November 3, 2023

Nigeria’s food security threatened by insecurity, flood, others – Agric Minister


By Gabriel Ewepu, Abuja

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, said Nigeria’s food security is under siege by insecurity, flood, zoonotic diseases, drought, and other challenges.

This was contained in a Communique signed by the Chairman Communique Drafting Committee, Dr Sati Ngulukun, which was issued at the end of the 59th Annual Congress of the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA), held in Lagos State.

According to the Communique, the Minister of State who Chaired the ceremony, called for collaboration among stakeholders in the livestock sub-sector to combat the challenges affecting food security in Nigeria in line with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

The Minister also highlighted the issues of climate change, increased outbreaks of transboundary animal diseases, emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases, natural disasters, insecurity and persistent farmer-herder clashes in sub-Saharan Africa as threats to food security.

The Chief Host, Mr Babajide Sanwu-Olu, Governor of Lagos state, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ruth Olusanya, encouraged the veterinary profession to partner with the Lagos Government since the state is the highest consumer of livestock in Nigeria.

The Communique said he also encouraged the association to use the social media as a tool to create awareness of their activities.

The Keynote Speaker, Prince S. J. Samuel, Chairman Origin Tech Group encouraged veterinarians to align with the realities of the time due to climate change and modernization.

“He also challenged them to align with human health and environmentalists to enhance public health.

“The theme speaker was Dr Ken Opara, the President/Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

“Dr Opara emphasized the role of Veterinarians in safeguarding the health and welfare of animals. This he said could be achieved through data sharing for economic growth, digitization of Veterinary activities through tele – medicine and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in diagnosis and treatment of animal diseases”, the Communique said.

Additionally, the Communique noted that Dr Opara appealed that veterinary laboratories should be supported for quick diagnosis of zoonotic diseases that will enhance public health.

The president of NVMA, Dr Olutoyin Adetuberu encouraged members to take their place in the forefront of public health, ensuring food safety and sustaining a bond between human and animals.

She told the veterinarians to leverage on emerging opportunities to tackle new challenges.

In its resolution the Communique said the Congress “commend the Federal Government for the construction of three Veterinary Medical Centers located in FCT, Gombe as well as Kano and the building of primary animal health centers in 34 states of the federation.

“Call upon the Federal Government to extend the construction of Veterinary Medical Centers to other geopolitical regions of Nigeria.

“Call on the federal government to as a matter of priority put in place structures for the commencement of housmanship for vet graduates in order to sharpen their skills in the diagnosis and management of animals and zoonotic diseases.

“Call on the government at all levels to create an enabling environment for the practice of the veterinary profession particularly for young veterinarians by providing grants and loans.

“Call on governments at all levels particularly in places with low manpower in the animal health sub-sector to as a matter of urgency employ Veterinary Doctors to boost the animal health care delivery system.

“Call on the Government of Lagos State and other states in the Federation to provide land for private veterinary clinics and hospitals. This is to avoid having practicing premises within shopping malls and markets due to the public health risks associated with it.

“Call on public and private institutions on the use of new technologies for animal production and veterinary service delivery. Call on government to support surveillance of transboundary, emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases.

The Congress elected new NVMA National Executives which include Dr. Moses Bolarin Arokoyo as President, Dr. Dauda Garba Bwala as Vice President.

Others are Dr. Samson Agbese Attah as Secretary General, Dr. Gloria Daminabo as Assistant Secretary General, Dr. Lydia Lucas Chagwa as Financial Secretary, Dr. Madaki Baba Nuhu as Treasurer, Dr. Simiat Titilola Adeogun as Publicity Secretary and Dr. Olutoyin Catherine Adetuberu as ex-officio.