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$100,000 NLNG science prize: Panel kick-start 2021 process, focuses on food security

$100,000 NLNG science prize: Panel kick-start 2021 process, focuses on food security

By Charles Okonji

The panel of judges in the Prize cycle of the $100,000 Nigeria Prize for Science, sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), have started working on the 49 received.

This was disclosed by the Advisory Board for the prize, chaired by Professor Alfred Akpoveta Susu at a virtual hand-over ceremony.

Susu noted that the entries received in 2020 for the theme “Innovations in Sustainable Food Security” were carried over into the 2021 cycle after a decision to postpone the prize due to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

In his speech, NLNG’s General Manager for External Relations and Sustainable Development, Mrs Eyono Fatayi-Williams, said NLNG was excited about the return of the prize, stating that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the accelerated development of vaccines emphasise the need to maximise utilisation of science in solving human problems.

“Seeking solutions to Nigerian problems and development issues were the reason The Nigeria Prize for Science was set-up in line with NLNG’s vision of helping to build a better Nigeria.

“The world has learnt the hard way that science can help us. We are not using up to half of the capacity in the science research and development industry, especially in Nigeria where are we are grappling with our educational system. Nigerians are intelligent people, and I believe we can be pioneers and we can stand at par with other countries when it comes to scientific endeavours.

“With foresight, we established the prize and over challenging years, we modified it and opened it to all irrespective of nationality just to spur science in the country. We have ensured that entries are focussed on solving Nigeria’s problems. It does not matter who finds solutions to the Nigerian problems. All that counts is that it helps to build a better Nigeria, in line with our Company’s vision. We must take action now,” she stressed.

The Chairman of the panel, Professor Patrick Obi Ngoddy, noted that all the entries will be painstakingly examined, promising that the panel will deliver on their terms of reference.

Ngoddy is a professor of Food Engineering and Processing. He comes with a wealth of experience in food engineering, processing, and agricultural engineering. He has taught and worked in several universities including Michigan State University; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; and University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers and Institute of Food Technology, among others.

Other members of the panel are Professor Yusuf Abubakar and Professor Oyebiodun Longe. Professor Abubakar is a professor of Animal Breeding and Quantitative Genetics and is the Coordinator of Agriculture Group, R & D Standing Committee, at the Tertiary Education Trust Fund. He is also the President of Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS); Chair of the Board of Trustees, WorldFish; and currently a visiting professor at the University of Abuja.

Professor Longe, a professor of Animal Science at the University of Ibadan, is the first female Emeritus Professor of Agriculture in Nigeria. She taught Carbohydrate Chemistry Utilization and Energy Metabolism in non-ruminants at the university and rose to become the first female professor of Animal Science in Nigeria. She is a member of many national and international professional bodies, including the British Nutrition Society, Nigerian Society for Animal Production, Third World Organisation of Women in Science, among others.

On the prize’s Advisory Board in addition to Professor Susu are Professor Michael Adikwu, Vice-Chancellor, University of Abuja and also a past winner of the Science Prize; Professor Elijah Mshelia, a nuclear physicist; Professor Barth Nnaji, renowned scientist and former Minister of Power; and Chief Dr. Nike Akande, two-time minister and former President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the country’s premier chamber of commerce.

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