The President, Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS), Professor Placid Njoku has tasked the newly-inducted Animal Science graduates of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) on the urgent need to fight food insecurity by engaging in massive production of livestock using the best scientific and management practices, to guarantee adequate animal protein supply to meet the country’s domestic need and exports.

Professor Njoku, who gave this charge during the 1st Induction Ceremony and admission of four sets of Animal Science graduates of the University into NIAS, lamented that the current average annual protein consumption of an adult Nigerian was less than one-third of the Food and Agricultural Organisation’s recommendation because majority of the country’s animal protein was always imported.

While advocating for the re-strategizing of the activities of animal scientists to meet the animal protein needs of the country, the NIAS President, who was represented at the occasion by the President, Animal Science Association (ASAN), Mrs. Mope Omotosho, called for an increase in local production of livestock and the regulation of the processing and handling of livestock products, to enhance their quality to meet international standards by placing the country at a vantage position, to tap into its export potentials.

Professor Njoku pointed out that the new inductees were expected to contribute their quota in realizing the mandates of NIAS in terms of regulating all issues that are associated to animal husbandry, while stressing that rearing of livestock products should not be left in the hands of the Nomads alone. The President congratulated the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole for facilitating the process of getting the Animal Science graduates of FUNAAB inducted into NIAS, while assuring them that they would always enjoy the support of the institute.

While administering the Animal Science Oath, the Registrar of NIAS, Dr. Godwin Oyedeji said the Animal Science graduates should count themselves lucky to be inducted by the Institute, stressing that by their membership, they were already affiliated to the International Society of Animal Science and could, therefore, practice freely in Canada and the United States, without being subjected to any further examinations. The Registrar pointed out that by the oath they had taken, they were now bound to be honest, diligent and show respect to their senior colleagues.

Earlier, the Dean, College of Animal Science and Livestock Production (COLANIM), Professor Christian Ikeobi said, NIAS was a professional body charged by law with the responsibility of regulating the practice of Animal Science as a profession in Nigeria. He commended the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Oyewole for allowing himself be the bridge-builder and peace-broker in bringing progress to the College.

Professor Ikeobi, who disclosed that the University had in the past enjoyed a good working relationship with the Institute, said that in 2009, NIAS designated the Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, FUNAAB as its Centre of Excellence in Animal Breeding and Genetics and Animal Biotechnology and donated four key laboratory equipment to the University.

According to him, “to date, more than 10 Ph.D students, 25 M.Agric students and over 100 B.Agric students have used some or all of these NIAS-donated equipment in their research”, as he further disclosed that the Registrar of NIAS, Dr. Godwin Oyedeji, who was impressed with the effective deployment of these equipment by the University, made a personal donation of a Micro-tracer Unit to FUNAAB.

Professor Ikeobi stated that the College produced the best graduating student in FUNAAB in the 2012/2013 Academic Session with a record-setting CGPA of 4.90 out of a maximum of 5.00, the highest ever in the history of the University alongside 17 First Class in the 2012/2013 session.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, reiterated the commitment of the University to the promotion of professionalism and excellence, stressing that, “the principle of professionalism resides at the very foundation of our society and most certainly, at the foundation of a World-Class University such as ours”.

He commended Act. No 26 of 2007 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which established the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science on three core mandates, namely: Professional, industry and social mandates, in order to respond to the unfortunate low level per capita animal protein intake (10g/head as against the recommended 35g/head), as well as the yearnings and lamentations of livestock farmers with adulterated inputs, exploitative investors and poor development of the value-chain. The Vice-Chancellor assured the Institute of the University’s continued support to the advancement of its mandate while stating that the University on its part would ensure that the equipment donated to the University would be put to good use.

Mr. Samuel Durosaro, on behalf of the other inductees appreciated the University Management and NIAS for the privilege given to them to be members, promising that they would live up to the oath they had taken and be proud ambassadors of the University and the Institute. Highlights of the ceremony was the unveiling of the Micro-tracer Unit in one of the laboratories in COLANIM and the pledge of the donation of a computer and a scanner by the Vice-Chancellor for an effective use of the Microtracer in the College.