A professor of Animal Genetics at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, FUNAAB, Professor Christian Obiora Ikeobi, has advocated 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 also emphasized the need for government at all levels to immediately find a lasting solution to the clashes that are already threatening the foundation of the Nigerian state.
Recall that the chairman of the National Population Commission, NPC, Nasir Kwarra, said in December, 2020 that the commission is prepared to conduct a nationwide census from June, 2021.
Ikeobi, while delivering FUNAAB’s 62nd Inaugural Lecture, titled: “Why We Look at Things Not Seen: Animal Genes and Their Winking Eyes,” in Abeokuta on Wednesday, however, stated that outdated data on animal populations in Nigeria can no longer be relied upon.
He said, “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 We cannot continue to rely on outdated data on animal populations in Nigeria.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 herders/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.”
Recommending that a Center for the Conservation of Indigenous Animal Genetic Resources be established in order to conserve the indigenous animal genetic resources in Nigeria, Prof Ikeobi 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.
He 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.
Prof Ikeobi also 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.