By Felicia Imohimi
The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) has expressed concern over inadequate manpower and funding to effectively carry out its operations.
Dr Abiodun Akinjo, the Director, Animal Quarantine told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja that the agency has only 30 veterinary officers among other personnel to man over 52 boarder posts across the country.
According to him, the number is grossly inadequate, and the gap is greatly impeding on the agency’s operations.
“There is urgent need for the appropriate authorities to come to the aid of the agency.
“We have over 52 border stations all over the country but we cannot meet up with the number because we have to seek for the approval to go ahead and employ more.
“Therefore, we have serious need for more veterinary doctors.
“We cannot adequately cover these areas but what we are doing at the moment is to make sure that every entry and exit points have at least a veterinary doctor and other personnel like animal husbandry and livestock development officers among others.
“However, there is need for veterinary doctors to oversee all these categories of officers which are not not also sufficient.
“We operate 24/7 services through morning, afternoon and night shifts, but to be able to do this effectively we need adequate manpower,” Akinjo said.
The director specifically cited a scenario where the Nigerian Immigration Service on opening new borders wrote to the agency requesting for equivalent personnel to man the areas.
Akinjo said that the agency was unable to meet the demand due to lack of adequate manpower.
“Being a new agency, we are hopeful that government will approve or give us consideration to employ more hands so that we can meet up with the challenges ahead of us, employment is very crucial.”
Akinjo appealed to the Federal Government to prioritise adequate budgetary allocation to the agency in order to procure standard equipment and official vehicles for its field workers.
“We should be funded properly which is key; adequate and timely provision of funds will assist the agency to respond quickly,” Akinjo said.