President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Prof. Martins Emeje, as the new Director General/ Chief Executive Officer (DG/CEO) of the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA).
The appointment, which is for an initial period of 4 years, takes effect from 9 May, 2023.
In the appointment letter sent to Pharmanewsonline, it was stated that the office is backed up by the NNMDA ACT 2019.
It reads in part” I have the pleasure to convey the approval of Mr President, Commander -in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Federal Republic of Nigeria of your appointment as Director General/Chief Executive Officer (DG/CEO) of the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA) for an initial period of 4 Years with effect from 9th May 2023.
“The appointment is governed by the NNMDA (Establishment) Act 2019 read together with the Conditions of Service for Federal Research and Development Agencies, Institutes and Colleges (2019) and other Terms and Conditions of Service obtainable in Parastatals/Agencies under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation”.
Prior to his appointment, Prof. Emeje, a seasoned teacher, scientist and pharmacist was the pioneer Vice-Chancellor of the European University of Nigeria, Abuja.
Emeje is a distinguished professor of Drug Delivery and Nanomedicine, at the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research & Development (NIPRD). A holder of Bachelor of Pharmacy with distinction from ABU Zaria, Master of Pharmacy and PhD from the University of Nigeria, where he received the best PhD award, and was enlisted in UNN “Faces of Research Vi”.
He began his career at the primary school level about 3 decades ago, when he was hired as a Junior Research Fellow in the department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Raw Materials Development, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research & Development (NIPRD), where he rose to the rank of Research Professor within 10 years.
For over 15 years, Emeje focused on creating an understanding of the molecular behavior of polymeric materials and the compaction properties of pharmaceutical powders, excipients and active pharmaceutical ingredients including the physico-mechanical properties of drug formulations using these substances.
Having conducted several research projects in herbal pharmacotherapy, herbal formulation, compaction characteristics of pharmaceutical powders, and excipient characterisation, his expertise are on the development of solid oral dose formulations for immediate- and sustained- release applications and the physical properties of polymer-polymer and polymer-drug interactions.
The outcome of his research made him discover wide array of naturally occurring raw materials that could be harnessed as excipients suitable as carriers in drug delivery and the outcome further generated his interest in pharmaceutical nanotechnology and nanomedicine. In this respect, he undertook an extensive molecular solid-state characterization and application of natural polymers in nanomedicine for the targeted delivery of challenging conventional drugs and insoluble bioactive agents. He has the patent for the first starch-engineered nanodrug delivery system in Nigeria.
Prof. Emeje was the principal investigator of a foreign grant ($11.6M) for the development of antimalaria, diabetes and tuberculosis drugs from Nigerian medicinal plants and the establishment of the first nanomedicine centre in Nigeria. His work on phytomedicines has so far resulted in three major products listed by NAFDAC and available in the market. Also, his work in the application of nanotechnology in drug delivery won World Health Organization (WHO) innovation award in Addis Ababa.
He was one of the eight (8) finalists and the only Nigerian whose innovation for the advancement in health was selected by Emory University – facilitated consortium. He was part of an international team of scientists from 23 countries who won a European grant on developing natural products for use in combating antimicrobial resistance. His team also won a WHO grant for developing a novel product from Nigeria’s natural resources for the management of sickle cell disease.
The erudite researcher also developed NiprimunePlus™ listed by NAFDAC for the management of COVID-19 symptoms just seven months following the outbreak. In April 2021, Martins was appointed by WHO as a member of the world health body’s Expert Committee for development of Target Product Profiles (TPP). He won the highest M&B-sponsored professional award in Pharmacy in November 2021.
He is enlisted in the World Who’s Who and the International Biographic Congress, London. He is listed among the 2000 outstanding scientists of the 21st century. Prof. Emeje is a Board member of the first private medical university; Institute of Medical Sciences Africa; a medical university devoted to the postgraduate training of medical and health professionals. He is a fellow of the Institute of Corporate Administration of Nigeria.
Prof. Emeje is a recipient of many fellowships, awards and grants all over the world including the prestigious Raman Fellowship; Research Scholar, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore and the Centre for Co-operation in Science & Technology among Developing Societies (CCSTDS); International Scholar, Poona College of Pharmacy and other.
He is a member of many national/international organisations such as the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC), American Chemical Society (ACS), American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), Society of Ethnobiology (SoE), West African Health Research Network (WANNPRESS) among others.