V-C Inaugurates NDDC Malaria Chair Board, Flags Off Research

 As part of efforts aimed at defeating the malaria scourge in the Niger Delta, Vice Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale, has inaugurated the Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission Malaria Chair on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. The event which took place at the Governing Council Chambers at the Senate Building, was also used to flag off the NDDC Malaria Chair Research project.

In his remarks, Managing Director of NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere, recalled that “in June 2016, at the 265th Meeting of her Management Committee, the NDDC approved the endowment of a Professorial Chair on Malaria Elimination and Phytomedicine Research at the Centre for Malaria Research and Phytomedicine (CMRAP) in the University.”

The managing Director, who spoke through the Executive Director in charge of Projects, Dr. Samuel Adjogbe said: “The endowment is for a total of N50 Million at N25 Million per annum for an initial period of two years. In July 2016, the Chair was formerly inaugurated by the then Acting Managing Director, Mrs Ibim Seminitari. Recently, the Niger Delta Development Commission released N25 Million, which is the first tranche of the grant for the Malaria Research programme which we are gathered here to flat-off today.”

Shortly before inaugurating the new Board, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale, noted that the University had eagerly anticipated the flag-off of the research project aimed at battling the malaria scourge. “I can assure the NDDC that the Chair will be well utilized with greater funding. With support from such intervention agencies as the NDDC, we have the expertise and motivation to defeat malaria in record time. Our mandate is to let our research make greater impact on society. The new Board is made up of some of the finest scholars in molecular and vector biology and allied sciences. Let me assure the NDDC that it has put its money in the right place,” the Vice chancellor said.

The Government Board is chaired by Professor Florence Nduka of the Department of Animal and Environmental Biology, while Chair Occupant, Professor Chijioke Nwauche, would double as Secretary. Other members of the Board are the Director of the Centre for Research Management and Development, Professor Alice Nte, Director of the Centre for Malaria Research and Phytomedicine, Professor Iyeopu Siminialayi, while Dr. Claribel Abam would represent the NDDC on the Board.

In her acceptance speech on behalf of other members, Chairman of the Baord, Professor Nduka expressed gratitude to the Vice-Chancellor for giving them the opportunity to serve on the Board. “I am happy that the Vice-Chancellor chose people with experience in malaria research. The NDDC should rest assured that the research will yield positive results in no distant time. We look forward to the promise of the Malaria House that would create an enabling environment for our work. By the next World Malaria Day, we are going to release the statistics of the burden of malaria as it affects pregnant women and children under five in the nine states of the Niger Delta,” she promised.

On his part Chair Occupant, Professor Nwauche, expressed joy that NDDC bought into the dreams of CMRAP, which is to reduce the malaria burden in the nine Niger Delta States. “We are happy that NDDC is committed to this project. The journey began in 2006. Between then and now, a flurry of activities has taken place,” he noted, disclosing that the next stage of the research would focus on malaria parasitaemia and survey of plasmodium species among pregnant women and under-five children in the Niger Delta.

Also speaking, Director of CMRAP, Professor Siminialayi noted that the NDDC support came at the right time, praising NDDC for endowing the Chair. He assured the Commission and University Management that the fund would be utilized for the purpose for which it was endowed.

The event was witnessed by Principal and Senior Officers of the University including the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Professor Regina Ogali, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Hakeem Fawehinmi, Registrar, Mrs. Dorcas Otto, Acting Bursar, Mrs. Helen Owhonda-Wopara and University Librarian, Dr. Susan Umeozor. Others included Provost of the College of Health Sciences, Professor Christie Mato, Dean of the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Professor Arthur Chuemere, Pioneer Director of CMRAP, Professor Omotayo Ebong and senior officials of NDDC including, its Director of Education, Health and Social Services, Okejoto Gochua and Project Advisor, Dr. Kalada Dick Iruenabere.

NDDC Malaria Phase 1 Research project