed out that Biotechnology creates welfare, equal opportunity, social cohesion, maintenance of human capital and international solidarity.
Ebonyi State Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr Daniel Umezuruike, who represented His Excellency, Barr. Eric Kelechi Igwe Ph.D, Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, affirmed that the importance of Biotechnology cannot be over emphasised, stating that it is used to clean our environment as there are some beneficial bacteria that can be released into air that will eat up some of this toxic gasses and go ahead to deplete ozone layers and cause global warming which is one of the tropical issues about climate change all over the world. He added that Biotechnology is already bringing development in Ebonyi state, hence government dependence on research generated data to make proper decisions and take necessary actions, which are the essence of governance.
Hon. Commissioner for Environment, Ebonyi State, Chief Emmanuel Uguru, said that Biotechnology is a tool that will prepare us for tomorrow, otherwise, tomorrow will take us unaware. He added that in Ebonyi state, Agriculture is very paramount because no matter how adequate Ebonyi man could be, he must have a farm, and that the Government ensures that the environment is made conducive for farmers.
While welcoming participants at the conference earlier, Dr. Friday N. Nwalo, Chairman, Local Organizing Committee (LOC), expressed delight that the Vice-Chancellor and University management ensured that adequate resources and financial provisions were made available for that conference. He affirmed that the theme and sub-themes of the conference were aligned to the current need for Nigerians to harness novel products from the abundant bio-resources and build a robust and stable bio-economy as several scientists had made great scientific papers that would be presented at both plenary and technical sessions of the conference. He finally appreciated the University management for putting Biotechnology Education at the front burner of the university, through undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Dr. Nwalo requested that AE-FUNAI should have a Centre of Excellence for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (CEBDE), R&D for life sciences as obtainable in most universities. He disclosed that AE-FUNAI will host the Biotechnology Society of Nigeria (BSN) in August, 2020.