The Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA) held its 54th annual national congress in the ancient city of Kano from the 6th of November to the 10th of November, 2017. The congress started with an opening ceremony which took place at the coronation hall of the Government House, Kano State with the Executive Governor of the state, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje in attendance as the Chief Host.
The theme for this year’s NVMA congress is ‘’Veterinary Services as tools for Advancing Economic growth, food and national security’’. It is expedient to note that the choice of the topic that was discussed at the congress is quite timely as it addresses the many challenges that is posing serious threat to our existence as a nation such as the need to diversify the economy, farmers/herdsmen clashes, security and unemployment. The topic under discourse was duly addressed by various speakers and professionals both from the scientific and the socioeconomic point of view. There were different plenary and scientific sessions on the different days which served the purpose of a linkage between the Town and the Gown through interaction between practicing Veterinarians on the field and Research Veterinarians.
The sideline of the Opening Ceremony had the NVMA executives, Local Organizing Committee and stakeholders hosted to a dinner by the Executive Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje at the Government House.
On Thursday, the congress had products presentation where few companies presented their products and services, some of which were indeed innovative for the veterinary profession in Nigeria. Such products included ‘’Vspotter’’; an online animal healthcare service scheduling and delivery platform and ‘’Propcom Mai karfi’’; an animal health based non-governmental organization directly strengthening and empowering the rural population . The Veterinary pharmaceutical development company of Nigeria was also available at the congress to present a maiden discovery in the management of cancer in human which involves a purified Cuban blue scorpion venom with the trade name vidatox. Furthermore, Olam Group a new multinational company in Nigeria, publicized their numerous contributions to the veterinary profession including the provision of 2 years internship opportunities for young and freshly graduated veterinarians. As is being quoted that all work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy, the congress had a guided tour of the ancient city of kano with visits to key monument facilities and tourist centers in the city.
Subsequently, the Annual General Meeting was conducted and reports were presented by the NVMA executives and affiliate associations. In his report, the NVMA President, Dr. Godwin Abonyi expressed gratitude for the support he has received so far from the members of the association and gave a detailed recount of the progress made in his tenure so far. He notably mentioned that several bills have been sponsored to the National Assembly such as the Veterinary Surgeon’s Act bill and the Veterinary Teaching Hospitals Bill which is currently awaiting its second reading in the National Assembly.
The congress deliberated on the financial obligation of all members of the NVMA discussing a potential increase. It was also noted that the Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN) collects the dues on behalf of the NVMA in such a way that the dues will be paid altogether with the Veterinarias’ annual retention fee.
The President of the Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN), Prof. Garba Hamidu Sharubutu expressed the commitment of the Veterinary Council of Nigeria towards the growth and continued relevance of the Veterinary profession in Nigeria. Among other things, he spoke about their efforts in reshaping the gory states of the Nigerian abattoir system, sponsoring different bills in favor of the profession and having different veterinary representatives across the 36 states of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the African representative of the World Veterinary Association (WVA) was also an active participant at the congress where he emphasized the need for increased relevance and representation of veterinarians in Nigeria at the international community. He noted their efforts to combat emerging and reemerging zoonosis and supports grants that have been made available for junior researchers to the tune of $5000 amongst many other things. The Commonwealth Veterinary Association councilor for Nigeria also informed the body that there are enough educational materials that are available for individuals and institution for free and all that is required is to signify interest and request can be made at the national secretariat.
Conclusively, as the Kano 2017 congress closed, it was necessary to select another state that would host the next annual congress in 2018. Two states of the federation, Lagos and Sokoto contested for the hosting rights, with Sokoto emerging the winner with 321 votes as against Lagos’ 125 votes.