President Buhari appoints pioneer DG, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service

Ene Okwanihe,Abuja

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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Dr. Vincent Isegbe as the pioneer Director General of the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS).

The appointment takes effect from 13th December, 2018 and is for an initial period of five (5) years until this appointment; Dr. Vincent Isegbe was the Coordinating Director of NAQS.

Following the presidential assent to the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (Establishment) Bill, 2018 in January this year, NAQS, became a full-fledged agency of government.

As the pioneer DG of NAQS, Dr. Isegbe will be responsible for institutionalizing the administrative and management structures requisite for operationalizing the paramilitary status of the agency.

NAQS was established to promote and regulate sanitary and phytosanitary measures with respect to the export and import of plants, veterinary and aquatic resources.

The mandate of the Service is to ensure the conformance of Nigerian agricultural products to international standards –particularly, the requirements of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and the International Office of Epizootics –and to stimulate international trade in Nigerian agricultural products.

Dr. Isegebe is highly recommended for his expertise, exposure and experience in quarantine administration. He earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in 1985 and his Master’s degree at the University of Maiduguri in 1990. Over the years, he has also undergone several trainings and courses within Nigeria and overseas.

He began his career as a veterinary officer in the Federal Department of Livestock, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in 1989 and rose through the ranks to the position of Assistant Director before joining the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service as one of its pioneer staff in 2008.

Upon joining NAQS, Dr. Isegbe became the Head of Collaboration, Planning and Partnership division and subsequently, the Head of Animal Quarantine Department; a position which he held until he assumed the position of the Coordinating Director in 2015.

During his term as Coordinating Director, Dr. Isegbe launched Export Improvement Initiative, a backward integration intervention designed to increase the volume of export in customary Nigerian agricultural commodities and emerging commodities such as sesame, soya bean, cinnamon, pigeon pea, sugar cane, honey and snail.

As part of the Initiative, Nigeria exported 1,983 containers of hibiscus (zobo) flower to Mexico within the first nine (9) months of 2017 and earned US$35 million as a result. Under his leadership, NAQS recently finessed a deal that won Nigeria an export order for US$100 billion worth of pigeon pea from India.

He plans on expanding the frontiers of export market for Nigerian agricultural products and he has also demonstrated commitment to enhancing the contribution of NAQS to the diversification of the economy.

Ime N