The Africa Centre of Excellence in Phytomedicine Research and Development (ACEPRD) at
the University of Jos is conserving Nigeria’s bio-diversity, for which it should be
commended, Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor
Abubakar Rasheed, has said.
In his remarks during a high-level visit to the Centre, recently, the Chairman, National
Project Performance Review Committee (NPPRC), described the ACEPRD Project as a very
important one with many benefits. He said that NUC was proud of the University’s
leadership in this area of Medicine, noting that Phytomedicine research was very crucial in
today’s world where the pharmaceutical industry had captured the world’s imagination,
through various herbal remedies.
While acknowledging the benefits of linking the academia with industry and traditional
medical practitioners, the Executive Secretary, who also represents the Federal Government
on the ACE Project Steering Committee (PSC), expressed delight that the academia had
decided not to be spectators in the growing area of research in Phytomedicine. He therefore
urged the Centre to build continuity into its research activities, by seeking innovative ways
of insulating itself against any form of shut down, in the event of what he called “one of the
biggest enemies of internationalisation”: staff industrial actions. He also enjoined the Centre
to judiciously utilise the financial support from the World Bank in order to fast track project
On project sustainability beyond the Bank’s support, Professor Rasheed commended the
University Management for its support to the Centre, so far, and advised it to, as a matter of
policy, create a funding line for the Centre in its annual budget and also encourage the
Centre’s drive to generate additional revenue. He further stressed the need to reach out to
more national and international students.
The Executive Secretary went on to present the World Bank/Association of African
Universities (AAU)’s latest report on the Centre, pointing out the areas that needed to be
addressed for the success of the Project.
While receiving the Executive Secretary, earlier, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Seddi
Sebastian Maimako, remarked that the University considered it a privilege to have the
Centre, describing it as a true Centre of Excellence, with highly committed staff. He thanked
the World Bank, NUC, the Executive Secretary and all partners for their roles in the
establishment and growth of the Centre. According to him ACEPRD’s motto is: Continued
Improvement. Every observation made by the Executive Secretary’s team would, therefore,
be taken seriously and looked into.
National Coordinator of the ACE Project at NUC, Dr. Joshua Atah, explained that the
primary purpose of the visit was to interact with the Leader, other officials and students of
the Centre, to get first-hand information about their operations, achievements and challenges,
if any, and seek ways of supporting the Centre to address them.
He suggested the establishment of a repository of some herbal plants of the Centre and
advised the project team to work hard towards externally generating revenue and
commercialising the centre’s products ACEPRD’s.
A presentation of the Centre’s report was made by the Deputy Centre Leader, Prof. Taiwo
Alemika. The NUC team also interacted with faculty and students, some of who said that
they were honoured to be enrolled at the Centre. The interaction was followed by an
inspection of the laboratories.
Among other achievements, the University of Jos Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, which
gave birth to ACEPRD, had, in the last 10 years, been at the forefront of research in anti-
snake venom vaccine, antifertility drugs, mushroom and Artemisia Annua cultivation, the
latter being the key plant in Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT), which is
recommended for the treatment of plasmodium falciparum malaria.
Others in the Executive Secretary’s entourage were the Director, Executive Secretary’s
Office, Mr. Chris J. Maiyaki and ACE Communications Officer, Mrs. Adebukola Olatunji.
Also on hand to receive the NUC team were other Principal Officers of the University, the
Centre Leader, Professor John Aguiyi and other staff of the Centre.
L-R: Centre Leader, ACEPRD, Prof. John Aguiyi; NUC Director, Executive Secretary’s Office, Mr. Chris Maiyaki and
National Coordinator, ACE, Nigeria, Dr. Joshua Atah