Ebonyi state improves agric and health sectors

Timothy Choji, Abuja

Nigeria’s South-eastern state of Ebonyi is to begin the mass production of cassava, yam and maize to boost the economy of the state, as states in the country diversify their economy.

The state Governor, David Umahi disclosed this in an interview with State House Correspondents, after paying a visit to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

“We have always been known for ‘Abakaliki Rice’ so we are using certain technologies, methods and programmes to increase our output. Besides that, having gotten to a stage in rice production, we will also go into mass production of cassava, maize and yam. We are going to intensify efforts in the production of these four crops in the next two to three years after which we can go into other areas of agric business,” Governor Umahi explained.

Diversification

Governor Umahi said the decision to look at other crops, was in line with President Buhari’s advice to embrace agriculture as a tool for economic diversification.

Lassa Fever

He said the state government recently acquired dialysis machines and modern ambulances for use in its three Senatorial Districts, to help address any case of Lassa fever across and beyond the state.

“We purchased four dialysis machines and the same number of ambulances and we are sending one to each of the three senatorial districts. The essence is to use them in designated centres in those districts, so that anybody that is suspected of Lassa fever shouldn’t just go to any Primary Health Centre or any hospital but should go to those designated centres and such a one would be quarantined before he/she is airlifted to bigger centres. These are the measures we have adopted and the designated clinics will become functional in the next two weeks,” he said.

Governor Umahi also said the state government had since established a well equipped laboratory that will help in addressing cases of Lassa fever in the state.

“I’m not sure the government we succeeded in Ebonyi state did much to fight Lassa fever since the first case was discovered in the state in 2005. So after a meeting with our medical team in the state, we decided to build a modern lab because at that time, we had to take samples for any suspected case to Edo state, an exercise that used to take not less than five days while the incubation period for the disease is six days. We then decided to establish our own laboratory and equip it to salvage the situation,” the Governor said.

Mr Umahi said the laboratory would serve other states neighbouring Ebonyi because it is the only state in the South-East zone with such a facility.

Nnenna.O