The Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University of Calabar, Prof. Florence Obi, has commended the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for donating a molecular laboratory to the university.
Obi, who gave the commendation while receiving officials of the commission at her office in Calabar on Monday, said the university appreciated the donation.
While calling for more robust relationship between both partners, she pledged the readiness of the institution to partner holistically with the UNHCR, particularly in the area of infrastructural development and education.
“The University of Calabar will ever remain grateful to the commission for the donation of a molecular laboratory.
“The facility will undoubtedly attract researchers from all over the nation and beyond; and also project the good name of the institution,” she said.
She reiterated the commitment of her administration, through its Corporate Social Responsibility function, to impact on people in the rural areas and refugees, notably in the area of educational support.
In his address, the Information Management Officer of UNHCR, Mr Richard Okello, pleaded with the university to assist refugees from neighbouring nations with admission opportunities and possibly, scholarships.
Also, Dr Ernest Ochang, Assistant Public Health Officer, UNHCR said the commission had, over the years, been providing support in the areas of education, water, sanitation and social infrastructure to communities in the state.
Ochang expressed concern over the recent challenge of civil strife and armed insurrection in Cameroon, which he regretted had spilled over to Cross River.
He noted that this had resulted in the setting up of three refugees’ settlement in the state.
While also noting with concern the experience of the pandemic, he urged the university to be at the forefront of COVID-19 testing, having received a molecular laboratory.
The university, he said, should also provide space for the deployment of equipment to carry out cross-cutting research.
Earlier, Prof. Victor Ansa, the Provost, College of Medical Sciences, University of Calabar, said the installation of the molecular laboratory would assist in COVID-19 screening and be of help to scientists generally.