Dr HENRY ARCHIBONG’S BILL FOR AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE NIGERIA INSTITUTE FOR PLANT PROTECTION 2019 PASSES 2ND READING
THE NIGERIA INSTITUTE FOR PLANT PROTECTION (ESTABLISHMENT) BILL 2019 seeks to among other things establish for the Practice of the profession of Plant Protection, an Institute to be known as the Nigeria Institute
for Plant Protection which in this Bill is referred to as the “Institute”, which shall be a body corporate with
perpetual succession and a common seal and shall sue and be sued in its corporate name and shall have power to own, hold and dispose of property whether movable or immovable. This bill has 34 clauses but for the sake of time, I will only deal with a few.
The functions of the Institute will be to: (a) advice on academic qualification and practical skills required by persons seeking to become registered as
Members, Associates or Fellows of the Institute, as the case may be;
(b) regulate the practice of the profession for Plant Protection
(c) establish, update and maintain a register of Plant Doctors and Plant Protection Officers under this Bill
according to their various ranks and to regulate the prerogatives and privileges pertaining to those ranks;
(d) ensure that Plant Doctors and Plant Protection Officers in Nigeria uphold the ethics of the profession and guarantee the sustainability of high quality service in the protection of plants;
(e) advance the education, science, technology and art of Plant Protection in its various disciplines of Bacteriology, Biotechnology, Entomology, Mycology, Nematology, Virology, Weed Science in collaboration with zonal coordinating Research Institutes;
(f) promote the protection of plants through scientific methods, and regulate all issues pertaining to plant health in Nigeria; this is because the importance of plant protection in today’s world cannot be over emphasized especially when we look at the paradigm shift to sustainable environment because plants make up a huge part, if not the most important part of the food chain in the ecosystem.
(g) advise and encourage the enactment and the enforcement of laws governing plant health, bio-security and bio-safety that can guarantee sustainable production and consistent supply of food to Nigerians; because plants make up the bulk of the food that we eat, providing energy nutrients and other vitamins, and we can only imagine their contribution to the economy if they become a very important part of our economy. Export of plant products in all forms either as food, raw materials of all kinds etc. can bring in so much foreign exchange to the economy, apart from preventing much capital flight from Nigeria. This institute will help in securing these ideals. Nigeria is also trying to establish a national live stock program and the most important factor that will
sustain this program are plants.
Plants also make up a veritable part of the ecosystem for which all life depends on. It will interest us that a few years ago Nigeria exported beans to Europe and it was banned because we were not careful in the use of pesticides during farming or during processing as this caused contamination above the required tolerable pesticide level. The work of such institute will include helping in the training, regulation, monitoring and even evaluation. This is aside from the global partnership that will arise if there is a collaboration with sister institutes from around the world.
Nigeria’s drive to boost food security and to fight or ward off insect pests and yield-limiting crop pathogens has led to an unintended consequence: the mass importation and build-up of obsolete and toxic pesticides.
Nigerian farmers have been relying heavily on these agrochemicals for the control of various weeds, insect
pests and pathogens, leading to the high importation of these products. Although synthetic-chemical pesticides can be used to control some pests economically, rapidly and effectively; most of them cause serious negative impacts on the plants, to the ecosystem for which man, other land and aquatic animals and plants are a part of. There is therefore the need to improve the sustainability of the use of plant protection products and plant control products. This can be achieved by integrating existing
plant protection measures (chemical, mechanical, physical, biological, host-plant resistance, use of pheromones, cultural, etc.) under the framework of what is termed Integrated Pest Management (IPM) while identifying, advocating for and promoting the use of botanical pesticides in the pest management process.
These will form part of the functions of the institute.
Medically and pharmaceutically, there is so much medical and pharmaceutical resources in plants for instance lots of medicinal plants do exist which the Chinese have been able to tap into that has given them so much in terms of GDP as a lot of plants are used in pharmaceutical industries to make drugs. For instance drugs lie
Quinine are got from the back of cinchona tree, cocaine the most potent pain killer or analgesics which is unfortunately abused is from a plants called fox gloves, Chiwauwa a Chinese herb is processed to produce
artemisine-lumefantrine combination drugs called Paluther, various food supplements that have flooded the
Nigerian market today are from plants and we can imagine what it has raked into those countries in terms of
dollars Euros and Pounds, what about the Lemon grass, the almighty Aloe Vera and Moringa?, Cocoa, coffee,
tea etc in the food and beverage industries and cotton in the textile industries.
Mr Speaker, Hon Colleagues, a lot of these countries do not cultivate all year round neither do they have fertile land as we have in Nigeria. Why then will we not leverage on the God given blessing of rich arable land and varieties of plants that dot these land? The economic importance of plant protection is so huge
Mr. Speaker, Hon Colleagues. In Nigeria today because of the over dependence of crude oil as the mainstay of the economy
we have failed to see the potentials that plants have in providing the much needed revenue that can help in the economic stability of this country especially on the back drop of the falling oil prices and the fact that the world is speedily moving away from oil, to oil-less technology and economy.
(h) educate the public on Plant Protection activities; as a lot of our less educated Nigerians do not know the importance of plant preservation and protection and yet even when they do know, the urge to use the plants for fuel is so huge that these advantage of plant protection is relegated to the background because of the need
for survival. Here education is key.
On the flip side Mr Speaker and Hon Colleagues, I am not bringing this bill just for the sake of sponsoring a bill
but for the fact that there is a paradigm shift to global best practices in trying to create public value especially as it relates to the environment and food security so as to achieve the sustainable development goals, which
includes No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well Being, Clean water and Sanitation, Reduced
Inequality, Responsible Consumption and Production, Life Below Water, Life on Land, Partnership to Attend
It will also interest Hon Speaker and members that this institutes are present in every countries of
the world especially the superpowers that have attained food security and so Nigeria cannot be a stand-alone
as far as the practice of plant protection is concerned. Need I remind this house that several years ago, Beans from Nigeria was banned in Europe simply because the amount of pesticides detected in the exported beans was higher than the specification. Let us imagine the enormity of that ban on the economy of this country. The reason for such high amount pesticides was because there was no regulation and no monitoring of the use and application of such chemicals to our plants considering the fact that it was used for a good cause, in the prevention and of pests.
Need I also inform this house and also to remind us that we have at several times called for the provision of facilities for the treatment of cancer in this country because we have felt that cancer is ravaging the citizens of this nation. Such motions are good and timely but have we ever stopped to ask ourselves the causes, the predisposing factors of cancer and why there is such increased prevalence in our country?
It might interest us to note that several studies have been done and the persistent organic pollutants from pesticides in our
environment and in our plants have been found to be responsible for several forms of congenital abnormalities due to the mutagenic activities of such pesticides on DNA molecules and on protein metabolism via the
cytochrome, Cytokines, interleukin pathways. Those who apply these chemicals are also even at a higher risk because of failure to use protective wears. All these eventually will lead to several abnormalities including
cancer formation and trust me, because we are not good at monitoring and evaluation and research, we will continue to ascribe these problems as an act of God.
Mr. Speaker the need for regulation is also further predicated on the fact that Africa has also become a dumping ground for these toxic chemicals which are brought to us in the guise of donation to help boost our agricultural produce when in actual fact they are those
that have been banned in the developed world and for want cheaper ways of disposing of these toxic waste are dumped on us yet our importers are encouraged to bring them into the country because they are cheap.
Mr. Speaker Honourable colleagues they say is better than cure.
(i) co-operate or affiliate with any relevant associations either locally or internationally in the pursuit of
sustainable protection of plants;
POWERS OF THE INSTITUTE
3.— The Institute shall have power to
a)establish and promote disease diagnostic services and also pathogen, pest and weed identification
(b)establish standards, procedures and protocols for disease and pest management
(c)regulate the sale and use of agricultural chemicals and other plant protection protocols
(d)establish such offices, departments, units and branches of the Institute as may be required for the proper
administration and operation of the Institute;
(e)subject to such terms and conditions as the Institute may approve, engage staff, agents and other workers
as the Institute may from time to time require for the performance of its functions under this Act;
(f) establish necessary organization for the proper and efficient conduct of the affairs of the Institute; provide
staff regulations for all staff of the Institute and provide pension and welfare schemes for the staff; and
(g) do such other acts and things as may be necessary for the performance of the functions of the Institute.
Mr. Speaker, Hon. Colleagues, in view of the Federal government’s effort to diversify Nigeria economy
through boosting the Agricultural output and productivity of the abundant Agricultural Resources, it is
pertinent to introduce innovative services and practice in accordance with international best practice and
trends for plant protection; ensure safety in the use of Agrochemicals.
The need for the establishment of Nigeria Institute for Plant Protection cannot be over emphasized. I
therefore call on my Honourable Colleagues to support that the Bill be read for the second time and referred to the relevant Committee of the House for further legislative action, I so move.
Rt Dr Henry Archibong
Member, rep Itu/Ibiono Federal Constituency