Abuja - Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue, has advised indigenes of the state to suspend eating of rat until the laser fever outbreak in the country is contained.
The governor told State House Press Corps on Monday in Abuja that the state had recorded one case of infection of the disease.
He added that though the incident was under control, the people should take preventive measures to contain the spread.
"Benue is affected; we have one case right now that is under control.
"We have advised our people; rat which is a major carrier of the virus, is a delicacy.
"I am finding it difficult but I have told them to suspend eating rats now until further notice," he said.
The governor said that his administration had placed agriculture atop its priority in the 2016 budget because the state had comparative advantage in agriculture.
He said that after working as Minister of Trade and Investment in the past administration, he foresaw that Nigeria would face some challenges in revenue generation.
Ortom said that when he declared for the governorship of the state, he decided to make promotion of agriculture a major campaign programme.
He said: "we are going to take on the entire value chain; we will look at seedling; we will look at the way we do our cropping, planting, harvesting, storage, processing and marketing.
"An average farmer is not making anything out of his produce for now.
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"If we go into getting the right seedling and doing the proper cropping, harvesting, storage and processing to add value, it will also boost the chances of farmers making more money and will encourage them to do more.’’
He promised that his administration would provide the basic infrastructure needed such as roads and storage facilities and also intended to embark on massive land clearing.
"If we must mechanise agriculture, there must be land clearing and 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," he said.
Ortom said that his administration would encourage farmers to embark on dry season farming "because from available records and research, dry season farming is more productive than rainy season farming."
The governor decried the high level of electoral violence in the country and called on the electorate to make the process of election easy and violence-free.
"It is really unfortunate; winning elections does not require people’s blood.
"It is unfortunate that you hear about violence and killings and destruction and all that, you don’t need that and people should take it from me."
He urged Nigerian politicians to learn from their counterparts in Ghana where preparations for electoral offices were done before the commencement of elections thereby eliminating violence.