STORIES By Mcphilips Nwachukwu
The Centre for Black African Arts and Civilisation in collaboration with Vertical Inspirations Limited will between 12th and 13th June , 2011 hold an International Conference on Africa’s Indigenous Stimulants,ICAIS. The conference according to the organisers of the conference will take place at the ECOWAS Commission Secretariat, Abuja.
At a press briefing in Lagos last week, the organisers revealed that the conference is commited to promoting interest on the medicinal values of the stimulants and the enormous wealth that they can generate in African countries.
According to the Director – General of Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization Professor Tunde Babawale, Africa’s preference to foreign stimulants over indigenous has robbed the continent of a vital foreign exchange earner and therefore needs to be reversed.
He also stated that many Africans do not realize the medicinal values or uses of some indigenous stimulants like; Kolanut, Bitter kola and Alligator pepper; which he said some of them could be used in neutralizing food poison.
Babawale at the briefing further explained that the aims of the conference to be held in Abuja involved the invitation of experts to a round table to expose the medicinal values inherent in the indigenous stimulants, generate international interest in the stimulants, encourage their mass production in Nigeria and other African Countries in order to help diversify the continent’s dominant mono driven economies.
He added that the conference will also create an avenue to identifying the sites (plantation) of the stimulants, deliberate on crop census of the stimulants, encourage foreign investment through Nigerian Export Promotion Council and promote cultural tourism in Nigeria.
Speaking in the same vein, Dr. Emmanuel A. Aigbeka who represented Executive Director of CRIN, stated that Kolanut was a major product during the trans-Sahara trade. He told the audience that his organization had processed Kolanut into wine and fortified it with Cocoa to produce chocolate and therefore called for price regulation for African stimulants.
The Conference coordinator, Ms. Heather R. Akanni reiterated the points made by Professor Tunde Babawale and assured all present that the conference will meet their expectations.
The Chairman of proposed conference Professor Wande Abimbola commended CBAAC’s DG for his giant strides at the Centre. He also traced the origin and types of Kolanut to Nigeria and Ghana; and therefore affirmed the efficacy of the Stimulants and their uses around the world especially in the USA and Brazil. He also urged intellectuals to do more research on the indigenous stimulants.
Other dignitaries present at the briefing include; Mr. Iwunor Isaac of Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Benedict Odey, Programme Officer, African Business Roundtable, Dr. Keye Olaore, Permanent Secretary, Osun State Ministry of Commerce, Cooperatives and Empowerment and members of Kolanut Grower and Trade of Nigeria.