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News Published in October 2016

Research Should Have National Focus, Says Professor Afolami

Professor Steve Afolami of the Department of Crop Protection, College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT), has advocated the importance of ensuring that the various researches being carried out in Nigeria have national focus.  The Don stated this while assessing the impact of research on the fortunes of the country, saying that it was high time Nigeria closed its eyes to foreign researches and looked inward to identify peculiar problems with the hope of finding appropriate solutions to them.

In the light of this, Professor Afolami has expressed the hope that FUNAAB would keep performing this noble role of engaging in impactful researches with national focus, through its Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre (AMREC), as well as the Institute for Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research (IFSERAR), saying that “I have always wished that there would be a national focus.  For example, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with The Presidency, could identify problems, seek for solutions and follow-up to a logical conclusion; no matter how long it takes and without any form of distractions”.

The Professor of Plant Nematology, further disclosed that root-knot nematodes, Meloidogyne species, remained the main nematode problem facing the Nigerian farmers, without them knowing.  “Nematodes are microscopic, that is, they are small organisms that require a microscope to see them. Most often, the adverse effects of nematodes are wrongly diagnosed as nutrient problems having to do with the soil. It is only after the soil had been treated and no solution found, that people would recognise that something else could be the problem.  “Now that nematology as a science is spreading and more scientists are being produced in that area, at least in Nigeria, farmers are beginning to realise that a good number of their crops are devastated by nematodes”, he added.

Professor Afolami, the incumbent Vice-Chancellor, Augustine University, Ilara-Epe, Lagos State, revealed that FUNAAB had contributed immensely to carrying out of the research on nematodes with the development of an improved method of screening nematodes that is considered as a great contribution by the University towards the science of Nematology. Calling nematodes the “farmers’ unseen enemy”, the Don said not all nematodes were actually enemies, as some of them are used to monitor the environment, while some others are used to control insects, such as the Beetle larvae. Some nematodes equally assist in ensuring the stability of soil by feeding on plant-parasitic nematodes, as predators.

Professor Afolami lauded the efforts of FUNAAB in rewarding academic excellence, through the award of scholarships through which the University had produced several brilliant students, who had become Professors, such as: Jonathan Atungwu, Lateef Sanni and Kolawole Adebayo, who are doing well and excelling on the global level. He affirmed that the study of nematodes would ensure food production in the country, warning that failure to pay adequate attention to the havoc attributable to the organism could have adverse consequences for food production as it happened in Europe when potato destruction, that was linked to nematodes, caused food shortages that almost led to the collapse of governments. He further said that concerted efforts were being put together to reduce the negative impact of nematodes on crops, thereby increasing food production. He also advocated extension nematology for farmers’ education.

Professor Afolami, who is also a former Dean, Postgraduate School of FUNAAB, said the major challenge facing Nematology research is that there is very little that could be done without having to always look down into a microscope, and many students do not seem to like that. “Identifying and counting nematodes in a particular soil sample can be done more rapidly with the use of new designs of microscopes, but the problem is that in a soil sample, that has not been sterilised and inoculated with a specific nematode, you will have to identify the various types before you begin to count them individually, which could be very tasking as it involves picking, separating and determining how much of each type are in a soil sample”, as he advised young and upcoming researchers to ensure they work hard and avoid getting discouraged, by realising that the end justified the means.
Professor Afolami, appreciated the University Management for granting him Leave of Absence, which made it possible for him to serve the country, through the Augustine University, promising to sustain the reputation for academic excellence that FUNAAB had worked very hard to build in the last 27 years.

Biotechnology Can Guaranty Food Security - Dr. Obadina

The Director, Biotechnology Centre of the University, Dr. Adewale Obadina, has restated that Biotechnology is capable of ensuring food security in the 21st Century. Dr. Obadina gave the assurance at the commencement of the weekly Biotechnology Seminar for Science Students in Senior Secondary Schools in Ogun State.

According to him, “the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), has predicted that by 2050, we would need to feed a world population of 9.1 billion people.  This requires raising food production by approximately 70 per cent”.  It is in the light of this forecast that food Biotechnology would come to the rescue. The Don added that Biotechnology could be applied through the development of disease-resistant plants, plants that reduce environmental burden of fertilizers, food crops that could produce greater yields, increasing nutrient in plants such as vitamins and genetically-engineered bacteria that could degrade environmental pollutants.

Dr. Obadina stated further that other areas that Biotechnology could help solve life problems include detection of forensics, DNA finger-printing, gene therapy, transgenic crops, animals and DNA tracking of seeds, aquaculture, bioremediation and bioextractions, bioinformatics, tissue culture among others. The Director explained that the goal of the weekly seminar was to introduce teams of high school students and adult leaders to concepts such as DNA extraction, genetic engineering and recombinant DNA technology, saying “We want to educate our youths to be able to make educated and informed decisions about what Biotechnology is all about and its uses, rather than having misconceptions, based on fear and emotion”. While calling the youths, who are the future scientists and decision-makers, Dr. Obadina observed that in 2017, the Biotechnology Centre was planning to organise series of hands-on activities including the extraction of DNA from students’ saliva, fruits, and blood.

Speaking after one of the sessions, Miss Ayeni Adeogo, a Senior Secondary School III student of Stephen Centre International School, Obantoko, Abeokuta, said Biotechnology was very useful in the life of human beings, particularly, in the areas of genetics and forensic analysis (to determine the cause of death of plants and animals). She recommended the use of Biotechnology to solve human problems or challenges, because it cuts across every field of human existence, in the sense that it remained the science that unravels a new lease to life; be it in the medicine, agriculture, the food we eat, the drugs we take, data recording, our alignment with other species on earth or security of life and properties.

Some of the schools that attended the seminar are: Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta International School (FUNIS); Deeper Life High School, Abeokuta Campus; Emmanuel College, Obantoko; Stephen Centre International School, Obantoko; Nawair-Ud-Deen Grammar School, Obantoko; and Aminat International College, Obantoko; all in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Venue of the free seminar is the Postgraduate School Auditorium of FUNAAB, every Wednesday between 10am and 1pm, till the end of the year. About 75 students from five schools are expected in all, every week, throughout the sessions, which would cover both lectures and video presentations on Biotechnology techniques.

In another development, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, has charged youths of today to utilise the potentials and opportunities at their disposal positively, describing their generation as lucky and fortunate. Speaking during the Graduation/Send-forth, organised by the International Centre for Professional Development (ICPD) of the University for the 2016 Summer School Programme, Professor Enikuomehin encouraged the youths to continue learning by using the computer on a daily basis.
Represented by Mr. Charles Akinola of the Centre, the DVC (Development), however, advised the graduands to avoid using the computer to commit fraudulent acts, play unnecessary games or watch bad films, noting that the computer was more useful than being deployed for such things.  Professor Enikuomehin highlighted the benefits of the two-month information technology training to include creating awareness and job opportunities to make the youths employable and job-creators. He added that the training was also designed to help discover and develop their potentials, keep them busy during the holidays and reduce the likelihood of engaging in social vices.
The Head of ICPD, Mr. Lawrence Kazeem, said the desire of the Centre was for its students to graduate to higher level of advancement after the IT training.  He charged them not to waste the lessons gained, as he also implored them to develop their capacities through knowledge.     Speaking on behalf of the graduands, Oluwasegun Ayomidipupo, said they had learnt a lot from the training, having been equipped with the requisite knowledge while thanking the University Management for creating a conducive environment for ICPD to function properly.

Don’t Scrap NYSC - Corpers Plead

Some youth corps members have added their voice to the growing call on why the Federal Government should not to scrap the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Scheme, stating that its merits overwhelmed its perceived disadvantages. A cross section of corps members that have just completed their service year in the University, said the objectives of the founding fathers for the scheme should be sustained, as a unifying factor for Nigerians. The corps members bared their minds during Batch ‘B’ send-forth ceremony, held for them in the University.


Mr. Michael Dogara, the outgone Internal Corpers’ Liason Officer from Kaduna State, said the scheme should not be scrapped because it had afforded many young people the opportunity to have rich ideas about the culture, food, dressing and language of peoples from other geo-political zones of the country, adding that “my service year in Abeokuta was a wonderful experience.  The scheme gave me the opportunity to stay here for a year.  I think the scheme should continue”.  To Mr. Bello Abdulrahman from Kogi State, the environmental condition and people of the South-West areas of Nigeria, particularly, Abeokuta were friendlier, when compared to his home state, noting that the cost of living was low, adding that he may not have known about these and other vital information, if not for the mandatory service year. Mr. Adikwu Okoh from Benue State, commended the peaceful atmosphere in the University and the city (Abeokuta), at large. “FUNAAB and Ogun State are peaceful.  The people are also good and peaceful.  I love them for that. Majority of the youth corps members, however, called on the Federal Government to consider increasing their monthly allowances.  They also made case for conducive locations as the Place of Primary Assignment (PPA), to make the service year worthwhile, productive and encouraging.

Meanwhile, youth corps members recently posted to the University have been urged to be productive, during their service year in order to make it worthwhile.  The charge was given by the Director, Zoological Garden of FUNAAB, Dr. Moses Oyatogun at the send-forth ceremony. Dr. Oyatogun said the corps members deployed to the Zoological Garden had learnt well and adapted very fast to the zoo, thereby, contributing their quota to the development of the country.

The elated Director stated that he was impressed with the performance of youth corpers in the University, while encouraging them to be resilient, hardworking and committed to any cause they may find themselves in after their service year. Similarly, the Deputy Dean, Student Affairs of the University, Professor Adeniyi Olayanju, had advised the corps members not to allow excessive love of money to control their future but rather, they should work hard and be professional, adding that the future of the country depended on the youths.

Recalling their service year in the University and Abeokuta in particular, Olamitayo Joseph said he had good relationship with his neighbours, confirming that the city (Abeokuta) was truly a blessed city but Victory Charles, said that though she would have preferred to serve in an oil and gas company, her service year in FUNAAB was really interesting, only that not being able to understand the language of the people (dialect) was her major problem.

On her part, introducing shuttle buses to ply intra-University routes would complement the efforts of Management in solving transportation challenges, opined Folasade Ogunlade, who added that her bosses in FUNAAB were very nice and, hence, her service year was enjoyable. Victoria Francis would rather like a situation, whereby the indigenes would communicate in English language, while Jimbe Innocent admonished city dwellers to reduce their pepper consumption, to stay healthy.

Fuzzy, Neutrosophic Sets, Vital to Technological Advancement - Don

A Don in the Department of Mathematics, College of Physical Sciences (COLPHYS), Professor Adesina Agboola, has highlighted the benefits of Fuzzy and Neutrosophic Sets to technological advancement, saying that while Fuzzy Set was first introduced by Professor Lotfi  Zadeh in 1965, as an extension and generalisation of the Classical Set Theory, Professor Florentin Smarandache introduced the Neutrosophic Set in 1995, as a generalisation and extension of the Fuzzy Set. According to him, Fuzzy and Neutrosophic Sets have practical real life applications in Robotics, Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Control Systems, Engineering, Quantum Theory, Languages, Information Technology, Economics, Finance, Psychology, Law, Politics and Medicine. He went further to state that thermostats in the modern day air-conditioners and refrigerators are controlled by Fuzzy Logic. Professor Agboola, whose major area is Pure Mathematics (Algebra), which he noted, was different from Applied Mathematics, added that when a Pure Mathematician, George Boole, was working on the Boolean Algebra and Binary Numbers, little did he know that such an innovation could be the basis for the development of Computer Science and Information Technology. A Pure Mathematician usually concentrates on the establishing logical statements and proofs in his/her area of specialisation, without having to bother about their applications. Professor Agboola stressed that Fuzzy Set permits the gradual assessment of the membership of elements in a set, which is characterized with the aid of a membership function, valued in the real unit interval [0, 1]. “So, what I have been doing for over 15 years or more is the Pure Mathematics. We have been studying and developing Algebraic Structures, Algebraic Hyperstructures, Fuzzy Algebraic Structures, Neutrosophic  Algebraic Structures and Neutrosophic Algebraic Hyperstructures”, he stated.

 

 

Speaking further, Professor Agboola said that, “If you go to secondary schools today, the students learn only about the Classical Set, and even up to the university level, students are being taught only the Classical Set Theory. wherein an element either belongs to a set, or does not.   Citing an example, the mathematician stated that, “Suppose we were considering a set of students in FUNAAB, if I pick somebody, the person must have the identity of being a FUNAAB student before he/she can belong to the set.  But, if I pick someone else, who has nothing doing with FUNAAB, that person cannot be in that set.  So, that is what the Classical Set (Theory) is all about.  It’s either you are a member or you are not a member. But, in the real sense of it, that kind of a set or that kind of Mathematics, is not suitable for modeling the real life, full of uncertainties, vagueness and indeterminacies. Hence the need for the creation of Fuzzy and Neutrosophic Sets".

Expatiating further on the Fuzzy Set, Professor Agboola noted that, “If we are considering a set of brilliant students in Mathematics in this University, only the students with As or Bs can belong to the set and not the students with Cs, Ds, Es and even Fs under the Classical Set. However, under the concept of Fuzzy Set, all the students can belong to the set but with varying degrees of membership. Those with As may be graded 0.9, Bs with 0.8, Cs with 0.5, Ds with 0.4, Es with 0.1 and Fs with 0.01. In this way, all the students will be considered to be brilliant with various degrees of brilliance and they can all belong to the set. When all the factors present in an environment are considered in the modeling of the environment, the result obtained will be closer to the reality, when compared with the results obtained when some factors are neglected by assumptions." 

Citing another example, Professor Agboola said that, “In our daily activities, we usually make use of expressions like: hot tea, very hot water, cold water, very cold water, hot sun, fresh apple, tall boy, very tall girl, short tree, long train, beautiful car, big television, small radio, bright star, etc. The imprecise (vague) terms like hot, very cold, fresh, tall, long, very short, very big, etc, have no place in the Classical Set Theory, but are well accommodated in the Theory of Fuzzy Set.

The Don stated further that, as powerful as the Theory of Fuzzy Set is, it cannot be used to model situations involving indeterminacies. Hence, the need for the creation of the Theory of Neutrosophic Set by Smarandache.The Fuzzy Set Theory presents only the true values and the false values. However, in the Neutrosophic Set, we have the true values, the false values and the indeterminant values.

 Giving more examples, the Don said that “Suppose we consider the proposition ‘Tomorrow it will be raining’, the proposition cannot have a fixed-valued component structure. At time t1, it may be 40 percent true, 45 percent false and 50 percent indeterminate; but at time t2, it may change to have 50 percent true, 30 percent false and 49 percent indeterminate, depending on the new evidences, sources, etc. Also, that a known good football club will win a match may be 65 percent true, 25 percent false and 30 percent indeterminate and that a known brilliant student in Mathematics will make a First Class Degree in Mathematics at the end of his/her course may be 70 percent true, 10 percent false and 15 percent indeterminate.” All these possible situations can only be accommodated in the Neutrosophic Set Theory. If the truth value, falsehood value and indeterminacy value can be factored in the modeling of a situation, the result will be closer to the reality, than when compared to using only the truth value and falsehood value as stipulated in the Fuzzy Set Theory.

Due to their importance and wide range of applications, Professor Agboola recommended the inclusion of Fuzzy and Neutrosophic Sets in the curricula of higher levels of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Mathematics, Computer Science, Statistics, Physics and Engineering in all Nigerian universities.

Professor Agboola identified the challenges facing research in Mathematics and other disciplines in the country to include inadequate funding as well as apathy and non-conducive working environment.  He advised upcoming researchers in Nigeria not to give up, but be encouraged to forge ahead, by working hard to publish good research papers, to become ever relevant in today’s academic world.

Professor Agboola, a recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award in Paradoxism by the International Association of Paradoxism, a vanguard movement in the arts and sciences, was recognised for his outstanding contributions in the areas of Neutrosophic Theory and the development of New Neutrosophic Algebraic Structures and Neutrosophic Algebraic Hyperstructures, among others.

Academic Activities Resume in FUNAAB

Infact, in all the places visited, lectures were on. Normalcy has returned to the University. We give thanks to God and members of staff, who had ensured the return of students to campus. These were the words of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Professor Catherine Eromosele, while confirming the full resumption of academic activities in FUNAAB.

Professor Eromosele also confirmed that students were fully back on campus and academic activities were ongoing at the various lecture halls visited, which included the College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT), College of Animal Science and Livestock Production (COLANIM), College of Environmental Resources Management (COLERM), College of Management Sciences (COLMAS) lecture halls, as well as the 2,000-capacity Mahmood Yakubu Lecture Theatre.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) said that due to the challenges being experienced on the REMITA platform for the payment of the reparation fee, the University Management had extended the period of payment by two weeks. The report I had was that, as at Tuesday, October 4, 2016, about 16,000 students had generated invoices to pay. But for the major challenge they had with the REMITA platform, they were unable to get access code. At least, over 3,000 students had paid. Management in its wisdom, because of the challenges being faced, had extended the payment for another two weeks and this has also been made known to the Committee of Deans and Directors (CODAD) of the University.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Dean of Student Affairs, Professor Adeniyi Olayanju, expressed happiness at the return of students to campus, saying no lecturer was happy whenever the students were not around, particularly, as a result of the kind of unrest that led to the mid-semester break. Professor Olayanju added that the Senate of the University had approved the constitution of a committee, to formulate policy for the off-campus students, towards promoting their welfare and security.Issues of the August 18 has gone and gone, forever. That is our believe. For us to forestall future occurrence, we have put adequate security measures in place. We were able to get in touch with the Chairmen of the Community Development Associations (CDAs), some of the Baales (Traditional rulers) and security agencies, to ensure the security of lives and properties of the students. Gods willing, the students are safe, he said. Collaborating this, the Assistant Chief Environmental Officer (ACEO) of the University, Mr. Peter Bolarinwa, added that the physical presence of personnel of different security agencies on campus was actually a bid to guaranty the provision of adequate security for members of the University community, in view of the commencement of full academic activities.

The Acting Head, Department of Veterinary Anatomy, College of Veterinary Medicine (COLVET), Dr. Ayokunle Olude, appreciated the role played by University Management towards ensuring students resumption, saying it is a good thing that students are back to normal academic activities because they have been at home for some time and I know parents are concerned.It is a good thing. We are happy to see them back in school. He urged the students to cooperate with the authorities and be peaceful in their conduct and to always channel any grievance through the appropriate avenue, for necessary consideration.

Dr. Mojisola Adegunwa, Acting Head, Department of Hospitality and Tourism, Colege of Food Science and Human Ecology (COLFHEC), stated that the resumption of students back to campus, after the mid-semester break was fast, because the students were eager to resume. In fact, I was in the class this morning; a 500-level class was well attended. They were eager to do their courses and their examinations. She also stressed the need to put more security arrangements in place for all the students, as part of efforts to promote peace and tranquility in the system. In the same vein, the President of FUNAAB Students Union, Comrade Dennis Nwenonye, said the main objective of the body was to ensure that the academic calendar was not disrupted, hence, the need to support the University Senates decision for the students to resume.

While reiterating the resolve to ensure that peace reigned on and off-campus, the Students Union President promised to collaborate with the University Management, to find solutions to the challenges that students may be facing, saying that from our end, we would ensure that academic activities continue. We are ensuring that peace reigns on campus and that has been our major priority, assuring that students of the University would continue to be calm, cool-headed and peaceful.

Some of the students also shared their resumption experience. For Adesina Oluwatobi, a 500-level student in the Department of Animal Physiology, College of Animal Science and Livestock Production (COLANIM), he was pleased to be back in school, saying the University Senates decision was a welcome development. He stated further that the students resumed with a very high spirit and, therefore, cannot wait to start their lectures in earnest.

Herika Omukoro, a 200-level student in the Department of Horticulture, College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT), disclosed that she was extremely happy because it had been a long time they (students), stayed home for the mid-semester break. She hoped that things would go on well between the students union and Management. Oluwadamilare Fajinmi, a 300-level student in the Department of Animal Production and Health, COLANIM, urged the students union to re-orientate its members on the need to be civil in their approach to issues, saying that with patience, a lot could be achieved.

Oyewunmi Becomes FUNAAB's Acting Bursar

A Chief Accountant at the Institute for Human Resources Development (INHURD) of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Mrs. Oluremi Oyewunmi, has been appointed as the Acting Bursar for the University with effect from Thursday, October 6, 2016, until further notice.

Mrs. Oyewunmi joined the services of the University over 26 years ago. She had served meritoriously in the various units of Bursary Department, such as the Budget and Insurance, Cash Office, Final Accounts, Expenditure Control, Payroll, Industrial Park and INHURD. Mrs. Oyewunmi is an alumnus of the prestigious University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife). She is a Fellow of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) and a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM). She is currently the President, Olumo Lion's Club, Abeokuta.

Mrs. Oyewunmi takes over from Mr. Moses Ilesanmi; who became the third substantive Bursar, with effect from September 23, 2011. Mr. Ilesanmi, an experienced financial expert and Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), graduated from the then Ogun State Polytechnic, Ojere, Abeokuta (now Moshood Abiola Polytechnic) and also obtained the Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree from FUNAAB.

FUNAAB Don Gives Viable Option to Organic Fertilizer

University Don,Professor Johnson Adesodun, has recommended an alternate source to the use of organic fertilizer in farming. According to him, a weed plant, Mexican Sunflower (Tithoniadiversifolia), which when applied fresh as green mature at 10 tons per hectare, provides the same nutrients as other types of manure and that makes it highly suitable for the kind of soil found in Nigeria.

The Professor of Soil Physics, who is also the Head, Department of Soil Science and Land Management, College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT) of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), disclosed that Tithoniadiversifolia, was introduced to West Africa as an ornamental plant, but could grow and suppress other plants, making it a serious threat to farmers. Hence, he decided to carry out a research on the plant, he said. In the course of the research, he disclosed that he realised that when the weed plant was freshly harvested, chopped and ploughed back into the soil, it served as a good source of fertilizer for the soil, saying that the application of compost manure would have produced the same result. Professor Adesodun added that other plants that could also serve as good sources of fertilizer include Panicummaximumand Chromolinarodorata,which are commonly available as weed throughout the country.

Speaking on his major research focus, Professor Adesodundisclosed that it centred on the effect of different land management practices occasioned by the addition of various kinds of organic and inorganic amendments on soil physical properties, as related to carbon and nitrogen sequestration, structural stability, crop production and environmental protection. Professor Adesodun stated that the motivation to embark on his line of research was primarily borne-out of the need to manage thephysical quality of the soil.

It is important that the physical environment of the soil is properly managed. For example, by ensuring that when it rains, the water filters through the soil properly without causing erosion and ensuring that when fertilizer is applied, the soil has adequate soil water to make it available to the plant in order to avoid the case of the soil being chemically fertile and physically infertile.So, it is a combination of physical, chemical and biological management of soil that will ive good soil quality. That was what really motivated me. As soil physicists, we look at the physical aspect of the soil in collaboration with other researchers, he stated.

The Soil Physicist made it clear that he was not against the use and application of both organic and inorganic fertilizers. He, however, stated that there was the need to prepare the soil adequately such that the fertilizer applied would not be lost toleaching, adding that if the soil was not well managed - physically, biological or chemically - it would not give the desired yield. You cannot just dump manure or poultry droppings on land, but to improve the physical quality of soil, application at 10 tons per hectare is very adequate for our fragile soils here. The common manure is poultry manure because of what has been used to compound the feed. You know, it is what you take in that comes out. Poultry manure is the best, when compared to other types.

Speaking on his other research areas, Professor Adesodun said that during his doctorate programme, he had worked on the bioremediation of polluted soils and that he still intends to return to soil pollution studies.Lamenting that the country was not adequately managing its soils for sustainable development, he said Nigerians seem to be very ignorant about the relevance of soil to our life. Soil is fundamental to life on earth here. So, whatever we do, whether agronomic or non-agronomic projects, it is expected that a soil test is first carried out. Some come for soil test when they need to get a bank loan, which requires land evaluation. But generally, people do not carry out these tests and that is why we have low yield from our agricultural activities as well asfailed projects such as roads, buildings etc.. Before you start any project, a soil test must be carried out to know the nature of the soil as most failed building or road projects are linked to the soil.

Speaking further, he disclosed that We have not been carrying out adequate soil tests in the country, but we have only been paying lip service. So, for us to have a sustainable society, soil test is a basic requirement because soil is the basic source of man. My candid advice isat individual level, individualsshould manage their soils in such a way that this resource will be available for both the present and future generation; and at the government level or corporate level, informationsustainable soil management needs to be disseminated and government is in the best position to do that. For example, carrying out community awareness by inviting scientists to advice and educate farmers as well as users, as most researches also need to be supported and be made available to the public through workshops and which takes a lot of money. Also, at the international level, organisations such as the Food andAgriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Bank need do more bypulling togetheravailable information onglobal soil resources and make them available to the community as a whole.

Nigeria pays lip service to research generally. Many people are not paying attention to research and most researches done are at the individual level, particularly, by academics (because if you do not publish, youll perish). Also, there is inadequate support from government and industries such as the agro-service providers, as they do not involve experts in carrying out proper research because it involves money. Nigeria needs to stop paying lip service to research and fund it properly. Researchers also need to be truthful in what they do and not just focus on money, as many people now consider how much they will first make without focusing on the benefits to the people, Professor Adesodun added.

To Stay Healthy, Eat Organic Food - Don

Professor Jonathan Atungwu, the Head, Department of Crop Protection, College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT), has described organic agriculture as safer, tastier, more nutritious, friendlier to the environment, and capable of bringing man closer to God.

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The Don noted that those who eat or work in an organic environment were always looking fresh and younger than their counterparts that relied on artificial sources. According to him, organic agriculture is involved in raising plants and animals in a sustainable manner without the use of chemicals, which are man-made and poisonous. He noted that this production system sustained the health status of soils, ecosystems and people, based on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions.
According to Professor Atungwu, a former National Coordinating Scientist, Organic Agriculture Project in Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria (OAPTIN), formal organic agriculture started in Nigeria in 2004, was spear-headed and promoted by FUNAInlineAB, adding that till date, the University was still leading in the field of organic agriculture. He noted that in 2005, a conference was held on organic agriculture and FUNAAB coordinated the national and regional projects in West Africa.

Noting that organic agriculture had contributed to the development of the University, the former Coordinator, International Summer School on Organic Agriculture, stated that the project had added a lot of advancement that had helped to boost academic activities, stating that it had also been able to formulate the curriculum for organic agriculture training on degree programmes through its Pioneer Team Leader, Professor Isaac Aiyelaagbe. According to him, the curriculum would teach the undergraduate, postgraduate students and professors, who are interested in knowing more about organic agriculture. He lamented that though a Centre for Organic Agricultural Research had been established in the University, it had yet to be put into full operation, adding that very soon, FUNAAB would have a full-fledged Department of Organic Agriculture.Inline

The Professor of Plant Nematology and Deputy Editor, Journal on Organic Agriculture and Environment, gave a distinctive difference between organic and conventional agriculture, to include the use of synthetic chemical fertilisers to promote plant growth by farmers, while organic farmers would rather apply natural fertilisers, such as manure or compost, to feed the soil and the plants, adding that where the conventional farmer would use insecticides for pest control, the organic farmer would make use of beneficial insects, birds or plants like the Neem leaf (Dogoyaro), Scent leaf and Bitter leaf. The Don added that where the conventional farmer would have used herbicides for weed control, the organic farmer would rotate crops and use other farming methods to manage the weeds.

He revealed that producers of organic beef, pork, poultry and other meat products were using preventive measures such as rotational grazing, a wholesome diet and clean housing in contrast to the conventional producers, who give animal hormones to spur growth and antibiotics to prevent disease with its residual effect. Professor Atungwu noted further that the health risks associated with exposure to some pesticides, fungicides and herbicides was another main consideration when looking at the differences between organic and conventional produce as some of them were linked to cancer and other diseases.

Throwing light on the general plans for organic agriculture in Nigeria, the alumnus of the University, said that the future of orgaInlinenic agriculture was very bright and capable of giving Nigerians safe food. For this reason, many farmers had been trained in organic agriculture, both small and big time farmers, who had attended the University’s International Summer School, hoping that with time, there would be organic stores, like what obtained in the developed countries, where people could walk-in to buy their organic products and there would be organic produce all-year-round while citing the small organic store established in FUNAAB. He added that since people were asking for organic products, they could get always them regularly from the campus organic store.

He also noted that a scheme, known as the Community Organic Box Scheme (COBS), which started in the University since January 30, 2014, had grown and met the demand for organic products throughout the year in a sustainable manner, adding that on a weekly basis, the organic produce was shared to members. Professor Atungwu, who is the Coordinator of COBS, further added that FUNAAB was a training and capacity building ground for research and training of farmers and other interested producers. Professor Atungwu noted that the aim of the project was not only to grow organic produce on commercial basis in the University, but to train as many people as possible, who would in turn; produce many organic products on a commercial scale.

Professor Atungwu said that organic agriculture operates on four basic principles, namely principle of health; where they look at the health of the soil to make sure that the soil was healthy and if so, the plants would be healthy, the animals would be healthy, the people would be healthy and the whole planet would also be healthy, adding that the principle of ecosystem should operate in a manner that would be healthy for humanity, as he charged all to think of a safer future for the nation’s generation that is safe.

The Don enumerated the benefits of organic agriculture as products that provide high quality safe food to help man live healthier, adding that they have antioxidants, which would help in breaking down fat, as he noted that it provided better ecosystem, which is unpolluted by increasing the income of farmers, particularly in developed countries, where they appreciate organic products and sell their produce higher than the conventional ones. He, therefore, called on the government to seriously think on promoting organic agriculture in the country in the area of exportation, in order to increase foreign reserves with the assurance that such efforts would give nutritious and pharmaceutical values to the society.

FUNAAB Hosts PPSN Conference

The University recently hosted the 40th edition of the Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria (PPSN) Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM), with the theme “Consolidating the Parasitic Diseases Elimination Strategies in Nigeria and Africa”.

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The Keynote Speaker and the Director-General, National Institute for Trypanosomiasis and Onchocerciasis Research (NITR), Kaduna, Professor Mohammad Mamman, stated that more than one billion people were affected with one or more neglected tropical diseases, adding that the ailment remained abandoned at all levels, as he highlighted 17 neglected diseases caused by micro and macro parasites such as Buruli ulcer, Chagas diseases, Dengue Leishmaniasis, Leprosy, Human African Trypanosomiasis, Rabies, Trachoma, Treponematoses, Cysticerosis and Dracunculiasis.  According to him, Nigeria had the highest prevalence of these Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), noting that the theme for the conference was apt and timely because of the growing impact of pathogens on human health.

Professor Mamman stressed the benefits of One Health, which is an integrated approach to collectively improve human, animal and environmental health, saying that some successful disease control, based on One Health collaboration, included controls of small pox, human tuberculosis, human rabies and maintenance of normal blood glucose levels, among others. According to him, the objective of One Health was to promote co-equal and all-inclusive collaborations between physicians, Osteopathic physicians, veterinarians, dentists, nurses, disease control centres, agriculture-related regulatory agencies, public health departments and other science-based health and environmental disciplines.

He noted that the One Health Concept could be used to consolidate the parasitic disease elimination strategies in Nigeria, by first assessing the existing strategies for health control and elimination of parasitic diseases on the continent. Alluding to the words of Gardon B. Hinckley, the erudite scholar, who once said that “you can’t build a great building on a weak foundation”, noted that the adoption of One Health Initiative for the control and elimination of human and parasitic diseases in Africa was depended on the availability of sound health infrastructure, strong commitment by government, formulation and implementation of policies on disease control, critical mass of experts as well as the alignment of African countries to actively participate in the cause.

Declaring the conference open, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development, Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, appreciated the Society for the privilege given for FUNAAB to host the conference.  He challenged the parasitologists to work together to eliminate parasitology-related diseases in Nigeria and Africa because there was the need to balance between literacy, cultural practices and norms as it applied to parasitology, noting that indigenous practices could be fine-tuned to suite modern practice, which would lead to solutions, particularly, the environment.

The President of PPSN, Professor Chinyere Ukaga, had stated that there were great expectations of a better conferencing when compared with the last one held in Lafia, Nasarawa State. She recalled that the establishment of the Society took place in Calabar in 1973 and was formerly known as the Nigerian Society for Parasitology (NSP), with limited membership across the six Nigerian universities, adding that the main agenda of the body was to develop parasitology that responded to African needs and training others for research and service.

Professor Ukaga disclosed further that earlier in 2016, reports of outbreaks of Lassa Fever in various parts of the country, as well as Bird flu in the Plateau region, were recorded while zonal coordinators responded to the clarion call to set up different programmes in response to diseases.  She, therefore, paid glowing tributes to the immediate past Zonal Coordinator of the North-East Zone, late Dr. Steve Tidi, who passed on recently. The President also appreciated those who worked hard editorially, under the leadership of Prof. Sammy Sam-Wobo of FUNAAB, the Editor-in-Chief, to ensure that the Nigerian Journal of Parasitology (NJP), ranked second among all other African journals.

Professor Alex Acholonu of the Alcorn State University, Mississippi, United States of America (USA) had described parasitology as the study of parasitism or the study of parasites, saying that it was an essential subject in tropical Nigeria. According to him, parasitism is a way of life in which one specie (parasite) lives on another specie (the host), while gaining its livelihood at the expense of the host. The Professor of Biology stated that there was the need for more research on parasitology, particularly, in the area of common and unknown organisms such as the pentastomes and Acanthocephalans. Meanwhile, Professor Acholonu was redecorated as the founding member of the Society as well as Fellow of PPSN at the occasion.

FUNAAB Staff Wins AAU Grant

A staff in the Department of Animal Production and Health, College of Animal Science and Livestock Production (COLANIM), Mr. Joshua Odutayo, has won the Association of African Universities’ 2016 edition of Small Grants for Theses and Dissertations Programme to the tune of $3,500.

Inline Mr. Odutayo, who had an unprecedented 4.90 Grade Point Average in the University, to become the best graduating student in the 2012/2013 Academic Session, won the grant for his Ph.D. programme with a proposal titled, “Influence of Supplemental Vitamins and Periods of Administration on Laying Performance, Haematological Parameter and Antibody Titre of Egg Type Chickens Vaccinated against Newcastle Disease”.
Meanwhile, Mr. Odutayo has also defended his Master of Agriculture Dissertation, to become the overall best, under the poultry discipline in the 2015 Graduate Animal Scientists (GAS) Examination, conducted by the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS), the regulatory agency for the training and practice of animal science in Nigeria.