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Don tasks FG on recruitment, retooling of forest guards to contain attacks


President, Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, Professor Garba Sharubutu, has called on the Federal Government to recruit and equip forest guards to end the killings by herdsmen nationwide.

The university don noted that the nation’s forests became more penetrable for criminals following the neglect of their protectors by successive administrations over the years.Sharubutu, who spoke in Kaduna during a round table with journalists as part of activities to mark this year’s World Veterinary Day, organised by the state chapter of the association, hinged the survival of Nigeria on healthy veterinary practices.

His words: “Forest guards know everything about the forests, including the sound of birds in terms of security. If we have forest guards in Sambisa, there is no how Boko Haram would have been building tunnels for 10 years without knowing.“You have the police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence corps (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and all that protecting lives and property in the towns, yet nobody is protecting the forests. That is why the kidnappers are having feed days. Animal rustlers and other criminals living in these forests are unchallenged.

“If we want solution to this farmers, herders clashes, all hands must be on deck. The issue of forest security should be given a top priority. Our lawmakers must learn to go to their people when they are on recess and not to run because they have money.”

The professor also decried the number of veterinary doctors nationwide, noting that there was gross neglect of these essential workers across the states.He continued: “We are of a profession that is self-reliant. We do not depend on government. We are not contractors. More than enough people benefit from us. Waste from newspapers is what we have as egg crates today. So, we have a chain of activities.

“But the truth is, many states have deficiency in veterinary services. In Kaduna for example, each of the local government needs a minimum of three veterinary doctors to avoid slaughtering of sick or pregnant animals. This is critical to human survival. This is because if you don’t ensure people eat healthy animals, be ready to spend more on their health.

“It is important to have veterinary doctors at animal posts on transit because they will know the breed or if they are stolen animals.“If we have enough veterinary doctors across the rural areas, it will help to identify those that are causing problem because they will have the contacts of those who own animals at this level.

“Therefore, there is the need for veterinary framework. If the tariffs on importation of needed materials can be removed, the sector will take over in term of sustainable development. Let give them the capacity and see what they can do.

“The veterinary can handle all the needed meat for the country. Let invest through public private partnership backed up with laws.”Sharubutu further said: “Even when we know we can stand on our own, we still need regulatory frame work because the law alone cannot do the work without putting people in place to implement the law.“A state that has only three veterinary doctors cannot implement the law. So, we need to get most of the organisations like the military and the paramilitary on board.”

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Garba SharubutuHerdsmen
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