Anambra State government has warned vet professionals and other stakeholders in veterinary services against acts contrary to established guidelines regulating veterinary practices.
Director of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Rose Chinyelu Ejidike gave the warning in Awka during a one-day sensitization workshop for vet services stakeholders on registration of premesis.
She regretted escalation of quackery, unprofessionalism and abuse of ethical veterinary profession in the state, stressing that era of all forms of abuses of the profession was over.
She said the workshop was targeted at charting way forward in vet practices with a view to streamlining its operations for enhanced service delivery.
She said, “The campaign on protection of public health of human has become expedient because of increasing abuse and misuse of drugs among stakeholders.
“Many who are into vetenary services in the state are not registered nor covered by vetenary doctor. By the time enforcement commences in February with Police and our legal department, defaulters will be dealt with accordingly.”
State Chairman, Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA), Dr Ifeanyi Obiwulu blamed increasing quackery among stakeholders to non enforcement of penalties on defaulters.
He identified established guidelines regulating vet practices, expressing optimism that enforcement of penalties on defaulters would curtail various forms of unprofessionalism in the state.
“Everybody involved in veterinary business, including premises owners, products and clinics operators in the state must be registered or risk prosecution.
“Non compliance on or before the end of February 2024 would attract severe consequences as enforcement and routine monitoring/inspection will be effected.
“An App has been developed by Veterinary Council of Nigeria to determine licensed practioners in the country. We want to promote the health of animals so as to protect human health,” he noted.
Declaring the workshop open earlier, Commissioner For Agriculture, Dr Forster Ihejiofor urged stakeholders in vet services to maintain high level of professionalism to achieve set objectives.
Ihejiofor, represented by Permanent Secretary, Samuel Ike described role of veterinary professionals in society as critical, just as he pledged continued partnership with government in fulfilment of its mandate.
While stressing that the present administration was moving the state from old order to new order so as to be ahead in the comity of states, the commissioner called on participants to come up with resolutions to address challenges affecting veterinary services in the state.
In her remarks, Legal Adviser, Ministry of Agriculture, Barr Obianuju Ezeagu identified two Acts gazetted to control practice of veterinary services, stating that a jail term of three years or N1m fine awaited anybody found guilty of breaching the law.
She advised those involved in veterinary practices not only to register, but follow necessary due processes to avoid regrets.
“Selling of unwholesome veterinary feeds attracts a penalty of 3 years imprisonment. That’s why it is safer to play by the rules than risk punitive measures” she said.
One of the participants, Dr Godwin Obiekwe frowned at those who excuse their inability to register their premises on financial constraints, saying the registration cost could not be compared with the benefits.
He thanked the Ministry for organizing the event, which he said would ensure reduction, if not elimination of quackery in veterinary services, including abuse of antibiotics in animals and routine treatments.
Another participant, Chief Okigbo Chukwuemeka, CEO Okigbo Farms and Agro Allied Limited, described the workshop as long overdue, stressing need for regulation of the profession against increasing abuse.
“It’s high time government, veterinary professionals and other stakeholders stood their grounds on ways animal health is being practiced. There’s need for regulations to fight increasing abuse,” he added.