Two scientific works have been selected as winners of the $100,000 Nigeria Prize for Science 2022 organised by Nigeria LNG Ltd., NLNG, themed: “Innovations in Sustainable Food Security”.
The most outstanding works were: “Gains in Grain Yield of Released Maize (Zea Mays L.) Cultivars under Drought and Well-Watered Conditions” by Muhydideen Oyekunle and Shehu Ado; and “Development of Process Plant for Plantain Flour” by Sesan Peter Ayodeji and Emmanuel Olatunji Olatomilola, as winners of the prize money.
Chairperson of the Advisory Board for the prize, Prof. Barth Nnaji, who announced this yesterday at a news conference in Lagos, said the two groups will split the $100,000 grand prize.
He also informed that the panel of judges for the Nigeria Prize for Science, received 107 entries from scientists worldwide for the 2022 edition.
A panel of judges led by Prof. Christian Agbo of the Department of Agriculture, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, reached the decision on the winning entries.
Other members on the panel are Funke Opeke, the Chief Executive Officer, MainOne, and Prof. Mohammed Magaji of the Department of Agronomy, Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.
On the judges’ report, Nnaji said the works addressed food security as a key component of the national agenda and are in line with Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, which sought sustainable solutions to end hunger in all its forms by 2030, and to achieve food security.
Nnaji explained that the choice of the judges reflected a multi-disciplinary approach relevant to the theme in focus.
He said the advisory board was particularly pleased that in evaluating the entries, the judges upheld the objectives of the prize, which sought to identify and promote excellence in utilising scientific knowledge.
“Muhyideen Oyekunle, a Maize Breeder and Prof. Shehu Ado, an Agricultural Expert’s work on: ‘Gains in Grain Yield of Released Maize (Zea Mays L.) Cultivars under Drought and Well-Watered Conditions’, provides us with a unique opportunity.
“The maize seeds they selected courtesy of a breeding programme have been tested to be high yielding and water stress tolerant.
“Prof. Sesan Ayodeji, from Federal University of Technology, Akure and his colleague, Emmanuel Olatomilola’s work on: ‘Development of Process Plant for Plantain Flour’, is important for reducing spoilage of farm products and package for distribution as well as value addition for farm products,” Nnaji said.
He also commended the NLNG board and management for instituting, sponsoring and sustaining what is arguably the biggest science prize in Africa.
In his remarks, NLNG’s General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, Andy Odeh, said the Science Prize is growing in strength as the 2022 verdict depicts.
He noted that the Advisory Board and NLNG are working behind the scenes to review the prize for bigger impact and inclusiveness for the good of society.
Odeh said the winning works had the potential to significantly impact the country’s food security positively through a stable, efficient and sufficient system of food production.
The GM emphasized that science can provide solutions to most of the country’s challenges and urged relevant stakeholders and the public to continue to support NLNG through the Nigeria Prize for Science to make scientific breakthroughs the biggest enabler of development in Nigeria.
Commending the winners for the big feat, Odeh noted that the winning works have the potential to significantly impact Nigeria’s food security positively, guaranteeing a stable, efficient, and sufficient system of food production.
He also called on all past winners of the prize to synergize and become a think-tank that can generate and sustain the flow of ideas, innovation, and scientific advice to the public and private sectors.
This, he said, will make scientific ideas and innovations beneficial to Nigerians, thereby helping to build a better Nigeria, in line with NLNG’s vision.