The Nigerian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (NSBMB) recently held its 10th Annual South-East Zonal Conference at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State.(AE–Funai)
Declaring the event open at the university auditorium, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Chinedum Nwajiuba, who was represented by his Deputy, Professor Sunday Elom, noted that the society has fared well through the years, though much was still expected from members to make the professional body attain national relevance.
He noted that the theme of the conference, “Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Catalysts for Regional and National Economic Resurgence”, was apt and timely as Biochemistry and Molecular Biology were essential ingredients and true catalysts for promoting regional and national economic development.
He further urged the professional body to ensure their members in the academia shun unethical conducts such as sex-for-mark, plagiarism, ‘sorting’ and other unwholesome behaviours that were presently rocking some tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
Addressing the participants, the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State who also was the special guest of honour to the occasion, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, represented by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Government House, Professor Fidelis Okpata charged them to forward a consummate copy of their communiqué to the Government of Ebonyi State, as the Governor, Chief Engr. Dave Nweze Umahi was interested in partnering with universities and professional bodies in research development to solve the immediate problem of the state and beyond.
In his keynote address, Benjamin Ewa Ubi, a Professor of Plant Breeding and Biotechnology in the Department of Biotechnology, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, highlighted the rich potentials and vast opportunities in Biotechnology and Molecular Biology in transforming the nation by creating million of jobs and solving some health challenges ravaging the nation.
He noted that insulin, some substances from scorpion and snake venom could be transformed to medically effective drugs to cure strokes and many chronic diseases.
He also explained that algae and mushrooms were rich components in Biochemical synthesis of genetic engineering which is capable of revamping the economy of Nigeria.
Presenting the lead paper, Bennett Chima Nwanguma, a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Nigeria Nsukka explored the theme: ‘Thoughts on the State and Future of Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa’, stating that agricultural produce were the panacea to the plethora of problems in Africa. He maintained that for the African continent to have food security, genetically modified plants need to be promoted to enhance yields, adding that wars, diseases, weeds, pests, drought and the likes pose great danger to crop productions in the continent.
He allayed the fears of genetically modified products, stressing that the notion that they were allergic, carcinogenic and low in vital nutrients was not only a myth but untrue and scientifically unproven.
He therefore urged the participants to be involved in the crusade to enlighten people and disseminate the right information about genetically modified products in Nigeria to minimize misinformation.
Highlight of the occasion was the presentation of special awards to grand pillars of the society. Some of the recipients were the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr. Igwe, Professor Ubi and Professor Nwanguma. Others are: Professor Ifeoma Irene Ije and the South-East Zonal Coordinator, Prof. Emmanuel Iroha Akubugwo .
Earlier, the Society paid a courtesy call to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nwajiuba, thanking him for his support that made it possible for the conference to be hosted in the university.