ACEMFS holds Inaugural Stakeholders Meeting

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As part of efforts to ensure safer foods and secured living in the society, the Africa Centre of Excellence for Mycotoxin and Food Safety (ACEMFS), Federal University of Technology, Minna,  held her stakeholders inaugural meeting from the 18 - 20 June, 2019 at the Chemical Engineering Lectre Theatre, Main Campus, .

While declaring the ceremony open on Tuesday,June 18, 2019 the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Abdullahi Bala, fsssn, said the University was established to put to effect the nation’s desire for self reliance in science and technology, and since that period, the University has gone from a modest beginning to become one of the leading universities in Nigeria.

He said, “it is therefore not  a fluke that FUTMinna competed for and won the grant for the ACEMFS and it is an honour to host the Centre because it has immediate benefits that have direct influence and relevance to, not only the immediate community, but Nigeria as a nation.”

Prof. Bala said food quality and food safety today is a tropical issue, while the coming of ACEMFS is apt and timely and an opportunity for FUTMinna to improve on the international flavour and content of both the faculty and students of the University, adding that, the University wholeheartedly welcomes the ideas of ACE and the fact that the West Africa and Central Africa regions will be the immediate target for admission of students and also for staff exchange and collaboration in research institution.

The VC thanked the World Bank, NUC and all the partners that came together to produce a very competitive grant proposal that saw the University being awarded the Centre. He assured them that FUTMinna will give its support for the Centre to maximally perform and be the best in Nigeria.

The Centre Leader, Prof. Hussaini Makun in his speech, said the vision of ACEMFS is to be a global food safety training and research authority in order to realise sustainable and secure health for humanity.

He said the mission of the Centre will create an opportunity and such results to address Africa’s shortage of expertise and applicable solutions to ensure a safe, controlled and sufficient food supply that will support economic growth and public health.

Prof. Makun added that the Centre intends to tackle some challenges and make sure there are safer foods, resulting in wellness, economic growth and social wellbeing. The Centre will also have a teaching and research programme which will focus on surveillance and intervention of Mycotoxins and all intellectual properties will be tested on the farms, he said.

The MD, Research Adviser, National Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt, Dr. Habiba Aly Hassan-Wassef, while delivering her keynote paper, titled: “Crisis Management Strategies in Food Industry,” said that the mission of research development is health and wellbeing of human kind.

She said, many African countries do not have the appropriate infrastructure to deal with the information and the scientic data produced by centre of excellence.

 Dr. Wassef disclosed that in her report on Mycotoxins and Aflatoxins infection in Africa, the reference were because of poverty and under development and lack of infrastructure, many Africa countries are unable to apply the norms and the relations of the data required by international quality experts, and The Centre, she said is therefore here to change the infrastructure prerequisite.

She said the health sector is the front line actor when there is an outbreak or a food poisoning and when such occurs, the most important thing to do is how to communicate adequately when the cause is not yet identified.

Dr. Wassef said, crisis management is a learning experience and every time any country manages a crisis, there is always an experience in it and ACE will also act on these experiences as it is a training process.

She mentioned some requirements for crisis management, which includes: competent trained personnel, public health surveillance system, primary health team familiar with system of existing health hazard, established crisis reporting system and a national network of accredited reference laboratories.

The wife of the Executive Governor of Niger State, Dr.  Amina Abubakar Bello in her remark expressed her appreciation for the invitation, while congratulating the University for getting the grants for the Centre. She said it is a proud moments for everyone in Nigeria and FUTMinna in particular to be the University in Nigeria that beat all other universities to actually get the grants.

She said food safety is what a lot of people take for granted and described the coming of the Centre as a right step in the right direction because it will help train the relevant professionals.

Dr. Bello who is a Medical practitioner, disclosed that her work on cancer has exposed her to what caused cancer and the associations it has with food.

She said the idea of having the numbers of Ph.D’s and Masters students that are going to be developed from the Centre is absolutely wonderful and if those students are able to apply themselves very well, something fantastic will emerge. Having the Centre, she said is a great opportunity to address everything that is lacking.

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