Dr. Shafi’I Hamidu

Sir: I not too long ago watched a brief debate on Channels TV, Dawn Every day programme, between two Nigerian lecturers: Dr. Akyala Ishaku, who got here to the programme to ascertain the existence of the COVID-19 virus in Nigeria, and Professor Cyril Otoikhian, who was there to disprove the existence of the virus altogether.

Dr. Akyala is a lecturer and a virologist on the College of Pure and Utilized Sciences, Nasarawa State College, Keffi, Nasarawa State whereas Prof. Cyril is a professor of genetics on the Novena College, Kwale, Delta State.

To start his defence, Dr. Akyala laid out how a scientific debate is completed, how speculation are being confirmed with empirical proof, and the way a counter argument is being put ahead to disprove present order or speculation. He then reeled out established scientific evidences as revealed by respected first quartile excessive impression issue scientific journals just like the Lancet and Nature that established the existence, origin, and evolution of the Coronavirus in over 700 revealed journal articles. He later narrowed down his arguments to Nigeria and cited the outcomes of a current analysis performed by African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Ailments headed by Prof. Christian Happi on the Redeemer’s College, Ede, Osun State. The analysis was in a position to set up the existence of COVID-19 in Nigeria with over 20 clusters unfold across the nation.

To my shock, Professor Cyril began his defence by saying he wonders why Dr. Akyala is sounding this manner. Then, the don goes forward to clarify what he is aware of because the scientific technique. In his phrases, he mentioned: “no matter they’re doing inside (the Lab), allow them to convey it outdoors and put it on a desk. Let each scientists be out there, let all samples be out there, let all reagents be on the desk, the cameras be out there and allow them to present us what they’re calling COVID-19.” He added: “however all I noticed was a humorous try that may not yield any outcomes”. He talked about the identify of the American immunologist Anthony Fauci, however didn’t make reference to any of his revealed works after which concluded that COVID-19 shouldn’t be even actual in any respect.

To place it mildly, Cyril got here to the battle with a stick, whereas Akyala showed-up with a bazooka!

In his second outing on the identical TV programme, Dr. Akyala mentioned that he did slightly background examine on Professor Cyril by trying to find his contributions in Google Scholar and he came upon that he has by no means revealed any work in virology in any impression issue journal. However when the professor was given an opportunity to defend himself on why he has no revealed contribution in an impression issue journal, he mentioned that he grew to become a professor by evaluation, and that he has greater than 121 publications throughout completely different areas of specialisations that he has studied. Then, he made references to movies of Fauci and movies of himself in ITV Benin. This, to me, is a nationwide shame! As a result of I can’t think about a professor making reference to edited on-line movies posted by conspiracy theorists as proof to win a scientific debate on a nationwide tv.

The broader implications of this are past the four-walls of our universities and analysis establishments. It could have an effect on the standard of graduates that we produce from our universities, which ultimately grow to be unemployable within the financial system. It could additionally have an effect on the standard of analysis outputs produce by our universities with no actual impression on the event of the nation. This pandemic is exposing our weaknesses and by the point it will be over, we might be left with extra questions than solutions.


  • Dr. Shafi’I Hamidu,


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