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Professor Okogun Calls for Review Process to Boost Homegrown Drug Production

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Joseph Okogun, professor emeritus at the Department of Chemistry, University of Ibadan

Stakeholders at every level of intervention have been advised to collaborate and review administrative processes and the approach leading to the identification of plants, scientific research, development and approval of remedies and drug production from Nigerian herbs and plants.

 

This call was made by Emeritus Prof. Joseph Okogun, professor emeritus at the Department of Chemistry, University of Ibadan at a Public Lecture as part of activities to mark his 80th birthday by Bevekt Gedu Chemical Company.

 

The lecture was titled, Active, Bitter and Sweet – A lifetime of Research on Plants, Anti-Cancer Remedies and Drug Discovery.

 

In it, Prof. Okogun discussed plants as unrivaled organic chemical factories producing useful chemicals that man exploits for various purposes, and the reasons why the natural chemistry of plants is important to healthy living. He also spoke on a variety of active ingredients that have been discovered from everyday leaves and fruits found in Nigeria and West Africa that can either treat or manage a lot of common ailments in Nigeria and elsewhere at affordable cost.

 

“There are organic and natural remedies for the management of various diseases including cancer and HIV/AIDS using several decades of data from scientific research on plants by Bevekt Gedu. Out of Bevekt Gedu’s work a pure compound initially obtained from a Nigerian plant which has been adopted and about to be finalized for drug development as a blockbuster drug by IMI of USA. This is an indication that opportunities for long lasting and sustainable investments are abundant locally” sais Prof. Okogun.

 

The event was chaired by Engr. Adama Okoene, former MD Midwestern Oil. It was attended by healthcare professionals, academicians and other professionals from public and private sectors.

 

Prof. Okogun further explained the extraction, isolation, analysis and modification of active natural products for potential drug leads or drugs and molecular probes; and the role of different professionals in the process of drug discovery.

 

Plant materials are usually processed and powdered for extraction with solvents of various polarities so that different types of compounds are extracted by the different solvents. The solvents range from gases (carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon) in supercritical fluid states, petroleum ether through ethanol to water. For instance, the removal of solvent, the usually dark brown gum is separated into the component compounds in the mixture using various chromatographic methods with or without bioactivity screening depending on the nature of the targeted compounds.

 

He explained that Biological activity screening is done by pharmacognosists, pharmaceutical chemists, pharmacologists, biochemists and microbiologists to identify potential drugs and other biologically active compounds including pesticides. Toxicologists determine the toxicity including teratogenicity of identified potential drugs.

 

When biologically active compounds are identified, there may need to improve on the activity and or toxicity by modifying the structures using chemistry linked with biology. Identified potential drugs with known mechanism of actions are used as molecular probes in diagnosis and disease research.

 

Generally, drug discovery and production are result of a multi-disciplinary enterprise and require input from most human disciplines of study which Prof. Okogun gave as follows; botanists as taxonomists, chemists for isolation and chemistry/identification of active principles, zoologists and Animal breeders produce animals needed in in vitro and in vivo studies; while biochemists, pharmacognosist, pharmacologists and microbiologists conduct biological activity studies.

 

In addition, toxicologists do toxicity studies, clinician (human and veterinary) and pharmacist will do clinical studies and use-as medicines, while lawyers and entrepreneurs for patenting and marketing respectively.

 

All of these activities by different stakeholders will create a local value chain and lead to the multiplier effect of saving foreign exchange and thousands of jobs in the rural and urban areas.

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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4th Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum Holds October

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Tony Elumelu flanked by foundation beneficiaries

Africa’s leading entrepreneurship-focused philanthropic organisation, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), has announced October 25, 2018, as the date for its 4thannual TEF Entrepreneurship Forum.

 

The largest gathering of African entrepreneurs and the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem will unite over 5,000 entrepreneurs, global investors, leaders from the African public and private sectors and developmental organisations at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos.

 

The event is a unique opportunity to generate ideas, forge networks and bring policymakers and the private sector together, in a spirit of robust debate and interaction.

 

The 2018 cohort from the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme, as well as mentors and partners, will be present, as the culmination of their intensive twelve-week induction.

 

In keeping with the Foundation’s track record―most recently with President Macron of France―of bringing politicians face to face with the new generation of young business women and men shaping Africa, the Forum will include an interactive session with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, moderated by TEF Founder, Tony O. Elumelu.

 

The Forum will also feature the launch of the TEFConnect, the world’s largest digital platform for African entrepreneurs, dedicated to connecting African entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

 

Tony O. Elumelu, founder, stated: “In just four years, we have directly impacted 4,460 entrepreneurs, and we are beginning to see the results – job creation, ripple effects, but most importantly a recognition that Africa’s economic well-being is driven by entrepreneurs: female and male, large and small – they are the engine of our continent’s transformation. We will be championing and celebrating them. This year, we are truly achieving scale and impact; we received over 150,000 applications in 2017 alone, up from 20,000 applications in 2015. We are now calling on the current generation of African success stories and others to partner with us to see how we can all further create impact, genuinely transform millions of lives and increase the number of inspiring stories we will be hearing in Lagos”.

 

Parminder Vir OBE, TEF CEO, stated: “The TEF Entrepreneurship Forum is the only event across the continent that brings together the complete African entrepreneurship ecosystem, demonstrating our commitment to capturing the whole continuum – from the entrepreneurs themselves, governments who must provide enabling environments, to capital, advice and perhaps most importantly access and network”.

 

Inspired by Tony Elumelu’s economic philosophy of Africapitalism and his vision to institutionalise luck and democratise opportunity for a new generation of African entrepreneurs, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has implemented one of the most ambitious entrepreneurship programmes globally.

 

The Programme is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor, and fund 10,000 entrepreneurs. Its goal is to invest in businesses that will generate at least 1,000,000 new jobs and contribute at least $10 billion in new annual revenues across Africa.

 

In its 4th year, TEF Entrepreneurship Programme has empowered 4,460 entrepreneurs with a total investment of USD20million; 4,000 funded directly by the Foundation and 460 have been funded by partners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SNEPCo MD Calls for Diversification Roadmap as Shell Wins SPE Exhibition Award

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L-R; Lead, Subsurface Shallow Water, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo), Kefe Amrasa; Outgoing Chairman, Nigeria Council of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Chikezie Nwozu; Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, Bayo Ojulari and Shell’s Vice President, Health, Safety and Environment, Osa Igiehon, at the presentation of The Best Exhibitor Award to Shell at the just-concluded SPE Nigeria annual conference and exhibition in Lagos.

Bayo Ojulari, managing director, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo), has harped on economic diversification as a panacea for job creation and rapid economic growth of Nigeria.

 

Ojulari, spoke at the just-concluded annual conference and exhibition of the Nigeria Council of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) where Shell Companies in Nigeria bagged the award for best exhibitor, beating to the second and third positions Chevron and Exxon Mobil respectively.

 

Speaking on the conference theme, Diversification of the Nigerian Economy – The Oil & Gas Industry as an Enabler, Ojulari called for a diversification roadmap bearing the commitment signature of major stakeholders in the Nigerian project. “With such a roadmap, we are able to track performance year-in year-out while remaining focused.”

 

Ojulari added, “For Nigeria to diversify its economy, it must leverage the low hanging fruits such as agriculture, petrochemicals, which use gas as its feedstock and most importantly, education and technology.”

 

At the awards ceremony, two Shell staff,  Oghogho Effiom and Stella Egwim, received the SPE Nigeria Chairman Medallion awards while 10 other Shell staff got Service awards. The awards demonstrate a strong Shell participation at the 2018 SPE conference at which 20 technical papers were delivered by Shell staff out of 150 papers constituting about 13% from Shell .

 

“Over the years, Shell Companies in Nigeria have continued to demonstrate thought leadership at flagship industry events such as the SPE and we continue to promote self-development and professional affiliation by our staff as part of our wider human capacity development in Nigeria,” said Ojulari who received the best exhibitor award from Mr. Chikezie Nwosu, outgoing SPE Nigeria Council Chairman.

 

Shell’s exhibition stand combined aesthetics, architecture, informative posters, panel discussion sessions, career talks, video presentations and the ever popular Shell Health stand, to be a central attraction at the conference.

 

Visitors who thronged the Shell booth were received by the Lead exhibitor, Kefe and team. The guests were drawn from oil servicing firms, equipment manufacturers, student, professional and academic bodies as well as international and indigenous oil contractors and companies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anambra, Ebonyi and Imo States benefit from MTN’s Emergency Ward Intervention Project

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In the spirit of brightening lives across different states in Nigeria, the MTN Foundation recently extended its Emergency Ward Intervention project to south-east Nigeria, donating medical equipment and health supplies to Anambra, Ebonyi and Imo states.

 

MTN, through its social investment vehicle – MTN Foundation – is dedicated to alleviating the vast health care needs of Nigerians especially for residents in local communities who cannot afford to pay for proper medical services.

 

Staff of the benefiting hospitals: Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital,Awka, Anambra; Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (FETHA 1), Ebonyi and Imo State University Teaching Hospital(IMSUTH), Owerri were excited to receive the donations from the Foundation.

 

Dignitaries including health commissioners from various states who attended the handover ceremony applauded MTN for reaching out to them and positively transforming the health care system in their communities.

 

Some of the medical equipment and consumables donated by MTN Foundation include digital patient monitors, stethoscopes, fracture immobilizers, laryngoscopes, and aspiration suction machines, amongst others.

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