A Professor of Animal Genetics, Prof Christian Ikeobi, has called for a comprehensive livestock census as part of measures to tackle the incessant clashes between farmers and herders in parts of the country.
Ikeobi stated this on Wednesday in Abeokuta while delivering the 62nd Inaugural Lecture of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) with the title, “Why we look at things not seen: animal genes and their winking eyes.”
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the don stressed the need for government at all levels to find a lasting solution to the clashes that was already threatening the foundation of the country.
He maintained that outdated data on animal populations in Nigeria was no longer reliable.
There is a 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 We cannot continue to rely on outdated data on animal populations in Nigeria.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 a lasting solution,” he said
The professor recommended that a centre for the conservation of indigenous animal genetic resources be established in order to conserve the indigenous animal genetic resources in the country.
He 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.
Ikeobi also pointed out the need for the establishment of a multiplication centre for the indigenous animal genetic resources with emphasis on genetic purity and breed distinctiveness.
“It is recommended that a centre for the conservation of indigenous animal genetic resources be established.
“This centre should be separate from the Nigeria Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB) to avoid conflict on crop conservation.
“The genetic basis of the rare conditions in Nigeria local chicken and the need to conserve them for benefit of this and future generations clearly justify this,” he said.
The expert 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 livestock sub-sector in the country.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of FUNAAB, Prof Felix Salako, described the inaugural lecturer as an erudite scholar, whose immense contribution to the development of the university was appreciated.