Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, the Minister of Science and Technology, on Friday inaugurated the North-East Zonal Office of the Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis and (Onchocerciasis) Research (NITR) in Gombe State.
While inaugurating the facility in Lafiyawo community in Akko Local Government Area of Gombe State, Onu said the institute would help tackle challenges of Trypanosomiasis in the zone.
According to him, the effort of the Federal Government at setting up the institute is to ensure improved standard of living of peasant and livestock farmers in the six states.
He said that it was important to control tsetse fly as doing that “will improve the quality of livestock which will translate to increase in yields in terms of meat, milk and other derivatives from livestock.”
He added that the institute would increase the income of livestock farmers and by extension boosts the economies of the zone.
He said“ The Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari is working to ensure that we are able to help our livestock farmers so that if we establish livestock ranches, those ranches can be free from tsetse fly.
“ If we are unable to control tsetse flies there is no way we can have ranches; if you put cows and other animals in one place and they have tsetse flies around them, it is like leaving them defenceless.”
Also, Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State while appreciating the Federal Government said the institute would impact positively on the lives of the people of the state.
Yahaya stated that more than 70 per cent of the people of the state are farmers involved in either crop or livestock production.
He said that the state government would always welcome any effort to improve their vocation.
“When NITR approached me for a land to build this structure, I gave it instant approval and they equally responded instantly and you can see the result here today.”
“The fact that the Federal Government approved the take-off of the National Livestock Transformation project in Gombe- the Wawa-Zange Game Reserve, it means with this institute our people’s means of livelihood will be enhanced,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Federal Government had in October embarked on a tsetse fly survey to improve livestock production in Gombe State.