Thursday, 28 July 2016

Ortom, Gemade, others want Angya confirmed as substantive DG of SON

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Housing, Senator Barnabas Gemade have called on the Presidency to immediately confirm Dr. Paul Angya as the substantive Director-General and chief executive of the Standards  Organisation of Nigeria (SON).

According to the duo, Dr Angya, who has been acting DG of the organisation since February this year, has demonstrated beyond any iota of doubt that he is eminently qualified and best suited to pilot the affairs of SON.

Governor Ortom and Senator Gemade Ortom, both made the call in Abuja on Tuesday while speaking at the launch of a book, `Standardisation and Quality Regulation in Africa: Institutions and Legal Frameworks,’’ authored by Dr. Angya.

Besides Ortom and Gemade, the Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, the Secretary-General of African Organisaton for Standardisation (ARSO), Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana,  and a former DG of SON, Dr. John Ndanusa Akanya, as well as the Chairman, Senate Committee on the FCT, Senator Dino Melaye (APC – Kogi West), extolled the qualities of Dr. Angya, describing him variously as serious, committed and dedicated to the jobs of standardisation.

Governor Ortom also used the occasion to  make a strong case for ranching as a means of ending the incessant herdsmen and farmers clashes. added that this was in conformity with best international practices.

He said: “There should be standards for breeding of cattle in the country, the crises needed to be addressed, so Nigerians must not turn a black eye to the issues of herdsmen and farmers. “The nation must go the same way of the international community by adopting standards for herdsmen and farmers. “So, globally, what is fashionable or obtainable is ranching, in many countries it is ranching, we need to give the herdsmen the new orientation.’’

Ortom noted that grazing of cattle was no longer fashionable in Nigeria, adding that when grazing routes were created in the 50s for cattle, the total population of Nigeria was less than 40 million people.

According to him, by 2012, Nigeria has more than 170 million people while in 2016 it may be over 200 million people. He noted that activities had increased with more markets, schools and hospitals occupying most of the spaces available. “We are talking about diversification, no more virgin land for grazing, people increased but the land mass still remained the same,’’ Ortom said.

He called on Nigerians to allow some level of peace in the country saying “let us help the herdsmen, I have told my people to respect the rule of law no matter the provocation.’’

In his remarks, the Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said the Federal Government was working towards ending the herdsmen and farmers crises, stressing that the only way to comply with international standards was to go the way of ranching.

Chief Ogbeh, who chaired the book launch,  said: “The process will be slow because before you create a ranch, you will make sure you have the right kind of food for the cows to eat for them to remain in the ranch. “Abuja where we are today many years ago is routes but now it is a capital city; so it is not right to see cows moving on runways sometimes endangering the landing of an aircraft.”

“Sometimes, it causes human conflict. I want to appeal to Nigerians to give us a little bit of time; we have to create the ranches and have the right type of grasses,” he added.

According to the minister, the government spends billions of naira for clearing lands for cassava farms, supporting rice farmers, maize farmers and also to educate them. He added that the herdsmen were also farmers and would need such education.

Ogbeh said large numbers of the herdsmen come from Chad and other neighbouring countries; adding that some of those arrested do not speak Nigerian language. According to him, Nigerian Fulanis do not carry AK 47 but sticks. He said around November, there would be a conference of West African Ministers of Agriculture to deal with the grazing matters to set a new standard.

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