Three Nigerians, adjudged to be outstanding in their fields of studies over the years, have been conferred with the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) Award for the years 2020 and 2021 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The awardees, Dr. Oluyinka Olurotimi Olutoye, Medicine (2020); the late Professor Charles Ejike Chidume, Science (2020) and Professor Godwin O. Samuel Ekhaguere, Science (2021), went home with N10 million each.
According to citation, from the statement by the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity, Femi Adesina today, February 8, Professor Olutoye, recipient of the 2020 NNOM Award for science, is credited to have led a team which performed ground-breaking surgical procedures on foetuses before they are born.
The statement said that in 2016, in a feat that has been hailed as the first by an African, Professor Olutoye performed a surgical procedure on a foetus with sacrococcygeal teratoma, which is a tumour that develops before birth and grows from a baby’s tailbone.
It said that Olutoye received his medical degree at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife) in 1988 with distinctions in anatomy and pathology, interned at the Lagos State University, before proceeding to the United States for specialised training in surgery.
He is currently the Surgeon-in-Chief at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, United States.
The statement said that Prof Chidume, recipient of the 2020 NNOM posthumous Award for science, was the Acting President of the African University of Science and Technology, Abuja before his demise on October 7, 2021.
It said that the works of the late Professor, a globally renowned Professor of Mathematics, encompass several fields, including Nonlinear Functional Analysis, Nonlinear Operator Theory and Differential Equations, Nonlinear Optimisation.
He bagged his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1973, M.Sc in Mathematics in 1977 from the Queen’s University Kingston, Ontario, Canada and Ph.D in Mathematics from the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States.
For Professor Ekhaguere, recipient of the 2021 NNOM Award for science, the statement said that he is a professor of Mathematical Physics.
It said that he created and pioneered the theory of Quantum Stochastic Differential Inclusion (QSDIs) that has greatly improved the entire Science Community’s understanding of those pathological quantum systems whose governing equation involves discontinuous coefficient.
Prof Ekhaguere holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from the University of Ibadan, 1971, DIC in Mathematics Physics from Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, UK in 1974 and Ph.D. in Mathematics Physics from University of London (Bedford College), London, UK in 1976.
The Chairman NNMA Governing Board, Professor Aku announced that recipients of the prestigious award bestowed by Nigeria on its citizens for creative, intellectual and academic contributions that are of national and global importance receive a cash reward of N10 million each.
The recipients of the award are divided into four areas- Medicine, Science, Engineering and Technology, and the Humanities, including Education and Culture, Prof Aku said.