FG moves against zoonotic diseases with proposed veterinary hospital in Kogi
• CSOs laud N’Assembly for reviewing biosafety law
Plans are underway for the Federal Government to establish a new veterinary hospital in Egbe, Kogi State to combat emerging zoonotic diseases in Nigeria, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, has said.
Making the disclosure, yesterday, in Abuja, while receiving a delegation from the community, the minister, while acknowledging budgetary constraints, told the people that the possible transmission of pathogens from animals to humans made the establishment of the medical facility imperative.
Besides being known as a nation with a high turnout of health professionals, Abubakar noted that Nigeria has the highest number of veterinary doctors in Africa.
He stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic had highlighted the need for the establishment of more veterinary hospitals.
IN another development, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have commended the National Assembly for considering a bill to review the National Biosafety Management Act for the safe consumption of food in the country.
The orgainisations, consisting of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) and others, have applauded the Senate for considering the piece of legislation.
HOMEF Director, Nnimmo Bassey, said the move “is a huge milestone towards defending the rights of Nigerian citizens to safe food and environment.”
He added that promoting food safety and security was a mandate that “rests not just on the Biosafety Management Agency, but also on the entire public, and thus public opinion must be duly considered in decision-making processes concerning genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Bassey observed that Nigeria shares extensive land borders with other countries and GMOs allowed into the most populous black nation “are invariably being introduced to these neighbouring nations without the knowledge of their farmers.”
CAPPA’s Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, stressed that “those saddled with the duty of protecting our food must look away from the industrial yield-output paradigm and adopt a more integrated systems approach to food and agriculture that takes into consideration many factors, including local food security and sovereignty.”