The Benue State Government has directed its citizens to stop eating rats in the meantime in order to curtail the spread of Lassa Fever.
The state governor, Samuel Ortom, disclosed this to State House correspondents shortly after meeting Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Ortom said the decision was taken because the state had recorded a case of the fever.
Rat is a delicacy popular among the people of the state.
The governor said, “Benue is affected; we have one case (of Lassa Fever) right now that is under control.
“We have advised our people; rat which is a major carrier is a delicacy. I am finding it difficult, but I have told them to suspend eating rats until further notice.”
Ortom said he decided to mark agriculture a priority programme of his administration because he suspected early enough that a time would come when the nation would face revenue generation challenges.
“We are going to take on the entire value chain; we will look at the seedling, we will look at the way we do our cropping, planting, harvesting, storage, processing and marketing.
“An average farmer is not making any thing out of his produce for now.
“If we go into getting the right seedling and doing the proper cropping, harvesting, storage, processing and storage to add value it will also boost the chances of farmers making more money and it will encourage them to do more.
“And we have the capacity and so what we are doing is to ensure that we encourage the people.
He also said the administration would provide the basic infrastructure needed such as roads, storage facilities and intended to embark upon massive land clearing.
“If we must mechanised agriculture there must be land clearing and then provision of equipment for mechanised farming so that we can go commercial.
“This is what we are doing and I believe that this will yield results.”