By Stanley Onyekwere
As part of measures to ensure food security, the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS) of the FCT Administration, yesterday restocked the Lower Usuman Dam with about 50,000 assorted fingerlings of 11 different species of fish.
Speaking during the flag-off ceremony, the ARDS Acting Secretary, Mr. Ibe Chukwuemeka said the exercise was in line with the FCT Administration’s commitment to food security and poverty reduction at rural and urban areas.
Ibe noted that the lake restocking which is an annual event stemmed from the maiden edition that was launched in 1999 as another means of bridging the poverty gap in rural areas.
He adds: “Our restocking exercise is going to afford the fisheries sub-sector the opportunity to contribute to the aggregate food security and poverty alleviation programme at the topmost of our development agenda”.
He explained that the issue of fisheries currently dominated the agriculture development programme of the secretariat objectives.
“This is due to the fact that the residents of FCT are more than ever before, relying on the protein of fish origin as a source of their protein intake.
“With this initiative, we will fill the gap between fish demand and supply that, the Federal Government has taken steps to place fisheries and aquaculture into the second National Fadama Development programme implemented in all the FCT Area Councils”, he stressed.
The ARDS boss therefore asked the fisher men at lower Usman dam, Ushafa to observe the season till the next 6 months to allow the new fish to mature and start breeding.
According to him, the fishermen are to move to other river body or dams in the territory pending when the new ones in the dam are fully matured.
He also enjoined them to make the best use of the gesture from the FCT Administration, in order improve on their well-being.
In her remarks, the Director Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mrs. Ifeoma Okeke said the campaign which is the 6th in the series since 1999, stressed that the programme will continue to receive priority attention from the Secretariat.
She reiterated that the government was carrying out the exercise to assist the fisher folks and not for financial gain.
On his part, the Esu Bwari, His Royal Highness, Ibrahim Yero assured the FCT Administration of mobilizing the residents especially the fishermen to adhere to the rules and regulations of the dam as well as its security.