Quarantine agency seeks intervention on lab establishment


THE Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) called for the intervention of the Federal Government for the establishment of global standard laboratory within the agency for prompt and efficient service delivery.

Dr Akinjo Abiodun, the Director, Animal Quarantine Department of the agency made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said that such measure would ensure prompt screening and result of blood among other samples from quarantined animals in order to guide against spread of disease and ensure customers satisfaction.

He said the agency at the moment was relying on the National Veterinary Research Institute Laboratory (NVRI) in Jos to screen the samples taken from animals and conduct analysis before they are finally released.

Abiodun described the laboratory as grossly inadequate to handle all the samples from International airports, seaports and land borders as well as meet the dare needs of its numerous customers across the country.

“Considering the number of samples that may be generated from Lagos, Port Harcourt and other parts of the country to Jos for screening with the backlog that may be available at the laboratory, such lapses will extend the quarantine period beyond the stipulated time.

“Normally, all animals on quarantine are expected to spend maximum of 21 days during which they will be screened to detect if they are harbouring diseases that could be harmful to human.’’

Abiodun, however, appealed to the government to prioritise establishment of the agency’s lab in order to address all the hitches that could occur in the verge to screen samples and analysis.

“If the agency has its own well equipped laboratory with necessary reagents and rightful manpower, there will be quick diagnostic, analysis and results that meet global standard and the issue of demurrage will not occur.

“Therefore, we want our own global standard accredited lab to enable us screen samples so that whatever result that comes out of such lab will not be faulted in anyway.

“That will even encourage others to patronise us.

“That laboratory will not only serve the quarantine office but other laboratories in the country or clients can access the facilities for animal’s disease diagnosis and possibly screen for samples.”

Abiodun said the NVRI laboratory in Jos was overseeing all samples generated across the federation.

He decried the allegation that the agency usually waited for longer period before the result would be ready if the backlog was many.

“Though there are other private laboratories like Animal Care in Lagos and Kaduna where one could collect samples and do some analysis but they are very expensive.

“Considering the inadequate laboratories, if there is backlog of materials in the lab where they are supposed to be screened that means it will take a longer time for us to get our results.

“In view of the mandates of the agency, it deserve independent well equipped laboratory with necessary reagents to be able to function effectively, deliver quality and efficient service,” Abiodun said.

NAN report that the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) is a regulatory agency charged with the responsibility of preventing the introduction, establishment and propagation of animal and plant diseases.

It also provides quality assurance services to ensure provision of safe, sustainable agricultural and aquatic products for local and international markets. (NAN)

News Credit: Real news magazine