By Abayomi Adeshida, Abuja
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has been urged to leverage on the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, Lagos. and pay more attention to tapping from the vast resources that the Nigerian Diaspora Community possess in the drive towards the vaccination of Nigerians against the deadly virus.
This advice was coming at the critical time when the developed countries are rolling our policies that would benefit all their citizens to contain the ravaging second wave of the virus before they give consideration to third world countries where they are rendering some forms of medical aids in mere respect for the existing bilateral and multilateral relations among them.
An American based Medical Management Professional, Mr. Anthony Isama gave this charge during a parley with the media in Abuja over the contributions of the Nigerian diaspora community towards ameliorating the untold hardships that have pervaded the country beyond formal and informal remittances and financial assistance.
Isama who is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Peoples Health Foundation UK/Nigeria was the Deputy Coordinator for the President Muhammadu Buhari Diaspora Campaign Organisation were the Chairman, Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa served as the Chairman during the 2019 Presidential Elections Campaigns.
According to Anthony Isama who recently returned to the country from the United States of America in his capacity as a Principal Diaspora Home Interface, U.S.A./NIgeria, “more than any nation of this world, Nigeria is the one country that is best positioned to finish the war against COVID-19 within the fastest possible time because of two members of the Nigerian Diaspora Community that are currently making waves through their works on finding a permanent solution to the scourge.
“Because of the way he was able to distinguish himself during his stewardship when he was appointed as the D.G. of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, the appointment of Dr. Sani Aliyu as the National Coordinator, Presidential Task Force On COVID-19 did not come as a surprise to the Nigerian Diaspora Community.
“Nigeria is also lucky to have an Associate Professor of Medicine who specialises on Infectious Diseases, who is the Lead Research on the Pfizer’s Covid-19 Trial at Yale University, USA, Dr. Onyeama Ogbuagu; he as the head of the team working on how to save humanity from Covid-19 and other diseases.
“We are better positioned as a country if we can leverage on the experience of these two main professionals and explore the vast opportunities within the diaspora community globally to get knockdown facilities from the best around the world to infuse with the existing infrastructure at Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, Lagos.
“Once we are set up to produce the vaccines in the country, our Universities would provide the manpower from the best among the numerous graduates that are roaming the streets in search of what to do and we are good to go.
“While this team is conducting research into how to make the vaccine that is entirely made out of ingredients sourced in Nigerian, we can get the franchise of the vaccine that was discovered by Yale University Team led by Dr. Ogbuagu from Pfizer and our local staff would be engaged to repackage them into smaller packs that would be distributed across the country and even exported to some other countries that might wish to procure from Nigeria.
“The operations at FIIRO Oshodi would commence as of that of a vehicle assembly plant and grow to a self-sustaining facility that can help the future generation of Nigerians.
“That would bring us closer to a solution to the existing problem within the shortest possible time because presently, as the second wave of the virus is ravaging the world, time is of an essence.
“Besides finding a solution to the killer disease, we would also be better positioned to manage most of the cases of mysterious deaths in many parts of the country that have also stretched our health sector in 2020,” Isama advised the government.
When asked whether there are any practical steps the diaspora community is taking to collaborate with government to help the people, Isama told journalists that he is in the country from America to deploy his vast experience of many years in the areas of global, institutional and community health administration, policy development, programming and social services delivery.
“Having worked in the last National Assembly as an aide to the then Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, I offered to serve in the Diaspora Presidential Campaign Council so I can coordinate some of the activities in the area of healthcare delivery particularly and general administration.
“I will say I have an idea about how these things work, and the process has to be complete before we can get the right results. That is why I am here in collaboration with some of my colleagues to help the country.
“We are on it, we are rubbing minds and providing our advice to those who should know and before too long, Nigerians would begin to see results.
“We are working here and holding webinars and online meetings to push the matter and I can assure you that we are getting the cooperation of those who should value what we are doing.