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Scientists tackle climate change challenges in $100, 000 Nigeria prize for science

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Kingsley Adegboye

Twenty-nine scientists participating in the 2019 edition of the Nigeria Prize for Science, an annual event sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited, are expected to tackle challenges posed by climate change across the country such as erosion, drought and desertification.

The Prize for Science, which commenced in 2004, comes with a cash prize of $100,000 for the winner. The theme for this year is: Climate change: Erosion, Drought and Desertification.

The entries for this year’s contest were handed over to the Advisory Board of the Prize in Lagos recently to signify the beginning of the judging process that will culminate in the emergence of a winner.

Mr. Andy Odeh, NLNG’s Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, while handing over the entries to the Advisory Board’s Chairman, Professor Alfred Akpoveta Susu, a former winner of the Prize, said: “The business of scientific innovation and research is not an easy task anywhere in the world. In Nigeria, it is even more difficult because of the paucity of research funds and the resulting increasing lack of interest.”

According to him, Nigeria LNG will continue through the Nigeria Prize for Science to find excellence even if it is to be found in the darkest corner as NLNG is committed to changing the narrative of the nation through scientific prowess, through which many nations have excelled.

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Odeh pointed out that although Climate Change remains a myth to so many people, its impact can be seen on our environment and agriculture. “We have all seen the growing rate of desertification in the northern part of our country. Climate change is real and that is why NLNG believes that solutions to this threat can be engendered through a competition such as the Nigeria Prize for Science. The prize is another opportunity for NLNG to contribute to the development of the country.

“The Nigeria Prize is open to all irrespective of nationality. What is common to all past and prospective winners is the focus on solving Nigeria’s problems through scientific endeavours. It does not matter who finds solutions to the Nigerian problems.

Receiving the entries on behalf of the Advisory Board, Professor Susu remarked that regardless of how large or how small the number of entries is, the judging process for the competition must take its course and assured Nigerians that the advisory board will deliver according to their mandate which is based on the values of integrity and excellence.

He enjoined the judges to understand that “judging the prize goes beyond the prize itself.  It is contributing to nation-building and we must never compromise on excellence,” he noted.

The entries were immediately handed over to the panel of judges, chaired by Professor Deborah Ajakaiye. In her remarks, she assured Nigerians that the judges were completely aligned to NLNG’s core values of integrity and excellence in carrying out their duties. She added that finding solutions to climate change through the prize is timely as there are forces fast eating up the land mass from all corners of the country.

Other members of the panel are Professor Peter Nnabude and Professor Abdullahi Emmanuel Bala.

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