Capacity Building in Contemporary Biotechnology in Nigeria History, Impact and Way Forward

Uzochukwu, Sylvia and Onyia, Christie and Nwadiuto, Esiobu and Joan, Campbell and Paul, Keese and Ivan, Ingelbrecht and Ochem, Alex (2022) Capacity Building in Contemporary Biotechnology in Nigeria History, Impact and Way Forward. In: Biosafety and Bioethics in Biotechnology. Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, pp. 173-185. ISBN 9781003179177

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In the 1990s, most scientists in African universities and research centres, who are otherwise highly talented, lacked competence in modern molecular biology principles and techniques, with poor or non-existent facilities for modern biotechnology research and training. Meanwhile, a biotechnology revolution was going on in the developed countries of the world, with unprecedented positive effects on food security, health and the environment. Many African scientists viewed modern biotechnology as integral to food security, affordable health care and a healthy environment in the region and did not want Africa to be left out of the life science and gene revolution. In Nigeria, home-based scientists and Nigerian scientists in the Diaspora therefore sought strategies for building up a critical mass of Nigerian scientists competent in the new techniques, who could lead the country’s growth in DNA and gene technology. So, human capacity building and training became the top priority of all stakeholders, requiring the need for collaborative efforts of home-based scientists, government, the private sector, diaspora and international bodies/institutions and donor agencies. The Foundation for African Development through International Biotechnology (FADIB) was the first to mount yearly train-the-trainer workshops on DNA manipulating techniques in Nigeria. Thereafter, University of Agriculture Abeokuta (UNAAB, now Federal University of Agriculture, FUNAAB) embarked on a sustained series of similar yearly capacity building workshops from the year 2000. Altogether, over 1000 scientists were re-trained from about 100 tertiary institutions and research institutes. Alumni of these workshops rose to the challenge and began to organize their own workshops on basic molecular biology all over the country, in universities and research institutes, training colleagues and students. The private sector played pivotal roles in helping to develop human and laboratory infrastructure. DANIFOL Biotechnology Consult Ltd and Applied Biotech International Nigeria Ltd (ABINL) were prominent private sector players in these efforts. The Biotechnology Society of Nigeria (BSN) played a pivotal role particularly through the pre-conference workshops organized during the Annual Conferences of the Society. The successes of the training courses were hinged on the collaboration of home-based scientists with international scientists of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Nigerian scientists in the Diaspora. This combination proved to be a winning one, and today, the attitude to biotechnology in Nigeria has changed to the point that there are at least three genetically modified (GM) crops approved for general use in Nigeria, and biotechnology programmes and centres, abound all over the country, manned mainly, by alumni of the re-training workshops, and a vibrant biotech professional society (the BSN). Though many scientists have been re-trained, a lot is still left to be done. It is therefore recommended that governments, universities and research institutes continue to support these efforts to ensure the new generation of Nigerian scientists lead Nigeria to the next level to ensure maximal gain from the new biological revolution. This chapter chronicles the evolution of advances made in building capacity and training-the-trainers in basic biotechnology skills in Nigeria and discusses the lessons learned

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences
Depositing User: mrs chioma hannah
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2022 11:48
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2022 12:00

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