The Federal Government has announced a N36 million cash prize for any Nigerian who finds a cure for coronavirus and Lassa fever. Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, originated from Wuhan, China, and has killed over 1,300 people. The number of infected people globally has jumped to 63,922 cases, according to the National Health Commission. Lassa fever is a seasonal disease that usually breaks out in parts of Nigeria during the dry season and most infections usually result in death. On Thursday, February 13, 2020, while speaking 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 of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, 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 N36m.” He added: “There is nothing that we want to do that we can’t do. Nigeria will be making contributions to the world.” Speaking on the reason for this initiative, he said; “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.” And of course, the announcement drew cheers from the audience at the event.
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