The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has said that Methanol Production Technology will create jobs and wealth in Nigeria.
A statement by Abdulganiyu Aminu, the ministry’s spokesman, in Abuja, said the minister made this known at the Second Inter-Ministerial meeting of the implementation of the National Policy on Methanol Fuel Production Technology.
“Nigeria’s enormous gas resources will be converted into useful products, through methanol technology, thereby paving the way for other businesses to grow.
“The introduction of methanol technology will go a long way in reducing gas flaring in the environment,” Onu said.
He noted that the demand for gas by businesses would tremendously reduce gas flaring.
The minister said that the Federal Government had intended to end gas flaring in Nigeria, adding that with methanol technology production a large amount of gas flared would be converted to methanol.
He further said that with methanol usage of kerosene and firewood to cook would be reduced to the barest minimum thereby reducing deforestation.
“Methanol is a major raw material in industrial production and will impact positively on transportation, power generation and manufacturing.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Bello Umar, had called on the committee to ensure thorough work was done toward the immediate implementation of the policy.
Umar said it was for the good of the nation and to boost the revenue drive of the Federal Government.
Edited by: Chidi Opara/Donald Ugwu
COVID-19: Nigeria, Africa to expand testing capacity with homemade diagnostic kit
Nigeria’s efforts at developing solution to the challenge of non-availability and high cost of coronavirus diagnostic kits have finally paid off with the development of RNASwift Extraction kit.
This was disclosed by Prof. Alex Akpa, Director-General of National Biotechnology Development Agency(NABDA), on Thursday during a news briefing held at the conference room of Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Abuja.
He said the RNASwift test kit would not only revolutionalise Africa’s PCR-Based COVID-19 testing, but will also expand the capacity by 50 times at least.
Akpa also said it would equally reduce cost by over 500 per cent as compared to the conventional kit in use.
“This meets the demands of the Test Africa Initiative. The kits will be produced in Nigeria, which is great news considering that it will enable preference to be given to the testing needs of Africa.
“The need for the invention was conceived by the request from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), to test five million farmers and farm hands.
“This was to ensure that our food security chain was not compromised by COVID-19,’’ the D-G said.
According to him, the RNASwift test kit is an indigenous diagnostic test kit designed, developed and validated in Nigeria for the identification of the causal agent, SARS-Cov-2, which causes COVID-19.
He noted that the diagnostic kit is “very accurate and sensitive’’ and competes favourably with conventional and commercially available kits for the diagnosis of COVID-19.
“This is in addition to a careful choice of reagents that are human and environmentally friendly in the development of the protocol for the diagnostic kit.
“In fact, the attributes of the RNASwift kits make it a game changer in the design and production of diagnostic kits for infectious diseases in the face of an epidemic or a pandemic,’’ Akpa said.
He further said that the project was made possible due to the scientific collaboration between the NABDA, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR).
Prof. Akpa added that the technical support team of University of Sheffield, led by Dr Alison Nwokeoji, also made the project successful.
In his speech at the briefing, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, recalled that the first index case of COVID-19 was recorded in Nigeria on Feb. 27.
Onu said he had tasked Nigerian scientists to come up with a solution with the sum of N36 million pledge.
The Minister said Nigerians were creative and talented enough to develop home grown solutions to major challenges confronting the country, Africa and the world, with the RNASwift test kit as an example.
“Today, the RNASwift extraction kit developed by Nigerian scientists has capacity in an accurate, sensitive and affordable cost to detect SARS-Cov2, the causative agent of COVID-19.
“With the RNASwift test kit, we are going to test five million farmers, and the new test kit will reduced cost drastically,’’ Onu said.
He hinted that the African Development Bank was interested in it, not only as Test Africa Initiative, but that Nigeria should be the rallying point.
Similarly, he said the other African countries stood to benefit from the test kits due to the low cost.
The minister commended NABDA and said the agency had not only made the Ministry proud but Nigeria as a whole.
Alhaji Sabo Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the test kit invented and developed was very critical to the present situation of insufficient test kits.
He said the FMARD was in the forefront when it came to food security, adding that with the invention and successful validation of the test kit, it was time for Nigerians to look inwards.
“We have talents and we need to develop and build on these talents, we will realise our target of testing five million farmers and Nigerians would be proud of this test kits,’’ Nanono said.
He applauded NABDA for the project, saying the success of the test kit was a milestone recorded in the FMST.
Speaking to newsmen on the sideline of the briefing, Dr Rose Gidado, Scientist and Deputy Director at NABDA, said the day was remarkable and historic for the agency, the ministry as well as Nigerians.
She said the new test kits could test more than 20,000 people a day but if more testing centres were set up, it could go up to 50,000 with automation.
The Scientist added that the need to test more Nigerians was necessary in order to isolate and treat.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Group tasks APC Caretaker Committee on genuine national reconciliation, party stability
A group, The Onu Political Organisation (TOPO), has urged the Caretaker /Extraordinary National Convention Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to work towards achieving genuine reconciliation and stability of the party.
The group made the appeal at a press conference on Wednesday in Abakaliki.
The press conference was attended by national leaders of the organisation, including Chief Ugo Chima, the group’s National Chairman, Hyacinth Oteh, National Secretary, Mr Kabiru Umar, Mrs Fati Adams, among others.
Chief Egwu Chima, TOPO’s National Publicity Secretary, who addressed the press on behalf of the group, expressed confidence in the ability of Gov. Mai Mala Buni, Chairman of the Caretaker Committee to steer the party to greatness.
The group which also pledged support, solidarity and loyalty to the new leadership appealed to the committee to strive to achieve genuine national reconciliation, stability, growth and development of the party.
Chima said: “With your committee in place, we now have a regenerated APC which must share the vision of the founding fathers.
” TOPO places a very high premium on the capacity of your novel committee to restore growth, development and stability in our great party.
“Here, we must continue to thank God daily for the generous gift of President Muhammadu Buhari whose towering and sterling image singles out the party for embrace.
“Whatever has transpired within the party in the last few days has been the handiwork of God and the silence of Mr President on the matter is now golden and celebrated.
“We are particularly enthused by the composition of the Caretaker Committee, if anything, the political credentials of majority of the members speak volumes.”
The group further extolled the leadership and political sagacity of the chairman, who has reiterated his committee’s commitment to ensure justice and peace in the party.
Chima quoted Buni as saying: “My plan is all about doing justice to every member of the party because without justice, there won’t be peace; I’m a team player.
” I have a capable team that can work with me; I am here to manage crisis and if you don’t manage crisis, crisis will manage you.”
The group also commended and extolled efforts of Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation and the APC South-East leader as well as Chief Bola Tinubu, national leaders of APC in sustaining peace and unity of the party.
NAN recalls that the National Executive Council (NEC) of APC last week approved the setting up of the Gov. Buni- led Caretaker /Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee.
Edited By: Obike Ukoh (NAN)
Nigeria to partner Israel on methanol fuel production
Nigeria and Israel are to sign bilateral agreement on methanol fuel production technology for mutual benefits to both countries.
Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Shimon Shoshan, disclosed this during a courtesy visit to Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, on Monday in Abuja.
According to the Israeli envoy, the technology is a better alternative to petroleum, as it is cheaper, faster and pollution- free.
Speaking during the visit, Onu said Nigeria was determined to explore and develop the Methanol chemical fuel technology as a key to the economic diversification of the country.
The minister said that for Nigeria to become the manufacturing hub of Africa, it must utilise all its natural resources to add value and create wealth and employment for its teeming youths.
While describing Methanol as a “Wonder Chemical”, Onu said its application would impact positively the power, energy and manufacturing sectors.
He said that with its introduction, Nigeria would soon become the manufacturing hub of Africa.
Onu noted that Nigeria would appreciate the inputs of Israel, to ensure the smooth take-off of the methanol policy.