Don Harps On Creation Of Animal Research Institutes For Improved Nutritional Value - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Don Harps On Creation Of Animal Research Institutes For Improved Nutritional Value

ABEOKUTA - A Professor of Animal Genetics, Prof. Obiora Ikeobi has called on Federal government to establish new research institutes that will handle research on specific animal species.

The don noted that, the establishment of the new research institutes would ensure that, attention is given to each animal species with the aim of improving their contributions to the food and nutritional needs of Nigerians.

He equally called for an up-to-date livestock census in Nigeria as part of measures aimed at ending incessant clashes between farmers and herders in parts of the country. 

Prof. Ikeobi disclosed this on Wednesday while delivering the 62nd Inaugural Lecture of the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Ogun state titled, "Why We Look At Things Not Seen: Animal Genes and Their Winking Eyes".

He stated that, the outdated data on animal populations in Nigeria cannot be relied upon, hence, the need to have full and comprehensive data on livestock.

It will be recalled that the Chairperson of the National Population Commission, Nasir Kwarra, said in December, 2020 that the commission is prepared to conduct a nationwide census from June, 2021.

Prof. Ikeobi emphasized the need for government at all levels to immediately find a lasting solution to the clashes that is already threatening the foundation of the country. 

According to him, “there is need for a full, comprehensive and up-to-date livestock census in Nigeria. We cannot continue to rely on outdated data on animal populations in Nigeria.

“There is also the need for a lasting solution to the incessant cattle herder/crop farmers’ clashes in different parts of the country and an end to the carnage and displacement of persons that have been the results of such clashes. The country cannot afford to leave this matter without lasting solution”.

The professor recommended that a center for the Conservation of Indigenous Animal Genetic Resources be established in order to conserve the indigenous animal genetic resources in Nigeria.

The don also called for the creation of new research institutes to handle specific animal species to ensure that targeted attention is focused on each animal species and to improve their contributions to the food and nutritional needs of Nigerians. 

Professor Ikeobi also pointed out the need for the establishment of Multiplication Centers for the Indigenous Animal Genetic resources with emphasis on genetic purity and breed distinctiveness.

He commended the government for establishing a distinct Department of Animal Husbandry Services at the federal level to coordinate the formulation and implementation of policies geared towards the development of the animal agriculture subsector in Nigeria.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Vice Chancellor of FUNAAB, Professor Felix Salako, described the Inaugural Lecturer as an erudite scholar and commended him for his contribution to the development of the university and contribution to knowledge.

Similarly, while delivering a commencement lecture at  the 2019/2020 Matriculation Ceremony of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Prof. Stephen Afolami identified overcrowding of students as a major challenge of university education in Nigeria.

He noted that no public university is able to provide all its students with the comfort of a campus accommodation and where it is provided "overcrowded conditions rub the subscribers of the benefits expected to be derived frome the facility".

He added that overcrowding is a consequence of the pressure put on universities to admit as many students as the quota imposed by government, as such interfering with the students' welfare and future. 

"The campus life, when properly set up with the cultural nuances that goes with academics, lends a hand in shaping and forming those who pass through it.

"It is also the result of the dire need to generate internal revenue. These impositions cause a dislocation on the system and prevent students from benefitting optimally from the education," he said.

Afolami, a professor of Nematology and pioneer Vice Chancellor of Augustin University, Epe submitted that government should bear part of the cost of producing every graduate.

He maintained that education is not free, nevertheless it should not be left to the shoulders of the university authorities alone.

"Everywhere in the world, every university that trains a citizen takes something from government for the training of that student. 

"We must embrace that and ensure that something commensurate with the training of that student, which will vary from one faculty to the other, should be calculated and given to the university on behalf of the student," he said. 

Afolami congratulated the new students just as he urged them to avoid the temptation of delaying the beginning of serious work till the second semester. 

According to him, it is always a "very regrettable mistake that freshers keep making year in, year out". 

He also advised them to shun various vices that could jeopardise their admission.

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