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FG allays fear as bird flu spreads to more states



Unfolds compensation plan for affected farms

THE Federal Government Wednesday announced that the outbreak of Avian Influenza also known as bird flu has spread to 11 states of Lagos, Kano, Edo, Plateau, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Ogun, Rivers, Delta and Oyo. 

  According to the government, a total of 232,385 birds have been exposed with a mortality rate of 51,444 recorded. “The worst hit state is Kano as a total of 136,905 birds have been exposed to the infection with a mortality rate of 17,987 representing 13 percent. The cases were found in Gwale, Kunbotso, Tofa, Gaya and Ungogo local governments.”

  To this effect, the government said with the increasing number of states and birds exposed as well as the level of mortality, it has become necessary to trigger additional emergency measures to rapidly contain the spread of the virus.

Initially the government had reported the case in two states of Lagos and Kano.

  The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, who announced this yesterday in Abuja during an Emergency Meeting on Avian Influenza with all Commissioners of Agriculture said the emergency measures would include intensified surveillance, depopulation, quarantine and decontamination of the infected farms and live birds markets.

   Assuring the public that there is no cause for alarm as poultry products are still safe for consumption, he said: “I wish to assure Nigerians that Nigeria will successfully control the bird flu outbreak. We have successfully controlled it in the past. I have directed the immediate trigger of all the protocols under the Emergency Response Plan for the Avian Influenza used during the last outbreak in 2006.”

  Also, the minister directed immediate compensation to all affected farms who have lost their birds to be carried out within 72 hours. He said a compensation of N145,145million would be paid to 39 affected farms across nine states at the rate of N1450 per bird. The states are Kano, Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, Delta, Edo, Plateau, Gombe, Imo, Oyo and Jigawa.

   He said the compensation would cover the farms where birds have been depopulated, saying about 110,000 have been depopulated, in which there has been a total exposure of 144,539 birds. Adesina added that before the commencement of the depopulation, a total of 44,489 birds had suffered mortality.

   He said the compensation was born out of the need to ensure timely reporting of outbreak by poultry farmers and to ensure poultry farms that were depopulated as a result of the outbreak do not go down in business.

  Adesina disclosed that the poultry industry contribute N700billion to the national economy, he said the ministry would do all its best to protect the industry. “we are on top of the situation and we would ensure there is no crisis”

  Nothing that although bird flu is a poultry disease that could affect humans if not properly handled within poultry populations, Adesina disclosed that the ministry was taking all measures necessary to ensure public safety and that the poultry industry is not significantly affected by the spread of the bird flu.

   He disclosed that the ministry was providing logistics for the distribution decontaminants, disinfectants across all poultry farms, directing that the department of quarantine service both at the federal and state levels be activated to contain movement of poultry across states.

   Noting that wild birds without commercial value are usually the carrier of the virus, the minister stated that the ministry would ensure containment of movement of such birds. “We want to have a restriction within the affected states of least 3km so we have a total quarantine zone.”

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