The proprietor of Top Faith International Schools, in Akwa Ibom State, Dr Emmanuel Abraham, has thrown his weight behind Professor Okon Ansa’s call on the Federal Government to establish agricultural research institute in the Eastern Nigeria as it is the case in the Western and Northern Nigeria.
Dr. Abraham, who chatted exclusively with our correspondent at the University of Uyo during the 55th inaugural lecture recently, agreed that if such institute was established in the Eastern part of the country, it will provide a solution to the tropical diseases that have ravaged crops and plants in the South-South/ South- East region and by extension increase food production.
Describing the 55th inaugural lecture of the university entitled Plant Pathology: The science of plant health and sustenance of Human existence by Professor Okon A. Ansa as a big eye opener, Abraham concluded “we now know that we have to take responsibility in watching over crops and plants when they are sick and seek remedy before they acquire diseases that can affect us when they are consumed”.
He believed if the recommendations postulated by the erudite Professor were accepted and applied by academia, policy makers, farmers and generality of the people, there would be solution to food insufficiency in Nigeria.
Therefore, to bring an end to food insufficiency in Akwa Ibom State and the entire Nigeria, everybody should go back to land to participate in the process of growing one agricultural product or the other to feed the hungry populace.
Earlier, the inaugural lecturer had stressed that if established, the agricultural research institute would provide solution to the problem of disease invasion of food and cash crops and plants in the region based on reasoned scientific deductions.
The learned Professor and one time commissioner of agriculture in Akwa Ibom state, pointed out that apart from rural/ urban drift which has contributed significantly to the reduction in the number of farming hands in the rural communities which eventually has led to increase in the cost of garri in the market, plants disease like cassava mosaic which affects cassava, if not checked could cause starvation, social disaffection and disorder.
He surmised that the university could carve a niche for itself by creating a department of plant protection and Genetic engineering and unbundle the knowledge base required to combat plant diseases and thus increase food productivity.
Speaking in a brief remark the vice chancellor and chairman on the occasion, Prof. Enefiok Essien commended the inaugural lecturer on his knowledge of plant pathology and the presentation made.
Represented by deputy vice chancellor administration, Prof. Godfrey Udoh, Prof. Essien called on the people, not only to imbibe the advice of the learned lecturer on how to identify plant diseases and their effect on human beings but to embrace farming, irrespective of their positions in the society, to stamp out starvation among humanity.
The Tide reports that Prof. Okon A. Ansa, an indigene of Oku Iboku, Itu local government area, Akwa Ibom state, attended Kings’ College, Lagos and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He holds a Ph.D in Plant Pathology from the University of California, USA. Apart from serving as a commissioner under the administration of Idongesit Nkanga, Ansa also became chairman, Board of directors of many organisations.
Akaiso Akaiso Snr, Uyo