Ahmad Lawan, President of the Senate, on Thursday lamented that the livestock sub-sector has suffered neglect over the years and called on the authorities to accord the sector due recognition and support.
Lawan made the call while playing host to a delegation from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, led by the Minister, Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar and also representatives of the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, led by it’s President, Dr. Mrs. Adetuberu Catherine Olutoyin.
In his remarks, the Senate President noted that the livestock sector did not get the attention it deserves from the government and accused some people of being hypocritical on the issue of possible government support for the livestock business.
He said: “This sector, the livestock sector, does not get the attention of the government. And I find it strange that here, you have a sector that has the potential of boosting our economy significantly and yet it is neglected.
“I am not a Fulani in any way. I don’t have any Fulani blood but I think our livestock rearers have not received a fair deal all through our history.
“As elected people, we owe every segment of those that elect us the obligation and responsibility to do what is right, to draw attention of government and where we are able to do something personally we do so for the betterment of our people.
“I think many Nigerians have been hypocritical. When it comes to livestock rearers, they will say, No, No, No. government should not support them, it is private business. That is hypocricy.
“What can be more private than banks. Individual will establish bank, steal the money, then AMCON will take over. They will call it toxic assets and put the burden on our head.
“Government has given over N1.2 trillion to Electricity Distribution Companies that have been sold to people. Even those who are engaged in crop farming, they get something, maybe free, and when it comes to livestock, they will say it is private business. That is hypocricy. And it is unfair to those who are engaged in livestock farming.
“This is 2022. Next year there will be elections for President, Governors, Senators, House of Representatives and state Assembly members. In the APC, I will fight until our manifesto provides for our livestock sub-sector programme.
“Yes, I will lead the fight and there will be no problem because I believe that our administration must do something. And whatever is left for this administration, I am going to get more of my colleagues to push something for the livestock sector. Fair is fair.
“We just have to be fair to people and I think we have not been fair to our livestock animal rearers and fishermen. Our livestock sub-sector needs better attention.
“And I’m not talking politics. Leaders, at all levels of government, Federal, states and Local Government, must do something to address this. And Nigerians must desist from being hypocritical.”
The Senate President has, for about five years, through his foundation, Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan(SAIL) Foundation launched an annual programme of free vaccination for cattle, goats and sheeps in his Yobe North Senatorial District.
The Foundation also provides solar boreholes and hand pump facilities for the livestock animal rearers in his Constituency and many more Veterinary services to assist the growth of the sector.
The Senate President was honoured with the award of “Champion for the Control of Peste Des Petit Ruminants(PPR) in Nigeria.
The award was presented to him by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar on behalf of his Ministry, the World Organization of Animal Health, Food and Agriculture Organization and other relevant bodies.
Similarly the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association(NVMA) also honoured Lawan with the Award of Excellence.
NVMA President, Dr Mrs Adetuberu Catherine Olutoyin who presented the Award said it was “in recognition and appreciation of his contributions to the Veterinary profession and public health protection.”
The Minister, Dr Abubakar explained that, among the livestock diseases, PPR remained a major constraint to small ruminant production in Africa.
He told the Senate President: “We are well aware that this title comes with enormous responsibilities and we have no doubt in our minds that our new PPR Champion is equal to the task.
“We look forward to having you use your good office to lead and mobilise relevant stakeholders in the fight against this high economically devastating disease, affecting the livelihoods of most families in our rural communities and by extension the economy of the nation.”