The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with Animal Health Department of the FCT Agriculture Secretariat, has commenced a series of sensitization meetings in the FCT Area Councils to educate poultry farmers and sellers on bio-security measures for the containment and control of Bird flu in the Territory in view of the recent outbreak of the disease in three farms in the FCT.
Addressing poultry farmers and sellers at Kuje and Gwagwalada Area Councils respectively on Friday, 15th January, 2016, the Chief Veterinary Officer of the Federation and Director, Veterinary Services Department, FMARD, Dr.(Mrs.) Egejuru Eze, stated the need for bio- security measures to be taken by the farmers to prevent further spread of the disease.
Dr.Eze warned the farmers of the dangers of concealing information on the health status of their poultry farms so as to save the poultry industry from total ruin. She advised the farmers to adhere strictly to the bio-security measures as contained in the Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials distributed to them.
The CVO of the Federation encouraged the farmers to register their farms with government veterinary Department and Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), stating that the Director, Veterinary Services had been empowered to seal any poultry farm that was not registered.
In her remarks, the Head of Animal Health Services, FCTA, Dr. Regina Adulugba, sympathized with the affected farmers in the FCT and solicited for their cooperation, saying the poultry industry must not be allowed to die. According to her, “For medical doctors to be able to fight Ebola, Veterinary doctors should be able to curtail and contain Bird Flu”.
In separate presentations made by Dr. Gidado Muhammad and Dr, Columba Teru Vakuru, both from the Veterinary Department, FMARD, poultry farmers were advised to take bio-security measures very seriously to prevent the disease from spreading further and affecting humans. They advised farmers on bio-security of containment and that of exclusion with a view to protecting their farms, while also highlighting on preventive measures which entails separating poultry from other animals, buying of live birds from reputable dealers and cleaning and disinfecting equipment regularly.
The poultry farmers were equally directed by the experts to report any suspected cases of Avian Influenza to the nearest government veterinary office, saying bio-security is the key to the prevention of the spread of bird flu. They informed the poultry farmers and sellers that it is against government position to vaccinate poultry against Avian imfluenza.
The climax of the sensitization meeting was the distribution of IEC materials and pictorials on bio-security measures to the poultry farmers and sellers.
The sensitization meeting at Kuje Area Council had in attendance the Vice-Chairman of the Council, Hon. Muhammed Baba, who represented the Chairman and the Head of Department (Agriculture), Dr. Ahmed Abdulahi, while that of Gwagwalada had Mr. Musa Doma, representing Director, Agricultural Development Project (ADP) , with the Chairman, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) FCT, Mr. Chima Wilson, present at the two meetings.