Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) today called for increased efforts by scientists to fight Malaria and permanently rid the country of the disease before the World Health Assembly’s target date of 2030.

Speaking while commemorating World Malaria Day with – End Malaria for good- as its theme, the company’s General Manager External Relations, Dr Kudo Eresia-Eke, said there was grave indifference by Nigerian scientists to find a solution to a scourge peculiar to the tropics and the country. He remarked that the trend may not augur well for global efforts to reduce malaria incidence and mortality rates by at least 90% by 2030.

He said: “That is why we, at NLNG, are speaking out and calling on all Nigerians to make malaria eradication a priority. We can’t continue to watch our people, especially the children, suffer under this scourge. The worst will come if we continue with this indifferent behaviour. Let’s support our scientists to find a permanent solution to this.

“We are calling the world’s attention to the fight against malaria, in addition to the ongoing work in the Nigeria Prize for Science. We refocused the prize to identify societal problems in need of urgent solutions. We have beamed our spotlight on Malaria, introducing the theme “Innovationson Malaria Control” to the prize. Malaria has remained one of the deadliest diseases in the country and Nigeria still records unacceptably high number of casualties. Considerable resources have been expended on this but we need to find permanent solutions and free up these resources for other developmental projects. That is why we have to work to beat the deadline,” he said.

The Advisory Board of the Nigeria Prize for Science in 2016 announced the introduction of the Malaria theme to the prize, extending the theme to the 2017 prize after no winner emerged last year. The call for entries was published in March 2017 for another round of entries and will close on May 12, 2017.

The Advisory Board of the Nigeria Prize for Science, chaired by Professor Alfred Susu, himself a distinguished past winner of the prize also includes Professor Michael Adikwu, another past winner of the science prize; Professor Elijah Mshelia, a nuclear physicist; Professor Barth Nnaji, renowned scientist and former Minister of Power; and Chief Dr. Nike Akande, President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Overseeing this year’s process is the panel of judges is led by Professor Catherine Falade, a professor of pharmacology, at the University of Ibadan. Other members of the panel of judges include Professor Sunday Ene-Ojo Atawodi, Professor of Biochemistry at Ahmadu Bello University and Prof. Obioma Nwaorgu, a public health parasitologist and epidemiologist from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Akwa.

The first winners of the Science Prize emerged in 2004, Professor Alfred Susu and Dr Kingsley Abhulimen. Other winners of the prize are Professor Michael Adikwu, Dr. Ebenezer Meshida, Professor Andrew Nok and Professor Akii Ibhadode.

The Nigeria Prize for Science was established in 2004 by Nigeria LNG as part of its broader corporate social responsibility initiatives targeted at helping to build a better Nigeria, and comes with a cash prize $100,000.