- Institutes Grants for Scholarship and Research
Governor of Abia State, Nigeria, Dr Victor Okezie Ikpeazu visited Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike, Ebonyi State, to honour the invitation of the Local Organizing Committee for 3rd International Conference on Food Security and Hidden Hunger to deliver a keynote speech on the second day of the conference, Tuesday, October 8, 2019. Governor Ikpeazu was received at the University Main gate by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Prof. Sunday Elom, and other officers of the University on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba, who was out of the state at the time of the visit.
After the brief reception ceremony at the University Senate Chamber, the Governor was led to the NEEDS Assessment Building, venue of the event for the keynote presentation.
In his address of welcome, Prof. Elom, who shared his memorable times with the Governor, as a younger colleague, at Ebonyi State University, told Dr. Ikpeazu that the VC was unavoidably absent and would have loved to receive him personally to the University for the very first time. Prof. Elom further said that the VC wished the Governor a fruitful stay on the campus.
Prof. Dr. Jonny Ogunji, Chairman of the LOC. introduced the theme to the Governor and participants for the day reiterating that micro nutrients such as Vitamin A, D, Iron, iodine have been noticed to be deficient in meals and that these deficiencies affect almost all new born babies in the country and that available records show that only 2 out of 10 children in Nigeria are reached with treatment, stressing that the report is frightening and needs to be addressed. He further pointed out that the University hosted the event to avail the public the privilege of the Executive Governor’s presence and lecture.
Dr. Ikpeazu who delivered his lecture on the theme, Implications of Hidden Hunger on Nutrition and Health Security in the face of Climate Change, with a touch of class, started by sharing that it has been raining consecutively in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of Abia State, for 14 days counting and that it was as a result of Climate Change adding that it is therefore timely to consider the impact of Climate Change on the environment, which in turn affects the quality of nutrients we get from meals we prepare in our homes .The Governor stated that lack of micro nutrients in the body can cause goiter, among other illnesses, stressing that there is hunger in Africa, putting women and children from ages 0-5 in a precarious situation, thereby reducing the mental and physical development of victims. According to Dr. Ikpeazu, other natural disasters, including erosion that washes off the face of the soil, destroying farmlands and reducing space for both subsistence and commercial farming, abound.
He pointed out that the average Nigerian meal is deficient in micro nutrients such as iron, iodine, zinc, vitamin A and D, causing stunted growth in children, not to mention a lot of health challenges that accompany deficiency of nutrients in the meals. He expressed his excitement that the University had put together such lecture even in a university setting which is rich with educated minds, and requested that more of these lectures be taken to the streets and market places, so that even a layman can understand the need for having micro nutrients in meals consumed.
He made bold to inform his audience that Abia is the only state in Nigeria that feeds pupils from primary 1-6, stating that while the Federal Government feeds from primary 1-3, Abia State Government complements the feeding for primary 4-6, saying that it shows his government is passionate about alleviating hunger in the state and country at large, and that Abia State presently produces made in Aba rice, for both consumption and sales.
As demonstration of his passion and support for excellence in learning, teaching and research, Governor Ikpeazu announced a cash award of N500, 000 for the best graduating student in Biochemistry and 2 Million Naira Research Grant each year, for 3 years, for conducting research on Hidden Hunger Reduction: Production of Ready to use Micro Nutrient Formulae for Pregnant and Lactating Women plus Children.
Governor Ikpeazu received AE-FUNAI Hidden Hunger Reduction Ambassador Award for his wife, Her Excellency Deaconess Nkechi Ikpeazu. The Governor expressed delight for the award, stating that it would serve as a tonic that would make Her Excellency (Nkechi Ikpeazu) do more work, as the reward for hard work is more work.
Other highlights of the event were presentation and decoration of the Governor with AE-FUNAI made Akwete cloths and planting of trees by the Governor and Prof. Dr. Dieter Trautz of University of Applied Sciences, Osnabrueck, Germany, in support of the Go-Green Agenda of the University to actualize the VC’s vision to transform the University to a Campus in a Garden.