President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Vincent Isegbe as pioneer director general of the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS). Until his appointment, Isegbe held the designation of coordinating director at NAQS.
The appointment, as noted in a statement, took effect from December 13, 2018 and is for an initial period of five (5) years. NAQS was established to promote and regulate sanitary and phytosanitary measures with respect to the export and import of plants, veterinary and aquatic resources in Nigeria. 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.
During his term as Coordinating Director, Isegbe launched the 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, NAQS says Nigeria exported 1,983 containers of hibiscus (zobo) flower to Mexico within the first nine months of 2017, earning US$35 million. Under his leadership, the agency also says it recently inked a deal that won Nigeria an export order for US$100 billion worth of pigeon pea from India. NAQS was also ranked the 2nd most improved MDA in Nigeria in the 2018 ranking on efficiency in the Ease of Doing Business Report authored by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
Isegbe’s educational background includes his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Ahmadu Bello University in 1985, and a Master’s degree from the University of Maiduguri in 1990. Over the years, he has also undergone several trainings and courses within Nigeria and overseas.