House of Reps has Public Hearing on 3 Bills on Agriculture

…DG Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service reacts to Bill Establishing Nigerian Institute of Plant Protection

Nigerian House of Reps in Session

BY OBUTE JAMES

The House of Representatives Committee on Agricultural Production Services on Monday had a Public Hearing on a Bill for an Act to Establish Nigerian Institute of Plant Protection and for Related Matters ( HB. 109) (05/02/2020) and two other bills.

Hon. Muktar Dandutse, Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Production Services and representative of Funtua/Dandutse Federal Constituency of Katsina State said his committee is doing everything within its power to ensure agriculture is given due priority in the country hence the public hearing on the three bills.

One of the three bills include “A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Commodity Boards Act, Cap C4 LFN 2004 and to Re-Enact the Commodity and Grain Board as a Body Corporate to Promote, Regulate and Standardize the Production, Exportation of such Commodities and Grains; and for Related Matters (HB. 2016) (11/02/2020).”

The the third bill is “A Bill for an Act to Amend the Sea Fisheries Act, CAP, 54, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to among Other Things, Bring the Penalties therein in Conformity with Modern Day Realities; and for Related Matters (HB. 416) (25/11/2019).

Meanwhile, the Director General of Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service, Dr. Vincent Isegbe has appealed to the lawmakers to ensure that the provision of the law establishing Nigerian Institute of Plant Protection does not conflict with other Acts of Parliament.

Dr. Isegbe who made his agency position known in his submission during the public hearing further told the journalists in an interview that he is not against establishing the institute but the lawmakers should ensure there is no controversy in the Act establishing it.

Reacting to the question on the performance of his agency, Dr. Isegbe said they are doing everything within the power of Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service to ensure whatever that comes in or goes out of the country is not harmful and inline with international best practices.

Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service, NAQS is a regulatory agency under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. It was created for the harmonization of Plants, Veterinary and Aquatic resources (fisheries) Quarantine in Nigeria to promote and regulate sanitary (animal and fisheries health) and phytosanitary (plant health) measures in connection with the import and export of agricultural products with a view to minimizing the risk to agricultural economy, food safety and the environment. The main objective of NAQS is to prevent the introduction, establishment and spread of animal and zoonotic diseases as well as pests of plants and fisheries including their products.

NAQS also undertakes emergency protocol to control or manage new pest incursion or disease outbreak in collaboration with key stakeholders. NAQS ensures that agricultural exports meet with international standards in line with International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Office International des Epizootics (OIE) representing the World Organization for Animal Health, WTO/Sanitary and International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) and SPS conditions of the importing countries. Its operations are guided by the enabling legislation enacted by the National Assembly and SPS regulations and schedules.

However, if the bill for an Act to Establish Nigerian Institute of Plant Protection is passed into law it may lead to more effectiveness and efficiency in plant production but it will also reduce the functions of Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service.

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