Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, said, yesterday that the country recorded a 500 per cent increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks due to Delta and Omicron variants.

To this end, the NCDC has launched its yuletide season campaign tagged: #CelebrateResponsibly as part of the #TakeResponsibility campaign which began in February 2020.

As at December 19, 2021, a total of 223,887 cases and 2,985 deaths have been recorded in Nigeria in the 36 states and the FCT.

Director-General of NCDC,  Dr. Ifedayo  Adetifa in a statement, yesterday said the CelebrateResponsibly focuses specifically on measures Nigerians need to take to protect themselves and loved ones from COVID-19 during the festive period, declaring that the country is now in the fourth COVID-19 wave.

Meanwhile, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, as the scourge of COVID-19 continues to unsettle the country and the global community, has promised that Nigeria must find a home-grown cure for the dreaded virus in no distance future.

The minister, who lamented  that despite that the disparities in percentage of vaccinating the rich and poor in the country, COVID -19 could not easily be won all over the world.

The minister, who  gave the assurance  at  a virtual/physical meeting with scientists, researchers and traditional medicine practitioners, on claims of effectiveness of COVID-19 and natural compounds, in Abuja, yesterday, was apparently responding to  the appeal made by Nigerian researchers and scientists who have developed home-grown cure for COVID-19  but require government’s support and confirmation.

Onu said: “No nation can depend entirely on outside help to meet the health challenges of her people. What we must learn is that Nigeria must be self-reliant as a nation. We can’t continue to be importing everything, it is no longer sustainable. We must make sure that the things we need are produced here.

“We must look inwards, have faith in ourselves and that is the beginning of our journey to self reliance.  We are committed to support local innovations to realise our dream.

“Our economy must no longer depend on resources but knowledge. If developed countries could use our resources to develop and be where they are today, why can’t we do same?

“There is no reason Nigeria can’t beat China in science and innovation if we have confidence in ourselves. I am happy the economy is now knowledge-based but we must deepen it.”

While charging the innovators to sustain the search for COVID-19, the Minister said: “You are resources we consider greater than natural resources because the richest people on earth do not own oil and gas. The ministry is going to support you to find cure for COVID-19, HIV, cancer and other diseases.”

” We have to develop the science that will look into our local problems, if our fore fathers could use herbals to cure diseases and hug each other, we must go back to those values that made us who we were.

“If we find cure for COVID-19, jobs will be created and that will contribute to economy and we can achieve the goal of President Buhari of lifting 100 million people out of poverty  in 10 years.

“What we are doing today is significant and we will ensure that all the problems you mentioned are taken care of.  By next year, all the necessary actions that will help take our nation to where we need to be will be taken.

“I believe the cure for COVID-19 will be found here in Nigeria but we must believe in science,  and use science and technology to solve our problems.  When this is done, we will create health tourism, wealth and jobs for everybody and economy will rebound.”

Recall that the Minister few weeks before COVID-19 was detected in Nigeria, had announced a given away price of 36 million to any Nigerian Scientists/Researcher who can develop a remedy to COVID-19 Pandemic.

This he said was part of the strategy to galvanize the development of Home grown solutions with the aim of protecting Nigerians against COVID-19 diseases.

In response to his call, many scientists made submission of their herbal remedies to FMSTI which led to the inauguration of Inter-ministerial Committee of Experts on COVID-19 herbal remedies in FMSTI.

According to the Minister, the essence of the meeting was to review the claims and submissions by our scientists, researchers and traditional medicine practitioners.

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