Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
A former Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ilorin, Prof Suleiman Folorunsho Ambali, has called for an outright ban of the open sale of all forms of pesticides across Nigeria.
Prof Ambali made the call while delivering the institution’s 192nd Inaugural Lecture titled “Preventing Pesticides from Poisoning Away our Health and Future: The Oxidative Approach”, at the University’s Main Auditorium at the weekend.
The Professor of Environmental Toxicology noted that repeated experiences and several reported cases of misuse of pesticides by all manner of people for obstructive causes across the length and breadth of the country have made it extremely important, more than ever before, to ensure greater restrictions of access to the materials, which are in liquid, solid and gaseous forms.
Prof Ambali, who is the Chairman of the University’s Library and Publication Committee, said that the proposal was also necessitated by the need to ensure that those involved in the procurement, distribution and sale of the chemical materials are those who are knowledgeable enough to understand the health and environmental implications of unwholesome application of pesticides.
He noted that the pernicious effects of pesticides on human health are too pervasive for the distribution of the substance to be left to the general public, saying that many of the health challenges faced by man today were caused by unregulated exposure to chemicals.
Prof Ambali also canvassed sustainable increment in the level of awareness and advocacy on the dangers associated with indiscriminate use and disposition of pesticides at home and in workplaces.
The Inaugural Lecturer also stressed the urgent need for certain measures to be taken towards encouraging protective usage of pesticides by farmers, suggesting that safer ways of controlling pests on farms should be explored.
Prof Ambali, who is also the Chairman of the Technical Sub-Committee of the Appointment and Promotions Committee, suggested that measures should be explored towards strengthening the regulatory framework and processes for the continuous re-evaluation of all registered pesticides in line with the best global practices.
The scholar similarly appealed to governments at all levels to work towards building and providing farmers with access to efficacious storage facilities to ensure lesser demand for pesticides for the preservation and protection of their produce from the pernicious effects of pests and diseases, which destroy and devalue farm produce.
He also appealed to the Federal Government to look into the possibility of reducing the level of poverty facing farmers across Nigeria.
To give effect to the desired prevention of illegal importation of pesticides into the country, Prof Ambali tasked the Federal Government to ensure effective control of the country’s borders, saying that whatever measures taken will be meaningless if the borders remain porous.