The N36 million cash prize will only be awarded to any Nigerian with the cure.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu has announced a N36 million cash prize for any Nigerian who finds the cure for coronavirus and lassa fever.

Onu disclosed the N36 million cash prize on Thursday, February 13, 2020, at an event held to mark the retirement from service of A. O. Oyesefo, a former director of the Department of Chemical Technology.

The minister said, “I challenge all Nigerian scientists to go out and find cures for coronavirus and Lassa fever.

“Any scientist that is able to do this will be given N36 million.”

There is nothing that we want to do that we can’t do. Nigeria will be making contributions to the world.

“We want our scientists to know that we place value on them. We want them to know that they are important. If you don’t do things like this, the scientists will think we don’t value them.

“Research takes a lot of time and energy, and we will be very happy to fulfill our pledge. This prize is open to the universities; it is also open to private laboratories and research institutes," Punch quoted Onu as saying.

The first case of coronavirus, was recorded in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.

CNN reports that the number of coronavirus cases on a global scale has risen to 64,435, while the death toll from the deadly disease is now over 1,383.

On the other hand, Lassa fever is a disease spread to humans through food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.

According to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Nigerian agency responsible for the management of disease outbreaks, while the number of suspected cases has increased significantly from more than 700 to 1,708, confirmed cases of Lassa fever now stood at 472.

More so, the death toll from the disease has now jumped to 70, as Nigeria grapples with the epidemic.