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FEC unveils revised emergency response policy for bird flu

The Federal Government has unveiled a revised emergency response policy to tackle diseases associated with livestock, particularly bird flu....


The Federal Government has unveiled a revised emergency response policy to tackle diseases associated with livestock, particularly bird flu.


The decision which was taken at the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday, had cabinet members drawing experiences from avian influenza that hit the country in 2006 and how best to tackle emerging challenges in the livestock industry.


FEC after deliberation adopted a motion for the unveiling of a Comprehensive Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for the livestock industry.


Minister of Agriculture, Mohammed Abubakar while briefing State House Correspondents on what transpired at the meeting, recalled how the country lost over 1.2 million birds as a result of the bird flu which struck the country in 2006.


In his words: “The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development [today] presented a memo on the Revised Comprehensive Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Nigeria, (the Animal Component). This is a highly pathogenic viral infection that is so contagious and Zoonotic, meaning it can go from animals to humans and can cause death and can cause sickness. So the previous policy was put together by experts back in 2005, in order to contain, quickly, any kind of outbreak of bird flu. But the sector has grown so much with the additional importation of maybe new and exotic birds.”


Abubakar said over the years, the livestock industry has grown to a population of over 165 million birds, averaging N1.6trillion in revenue and 70 per cent of the rural dwellers dominating the industry.


“Therefore, the need to revise this policy and produce a new one that will conform with the current happenings in the industry. That is why this new policy is being put forward by the ministry and it’s the same, I mean, it’s called the Comprehensive Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan to contain any future occurrence,” he stated.


According to him: “The addition to this new policy, also, is the establishment of centres that will cater for issues of compensation to poultry farmers in the country. This is basically what the new policy is all about and has just been approved by the Federal Executive Council.”


The objective, he said “is to make sure we have a robust preparedness plan.”

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