VC Tasks Departments on Project Development, As CU WAVE Unveils Lab
The Vice-Chancellor of Covenant University, Professor Charles Ayo, has charged all the Departments in the university to limber up in their research and project development activities in emulation of the milestones achieved by the Department of Biological Sciences.
He laid down the gauntlet at the commissioning ceremony of project laboratories and operational vehicle at the Covenant University hub of the West African Virus Epidemiology (WAVE).
The WAVE project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Department for International Development (DFID) UK, addresses virus disease problems in roots and tuber crops in West Africa. And the Team Leader of the WAVE’s CU hub is Dr. Angela Eni, a lecturer in the Biological Sciences department.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Professor Ayo, who lauded Dr. Eni for her efforts at ensuring food security and other Faculty members of the Department of Biological Sciences for their project development initiatives, urged other departments to come up with similar projects.
“I appreciate the leadership of the College and that of Department of Biological Sciences,” said the Vice-Chancellor. “If all departments in the university are able to come up with something as substantial and tangible like what we are seeing today, you would agree with me that Vision 10:2022 will be a child’s play.”
Following the dedication of the laboratory and the vehicle, Professor Ayo, who expressed satisfaction with what he saw, beseeched God to enable Dr. Eni and her team to be able to achieve success in their undertakings.
“I’ve never seen a lab like this in the university except when we visited a lab in the United States. Anybody would be proud to bring any researcher anywhere in the world to this place. Now you have shown us round, result is the only thing we are waiting for; result that will announce you and the university to the entire world. And by the grace of God the wisdom required will be bestowed on you and your team in Jesus name Amen,” he said.
Explaining the importance of the laboratory equipment and vehicle funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Department for International Development (DFID) UK, Dr. Eni said it is to ensure that virus diseases of root and tuber crops are addressed appropriately and ensure food security for the West African region.
“In the laboratory, we have equipment for DNA analysis, DNA isolation and DNA analysis for PCR. We have equipment that will allow us to clone genes and send it out for sequencing and then we have facilities to allow us to engineer genes into other crops. So, we are fully a bio-technology lab. And we’ve just purchased a project vehicle, because in the farms the roads are rough,” she revealed.
“Over 800 million people depend on root and tuber crops for food, and we have virus diseases that infect these crops. A plant infected with virus disease manifests symptoms on the leaves. It is advisable that such a plant should be destroyed because it would not yield.
“We are training the farmers on how to recognise virus symptoms, how to ensure they select clean planting materials to start with and how to report back rapidly, just in case there’s a problem and they need to report it because containment is very critical.”
The WAVE project is running in six West African countries, including Nigeria. In Nigeria, it’s running in three institutions, which are the Natural Crop Research Institute (NCRI), Umudike; Kebbi State University of Science and Technology; and Covenant University.
Covenant University, said Dr. Eni, is mandated to work in all the South Western and North Central States of Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory.
Also present at the commissioning event were the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Taiwo Abioye; the Registrar, Pastor Olamide Olusegun, the Director of Finance, Pastor Bayo Oladehinbo; and the Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, Professor Shalom Chinedu.
Others include the Dean, College of Science and Technology, Professor Nicholas Omoregbe; Head of Department of Biological Sciences, Professor Adesola Ajayi; the Head of Microbiology in the University of Wisconsin and a collaborator of Covenant University, Professor Ogi Okwumabua; the Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, Otunba Oke Babafemi; other Faculty members and staff.