From: Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Commissioner of Agriculture, James Anbua, has said that snake farming was alien to the Benue people and culture as according to him, snakes are culturally identified with evil.
Anbua who stated this in a chat with newsmen, on Monday, explained that Benue State, as the food basket of the nation, has its traditional crops and animal farming where crops and animals such as grass cutters, rabbits, traditional cattle, fish and other animals are reared.
“The are no snake farms in Benue but if there is any, it is alien to the Benue culture. I don’t know anybody who rears snakes in Benue. Anybody that is known for rearing snakes is something that can be described as evil. Therefore, nobody can rear or think of having snake farm in Benue.”
He also debunked the allegation making the rounds that the state Governor, Samuel Ortom operates a snake farm in the state saying, “The governor of Benue has no snake farm.
“He (the Governor) rears snails, grass cutters, rabbits, cattle and other animals which are properly ranched. The farm is very close by and anybody can go there to verify if there is any snake farm there.”
The Agriculture Commissioner enthused that although he was aware that some tribes in Nigeria eat snakes, snake farming does not have any social or economic benefit to the Benue people since no tribe in the state either eats the reptile.
He continued, “Although I know that some people in other cultures in Nigeria eat snakes, Benue people don’t eat snakes and so, no Benue person would venture into such business of rearing snakes.
“As Agriculture Commissioner, I can never encourage a snake farm in Benue. Even the federal government is not promoting any such snake farming. What is the value chain of snakes in Benue or in Nigeriaa. How many pharmaceutical industries do we have in Nigeria that use snake venom to manufacture vaccines to warrant anybody going into snake farming?” he asked.
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