As other professional bodies globally, the institutes in the agriculture sector have never been chartered as a way of controlling content and professionalism to drive development and credibility in the sector to sustain and enhance life.
According to the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN, a professional is a person whose judgment is relied upon based on his education and training.
However, the individual must possess a certification issued by a recognised professional body or association and is currently working or wishing to work in Nigeria.
Being a professional body in the Federal Republic of Nigeria will serve as regulatory agencies in the profession and enables you to administer necessary disciplinary actions against erring members.
Also, it affords the professional association the power to set ethical standards and standard of professional conducts for members, including benchmarks and best practices for sanity in the profession.
However, if you are a chartered accountant, engineer, surveyor or any other professional, you will be regarded a professional before others in your field.
One sector that lacks professionalism, proper regulation, standards and discipline is the agriculture sector where there is no professional body of fellows to drive absolute standard.
In view of this, none of the numerous agriculture bodies, association, institutes and colleges have been chartered for members to become professionals in their fields.
Currently, the Fisheries Society of Nigeria, FISON, has a bill at the National Assembly to charter the Fisheries Institute of Nigeria, FIN, as a professional body to control and regulate activities in the sector.
The bill is reported to have passed its first, second and third reading at the House of Representatives and has been passed to the Senate for concurrence.
Against this backdrop, Olajide Ayinla, the National President, FISON, said that it was imperative to charter the institute as with other professions.
The national president, made the assertion while speaking at the society’s 15th Fellowship and Awards Ceremony in Lagos on May 11, to admit 23 fellows of its 2016 set of professionals from the institute.
The national president narrated that the bill was in its final stages and could be passed before the end of the year.
Mr Ayinla said: “The present Executive Council in collaboration with the Council of Fellows is working hard towards the charter of FIN; we understand that by doing this, there will be regulation of the activities of professionals in the body.
“For the society, the investiture of the 23 fellows only goes to show that we are positioned to move the industry but there is need for chartering the institute so that their expertise can be put to use for the good of Nigeria.
“Among the fellows are young erudite professors, consultants and accomplished achievers in all aspects of fisheries both nationally and internationally.
“The bill has passed the second and third reading at the National Assembly and has been passed to the Senate for concurrence; so, there is so much work ahead.’’
He upheld the new fellows and awardees to be available for the works ahead to move the society forward, especially after the charter of the FIN soon.
Mr Ayinla also said that the society was working on areas to make it sustainable as a professional body of international repute.
In the same vein, Adegoke Agbabiaka, Vice-President, Aquaculture arm of the society, during his presentation on “Progress on Charter’’, said that an end was near for the 15 years journey.
Mr Agbabiaka said: “Ghetto journey to charter FIN started 15 years ago but we are close to seeing the final passing of the bill in a few months’ time.
“The bill passed the third reading at the National Assembly and the paper has been passed the Senate and it has been read by the Rules and Regulations Committee.
“This will be a great feat for the society but we need more support from members to continue to push the bill, they should not give up,’’ he said.
The Chairman, Council of Fellows, Olujimi Faturoti, said the council of fellows was constitutional in the society.
Mr Faturoti said that the 23 fellows and awardees had been outstanding in their contributions to the sector which had earned them the awards of fellow.
“They are expected to take more responsibilities and play advisory roles to the society,’’ he said.
Among the 23 fellows and awardees were 12 academics, three researchers, six civil service members and private sector players.
Remi Ahmed, National President, Tilapia Aquaculture Developers Association of Nigeria, TADAN, who is one of the awardees as a private sector player, said the sector would record more achievements when the institute is chartered.
Mr Ahmed while speaking on the task ahead as a fellow of the society, pledged to his unreserved support to promote professionalism and regulations of fisheries activities.
Olufunmilola Olusanya, the immediate past Lagos State Director of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, expressed excitement for the recognition.
Mrs Olusanya said that it had been a long time coming for her works in the sector and to be recognised after her retirement made her elated.
“I must say this is my defining moment, I have served in different capacities in the fisheries sub-sector, putting over 30 years of service and to be awarded today is a dream come true.
“I am particularly happy because this means there is much more expected of me now to the society and Nigeria as a whole.
“I understand the task ahead and am ready to do my best,’’ she said.