The government, earlier this year, pledged to support the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) with N100 million grants to boost research and development of traditional herbal medicines.
Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, gave the charge, over the weekend, when the National Steering Committee on 1st Summit on Plant Resources for Sustainable National Development paid him a courtesy visit, in Abuja.
Onu, however, lamented the increasing rate of Nigerians patronising herbs from other countries, saying it is one of the reasons why Nigeria is still bereft of peace and prosperity.
In his words, he believed that “Nigerians can on their own decide to come together to look into ways we can better use the resources and how we can stop this massive importation of things that we shouldn’t really be bringing in from other countries.”
The minister encouraged Nigerians to protect their intellectual findings, adding that an existing National Strategy on Competitiveness that would reduce the rate of importation is in place to tackle it.
In his address, Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Maurice Iwu, said the committee has carried out asset-mapping to determine herbal resources in the country, stressing that each state has something to contribute to the programme.
Iwu added that the first bi-annual summit, scheduled to hold, in September, is expected to provide the platform to learn and translate things learnt in school to products for the improvement of the economy.
The committee chairman appealed to the Minister to expand the committee and make it inter-ministerial to deliver maximum dividends.
“It will also provide opportunity for exhibition of materials that are of plant resources and for universities to showcase their products,” Iwu added.