By Nkechi Isaac, Abuja
The Federal Government has declared its willingness to collaborate with traditional healers to develop the nation’s herbal medicine sub sector.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu stated this when he visited a traditional medicine practitioner, Pa Aliyu Giwa, who was renowned for using traditional medicines to treat cancer and other complicated terminal ailments at Adavieba community in Adavi Local Government of Kogi State.
The minister, who was accompanied by his Ministry of Health counterpart, Prof. Isaac Adewole, decried the nation’s overdependence on importation, stressing that the tradomedicine sector could be developed to rake in the kind of gains already being enjoyed by Asian countries.
He said: “We are tired of importing everything we need from outside; the time has come for us to look inward and see how we can export our traditional medicines.”
Onu urged Giwa and other traditional healers and alternative medicine practitioners to release the details of their residues and other ingredients to maximize benefits for them and the nation.
“We want a situation where he can transfer his knowledge to his children and he can also let our natural medicine development agency to know about these herbs, so that we will do more research, and from it, we will be able to identify the active ingredients and use that to create jobs for Nigerians.
“It will help save lives and improve quality of life. It is wonderful that the secrets embedded in the herbs and roots in our forest can now come out to solve problems that the world thought could not be solved and this will help the world know that Nigeria is truly a great nation. When all the investigations are done, this will be a major contribution to knowledge, and we believe healthcare delivery will benefit a lot,” he pointed out.
The minister of health represented by the director-general of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPPRI), Prof. Karniyusus Gammaniel, said there was no conflict between traditional and orthodox medicine, saying both could be explored for the benefit of humanity.
In his comment, the traditional healer thanked the government for recognising his achievements.
He said he was born on October 27, 1927 and that what he missed in western education he made up in orthodox medicine as he learnt first-hand traditional healing from his great-grandfather.
“God helps me in healing so many diseases that are so difficult and nearly impossible for modern medicine to heal. Few of the people I helped are Mr. Ibeneme Ugomba that was healed of difficulty in urinating and passing of blood, and a well known politician from Adamawa State that resides in London who also had a similar issue.
One of his patients, Nze Stephen Dozie Ibeneme, battling with kidney disease and prostrate cancer, said he was healed in three days by Pa Giwa.