FG Supports South-South States With Over 1.8 Million Free Vaccines   

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Dr Mohammad Abubakar
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar.

In furtherance of the Federal Government’s commitment to curtailing the spread of transboundary diseases in Nigeria, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, has supported Edo State and other states in the south-south geopolitical zone with over 1.8 million free vaccines. 

The minister revealed this during the flag-off ceremony of the 2022 nationwide free mass vaccination campaign against transboundary animal diseases (TADs) in Benin, Edo State.  

He pointed out that TADs such as contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), foot and mouth disease (FMD), peste des petits ruminants (PPR) and Newcastle Disease (ND) are affecting the livestock population and to achieve the much-desired herd immunity for prevention, control and possibly eradication, they ought to be adequately vaccinated. 

The minister, who was represented by the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture ad Rural Development, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe stated that livestock production was a major means of livelihood in Nigeria and employed about 70 per cent of the nation’s population, providing food, security and a means of livelihood for majority of the nation’s rural population. 

He added that livestock supplies the much-needed protein for growth and mental development of children, spendable income and the provision of resources for the leather industry (for the production of belts, shoes among other things).

The minister revealed that the ministry has policies and national programmes for the control of these diseases, while it is the policy for routine vaccination for all diseases, it is our policy as a country not to vaccinate against highly pathogenic avian influenza, also known as ‘bird flu’. 

“Over the years, the policy of CBPP, FMD, PPR and ND control in Nigeria has been routine annual vaccination. However, vaccination coverage has been limited by inadequate resources but, going forward, we intend to scale up vaccination coverage as more resources become available,” he said.

He urged development partners and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to key into the initiative by supporting the states with more vaccines and the logistics needed to carry out the mass vaccination in the country. 

Abubakar stressed that the exercise should be considered a call to national service and for those involved to give it the best attention that it deserves, as Nigeria joins other nations of the world to control and eradicate these dreaded diseases of cattle, poultry, sheep and goat from her national herd.

Earlier in his welcome address, the acting governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu represented by the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Hon. Stephen Idenhere commended the effort of the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in controlling animal diseases across the nation.

“I call on all states within the south-south region to join hands in the battle as animal diseases’ control is a collective responsibility.

“This synergy would go a long way in enhancing livestock production in the zone and improving the socio-economic status of rural dwellers,” Shaibu added.

He revealed that the state government had keyed into the Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support (LPRES) project of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, ECOWAS- PACBAO all aimed at improving livestock production and curbing farmer-herder clashes.

Speaking further, he assured that the state was on the verge of resuscitating the Igarra- Ewan Cattle Ranch as well as establishing livestock production centres to promote responsible ruminant production in the state.

He, therefore, thanked the ministry for choosing the state as the flag-off state in the region. 

In his goodwill message, the permanent secretary of Cross River State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Jacobs Udida commended the Federal Government’s initiative toward the free mass vaccination campaign against transboundary animal diseases and for providing primary health centers which would go a long way in improving animal health.

In her remarks, the director, Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control and chief veterinary officer of Nigeria, Dr. Maimuna Habib said that the ministry would continue to support and collaborate with states to ensure the good health of livestock in Nigeria through the provision of vaccines, training, disinfectants and veterinary drugs as much as possible.

She stated that the ministry intended to do the same in three other geopolitical zones (southeast, southwest and north-central) of the country, having carried out a similar exercise in Jigawa and Gombe states, respectively.

A statement by the ministry’s director of information, signed by Eremah Anthonia, said Habib emphasised that the vaccines were procured through the intervention fund of the Federal Government for the control of transboundary animal diseases.  

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