By Adeniyi Adedeji, Ilorin
The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, NIPRD, is planning to grow 5,000 hectares of medicinal plants, roots and leaves in Kwara State to fight Coronavirus.
Senate Committee Chairman on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, representing Kwara Central senatorial district in the National Assembly, disclosed this during a training conference for phytomedicine practitioners in Ilorin, Kwara State.
The conference was themed: ‘Developing Nigeria’s Phytomedicine for Healthy Population and Assured Economic Prosperity.’.
Senator Omoriegbe, who is a medical practitioner himself, said that growing the herbal medical option to treat the pandemic was aimed at helping the country in its research and quests to develop phytomedicine and vaccines to fight against diseases and COVID-19.
Stating that the benefit of such move would not only be useful to Kwara State, but to other NIPRD state offices, in the bid to develop qualitative and economic phytomedicines in the country to fight against diseases, Oloriegbe added that the objective of the phytomedicine training conference was to ensure the safety and healthiness of Nigerians who patronizes locally produced medicines.
He said, “It’s our duty as policy makers to ensure that the medicines are of quality, see to how we can empower our local medicine practitioners and ensure they use what are of quality to produce their medicines.”
He explained further that producing medicines locally would help to save the country’s foreign exchange saying, “You can see that when COVID-19 was raging, we were moved to import herbal drugs from Madagascar.
“What they used for the drug is anthemisia and Nigeria has better anthemisia.”
Reiterating that If Nigeria encourages and develops its local medicine, it would not only empower phytomedicine practitioners, but also boosts the nation’s resources, Oloriegbe expressed concerns over the lapses in the manner the people coming into the Nigeria are granted entry without adequately following COVID-19 protocols at the various entry points in the country.
He said, “The Senate would have to step in, to ensure due process are followed when people are coming into the country from any of the entry points.”
The Director General of NIPRD , Dr. Obi Adigwe, while speaking said phytomedicine was a good source of medicine that could help to improve people’s access to health and social economic development in the country.
He said, “Over the years the phytomedicine potentials of the country has been neglected. Countries like China and India in Asia are making billions of dollars from phytomedicines.
“It’s rather ironical that the quality of phytomedicine ingredients in Nigeria and other African countries are of better qualities than those of these countries.”