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Professor Charles Wambebe who pioneered the R&D of Niprisan, for the management of sickle cell disorder, dies at 76

Born on August 8, 1946, Charles Wambebe, a professor of pharmacology and Consultant to WHO on Traditional Medicine, died on November 9.

In Memoriam

Charles Obadiah Nimma Wambebe

1946 – 2022

76 years old

Born on August 8, 1946 in Emi Tsado, Kogi, Nigeria

Passed away on November 9, 2022, in QUINCY, Massachusetts, United States



His Life


Professor Charles Wambebe, (commonly referred to as Prof), was born August 8, 1946, in Emi Tsado, Kogi State, Nigeria. He was born to Nathaniel Wambebe Tsado and Matilda Mana Tsado nee Akude. To honor his father who passed away when Prof was a young boy, he decided to use his father’s middle name, as his last name. Later in life, he decided to take on the name Charles as inspired by the great Charles Spurgeon.

Prof attended St Barnabas junior primary school in Ecewu, Kogi State and St John’s Senior Primary School in Akabe, Kogi State. For secondary school, he attended Govt. Secondary School in Okene, Kogi State. He also went to Higher School Certificate (HSC) Govt. college in Ilorin, Kwara State. In 1972, he graduated with a Bachelors degree in Pharmacy from the University of Ife, Ile Ife. Prof desired to go into medicine after graduating from HSC. However, due to a sickness that was cured by a mix of African ingenious plants, he pivoted to Pharmacology in order to develop his new found interest in the field.

He gave his life to Christ as a student at the University of Ife in January 1970 and got baptized in the Holy Spirit when Arch Bishop Benson Idahosa came to his campus, April 30th, 1970. He got married to Victoria Beatrice Fojule in 1973 and together they settled in Zaria where he pursued a Masters at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, which was soon converted to a Ph.D. program in Nueropharmacology as he exceeded the requirements of a Masters program. He rose to become the Dean of Pharmacology at ABU. While there, he was heavily involved in Calvary Baptist Church Zaria, occupying various leadership roles including undertaking Masterfile, the discipleship program, which he and his wife Victoria taught in Zaria as well as in the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Abuja and other places where they planted churches. He also served as the Secretary of the Nigerian Graduate Fellowship, for two terms, and he and Victoria were involved in the Gideon’s International Program in Zaria.

During his sabbatical leave in 1986, he went to Georgetown University as a Visiting Professor of Pharmacology for the School of Medicine. By the end of his leave, in 1988, he had received the appointment to become the Pioneer Director of the newly created National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Abuja.

At NIPRD, he oversaw and coordinated multiple research projects utilizing Good Laboratory Practice principles leading to the development of new medicines for Sickle Cell Disorder (NIPRISAN), skin infections, and ulcers, as well as many others. Some of these medicines are now in production and have received patents in several countries. While at NIPRD, he mobilized special national grants totaling over $7 million within 10 years. Simultaneously, while working in NIPRD, he was a consultant at the UNDP. After his retirement from NIPRD in 2001, he took on various consultancy projects at WHO, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UNIDO, African Development Bank (ADB) and UNAIDS.

He’s won numerous prestigious awards, including the Award for Excellence, Third World Academy of Sciences (1995), Award for Building Scientific Institutions in Africa, Third World Academy of Sciences (2012), National honours-Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) by the Nigerian government (2005), and served as President of the West African Society of Pharmacology and Drug Development, (1995-2001). Prof had also published over 150 peer reviewed articles in international journals and contributed chapters to numerous books

He was the Founding President of the International Biomedical Research Institute in Africa (IBRIA).

Prof retired from public service after attaining retirement in 2006. He planned to continue with passion vis-à-vis evangelism and discipleship programs at his USA home church, Community Baptist Church in Somerset, New Jersey. In an encounter he had with God, he was told, “You are my Apostle; plant churches as you travel.” Subsequently, God revealed to him the vision and mission of Rock Church Ministries (RCM) and told him to start from a village in Uganda. Before this divine instruction, Prof only traveled to Uganda once when he was serving at the WHO. When the divine command was received, he had no idea how to identify the village in Uganda where the Ministry would be launched. Meanwhile, as he waited to receive specific instructions on the particular village in Uganda, he trusted God would direct him. The breakthrough came in August 2007 at a Science Meeting in Kenya. During the coffee break, he shared Christian tracts with several people and one of them met with him to seek mentorship on evangelism. It was during that encounter that he discovered the young man came from a village in Uganda. As he mentioned his village, the Holy Spirit whispered to Prof that the Ministry should be launched there. In obedience to that revelation, RCM was launched in Kiyindi village in Uganda in April 2008. Presently RCM currently has over 50 churches in various villages in East and Southern Africa, as well as a fully functional Medical Center in Kampala Uganda.

Professor Charles Wambebe would be missed dearly by his loving wife, Victoria, and his children Majiyebo, Mana, Nimma, Chichi & Mainaji. As well as their loving spouses, Innocent Abah, Onome Ovwori, Gershon Larsen & Abidemi Famodile. Additionally his grandchildren, Maximillan, Charlize, Wamdzu, Madeleine, Amari, Zachary, Addai, Oluwatimilehin, Oluwanshomi, Philippa, Oluwankemi & Jesse. And his siblings, Mama Katrina Achemto, Mama Lucy Jimada, Mama Agnes Menegbe & Uncle Ezekiel Tsado and many in-laws as well as numerous adopted sons, daughters, grandchildren & great-grandchildren.

“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

By the Family


Brief Bio of Professor Charles Wambebe

Professor Charles Wambebe has worked at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and Georgetown University, Washington DC. He also worked with WHO and served as the Pioneer DG/CEO of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Abuja. Recipient of TWAS Prizes in Medical Sciences and Building Scientific Institutions in Africa. Served as Consultant to the AUC, ADB, ECA, WHO, UNDP. Pioneer Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Bingham University, Nigeria. Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science, African Academy of Sciences, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), among others. Pioneered the R&D of Niprisan, for the management of sickle cell disorder. Developed phytomedicines for treatment of malaria, fungal infection, peptic ulcer and HIV. Published over 150 articles in international journals. Currently Professor ExtraOrdinaire at Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria and Consultant to WHO on Traditional Medicine. He is also Honorary Professor of Pharmacology , Bingham University, Karu, Nigeria.

Expertise: R & D of medical products based on African Indigenous Medical Knowledge, food plants as well as edible insects. Targeted diseases include sickle cell disease, colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, hypertension, HIV/AIDS, Covid-19. Professor Wambebe has expertise in clinical trials (protocol development and management). IPR and benefit sharing related to Traditional Medicine (patent, licensing, MoU), health research ethics, drug regulation including herbal medicines, training and mentoring of younger colleagues.

Source: The Conversation Africa

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