Stories by John Oba Abuja
Th e National Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Coordinating Director, Dr. Vincent Isegbe, has lamented the negative impacts of various illegal checkpoints on the highways, saying this is negatively aff ecting the prices of agricultural commodities in addition to post harvest losses incurred by farmers as a result of delay. Th is is even as both NAQS and the Nigeria Police has agreed to collaborate on checkmating the illegal checkpoints and the incidence of extortion of transporters conveying agricultural commodities on the highways.
Both expressed this readiness to partner recently, when the Coordinating Director, Dr. Vincent Isegbe, lead a delegation of leadership of the Service on a courtesy visit to the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, in Abuja recently. Soliciting for the partnership, Dr. Isegbe, said the quarantine control posts are created for disease/pest surveillance with a view to safeguarding the nation’s agricultural economy and that this is expressly defi ned in the federal gazette. He noted that state governments have sadly turned those disease surveillance points into revenue generating outlets which is against federal government’s intention.
“Th e negative consequences of this on the market prices of agricultural commodities in addition to the post harvest losses incurred by farmers as a result of delay caused by illegal checkpoints cannot be over-emphasised, especially for perishable goods, despite the increased productivity in the sector. Th is runs contrary to the federal government’s intended outcome of the economic diversifi cation policy,” he lamented.
Commending the IG’s proactive eff orts at dealing with the issue, including arresting the many hoodlums parading as revenue collectors on the federal highways in some part of the country, Isegbe therefore called on the IGP to further strengthen the S-squad of the Nigeria Police at the commands with the much needed logistical support to be able to work with NAQS fi eld offi cers in curbing this menace.
Responding, the Idris commended the Service for being alive to their responsibilities as frontline protectors of the agricultural economy. He assured the NAQS delegation of the Force support while promising to ensure the full cooperation of police offi cers and men with those of the agricultural quarantine service to ensure synergy in carrying out operations at the various control posts.