‘Veterinary Council will standardise practice to stem livestock diseases’

Professor Garba Hamidu Sharubutu is the newly appointed Provost of the College of Animal Health and Production Technology, Vom. The Professor of Veterinary Medicine, who is also president of the Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN), says the council is at work with stakeholders in the industry to standardize the practice. FRANCIS ADINOYI KADIRI writes.

The quest for transformational leadership in the country’s livestock industry received a boost with the appointment of Professor Garba Hamidu Sharubutu as Provost, Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology, Vom, Plateau state. Stakeholders who recently organised a reception in honour of the highly regarded veterinarian notedthat his leadership would address problems bedeviling the Nigerian livestock industry, and veterinary practice in general.

A Member of the National Institute who doubles as President of the Veterinary Council of Nigeria said the council would ensure that the practice of veterinary medicine is standardised in Nigeria, adding thatsuch would provide the public with healthy meat, even as the population of livestock would increase for the better. According to him, “the availability of better hides and skin, better milk and abundant protein for the public would be assured when the practice is standardized.”
“There is need to enact lawsthat will give rise to establishing veterinary clinics in all parts of the federation,” he said, adding that standardization of veterinary practice will imply that practicing personnel and premises be registered, adding that such modalities will ensure professionalism in the industry, thereby making professionals to be accountable for outbreak of disease.

In order to impactpositiveveterinary practice, Sharubutu, who is also a fellow of the Council of Veterinary Society of Nigeria (CVSN) promised that the transformation of the Nigerian livestock industry would be done in line with the transformation agenda of the Jonathan administration. “We must realign our activities in order to rhyme with the livestock transformation agenda,” he said adding that various stakeholders will work together as a formidable team toward ensuring standard service delivery in the livestock industry, and in veterinary practice as a whole.

Sharubutu who is widely acknowledged for the strides of hisnon governmental organisation, the Animal Welfare Initiative (AWI), charged veterinarians to stay united and work together as a strategy to strengthen the existing unity and progress of the veterinary profession in Nigeria. Teamwork, he said, is the spirit behind the unity of vegetarians in Nigeria, stating that veterinary profession has progressed in Nigeria as a result of sustained professional relationships.

While pledging protection and support for practicing veterinarians, Sharubutu warned veterinary practitioners to be steadfast by adhering strictly to the rules, stating that neither council nor he will spareoffenders. “As a profession, we are ready to defend you, but if you are at fault, we will not spare you of the punishment you deserve,” he warned.

Sharubutu who said he felt “elated, challenged, and conscious of the task ahead” said he attained the level through hard work, honesty, dedication and through the quest for knowledge. “I have committed myself to the search for knowledge and it has helped me this far,” he said, stating that “hard work of twenty five years earned me membership of the veterinary council of Nigeria, now I am president of that same council.”
While saying thatthe greatest threat to realization of these objectives is ignorance of the public onthe role of the veterinarian, he noted that it is the role of the veterinary council to educate the public on the rudiments of veterinary medicine. “

“Secondly, therearearchaic laws that fail to address modern problems of the livestock production system, and the veterinary practice; the third is the issue of animal welfare, a quest which realization is threatenedby the abuse of animal rights,” Sharubutu said, stressing that Nigeria needs more comprehensive regulations that will tackle shortcomings associated witharchaic and fragmented laws.
According to Sharubutu, talks have kickstarted with the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies on the need to give recognition to veterinarians as professionals in policy making process in Nigeria. “Slots should be givento veterinarians to nominatemembers to NIPSS as a way to ensure that veterinarians have a say in serious policy matters of the country,” he said, and lamented that there is currently no provision for nominations from professional veterinary bodies, a phenomenon he described as unfortunate.

“Veterinarians must be given due recognition as professionals just as lawyers, military personnel, women societies and other professionals are recognised and allowed to contribute to formulation of policies in the country. We have complained to the office President of Nigeria, and something will come up,” he said

“As a way of ensuring that the Director General of NIPSS recognizes the necessity of veterinarians in policy making, a meeting of the veterinary council of Nigeria has been scheduled to hold in NIPSS in March this year,” he said, adding that the council will be able to deliberate and improve the quality of debate and quest for recognition of the veterinary profession by Nigeria’s policy making institutions notably NIPSS.
“No more will we sit in council and over-concentrate on the need for funds and other challenges. We will try to provide all needs of council within our meager resources. We will move beyond consolidating on problems.

According to him, the tenders committee will work well and provide all that is needed. “Within the next six months, there will be progressive change in the affairs of veterinary medicine in Nigeria.The revenue mobilization will be strengthened, and we will impact positively on the practice,” he stated.
Provost, College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr Mohammed Salihu, who described Sharubutu as a man of unquestionable integrity who has blazed the trail through years of commitment to the profession hailed the appointment, saying, “Professor Sharubutu is a man of integrity and a very charismatic leader who will reposition the Veterinary Council and institutions for better functionality in the country. “Sharubutu will give it the relevance it needs to improve the professional practice of veterinarians as well, as service delivery in the sector,”Salihu said.

In her address, Assistant Commissioner of Police Aishatu Abubakar, who spoke on behalf of SEC 35 group of the national merit award holders recalled that Sharubutuis a brother, father and leader who will make great impact within short period of time, and charged him to keep up the good work.
Prof Abdulkadir Jinadu, who led the delegation from Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto on behalf of the university’s vice chancellor, said Sharubutu’s contribution to the development of the veterinary profession cannot be overemphasizedconsidering his numerous landmarks.
Dr. Kena, who was a student of professor Sharubutu, described him “as the most influential man” in the profession in Nigeria. According to her, “the younger generation of veterinary professionals regards professor Sharubutu as a role model considering the impact he had had in our lives and the practice of the profession.

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