History was made today Wednesday, June 24, 2020; as the Department of Microbiology of the Federal University of Technology (FUT), Minna; set a new pace in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic with the production of a sterilized brand of face-masks; a first of its kind in Nigeria.
Equally important, 100 units of the special face-masks were also donated to the Vice-Chancellor of the University; Prof. Abdullahi Bala, fsssn.
The brief presentation ceremony took place at the Senate Chamber, Main Campus of FUT Minna.
Speaking before presenting the items to the Vice-Chancellor, the Head of department, Microbiology; Dr. Nasiru Usman Adabara said the department has a role to play in the prevention and control of micro-organisms; which include COVID-19. He stated that the donation of the face-masks was in furtherance of the department’s community service function to the University; as well as the nation at large through the conduct of novel research to address societal problems.
Dr. Adabara disclosed that the department was motivated to undertake the production of the face-masks in order to appreciate the University Management for their support; as well as to thank staff who have been working tirelessly since the outbreak of COVID-19 to keep the University moving.
The Head of Department stated that the face-masks were produced locally in the department with value addition; through the development of a fumigation chamber to sterilize the face-masks to make it safer for usage; adding that the department has the capacity to embark on mass production of the face-masks for commercial purposes.
Further, he commended all the staff of the department for being part of the novel production of the face-masks.
Responding, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Bala expressed appreciation to the department for writing the University’s name in gold; for yet another good reason by adding an expert touch to the production of face-masks. He affirmed this as the direction that FUT-Minna should follow as a leading university of science and technology in Nigeria.
While assuring the department of the University Management’s support, the VC said the donation of the face-masks is gratifying; especially because it has been treated and due to the fact that it is coming from a renowned university; known for excellence in conducting cutting-edge research.
Prof. Bala stated that any product of the university should have value addition in terms of excellence and expertise; which would naturally distinguish it from the ones being produced elsewhere. In addition, the Vice-Chancellor disclosed that the University is presently working on the production of Hi-Tech hand washing machines; which would further improve upon the locally fabricated ones in the market.
Prof. Bala, who is also the Chairman of the Association of West African Universities (AWAU); assured the department that the face-masks would be distributed to staff and judiciously utilised. Indeed, this, he noted, is essential in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The VC further stated that the University would soon organize an exhibition for the University’s researchers to showcase all COVID-19 related inventions for members of the public.
The high point of the event was the presentation of the face-masks to the Vice-Chancellor. Other dignitaries present at the event were members of the University Management; some staff from the department of Microbiology and the Director, University Health Services, Dr. Othman Adegoke.