• Mourns Nigeria’s first aviation minister, Amaechi
Federal Government, yesterday, unveiled a revised emergency response policy to tackle diseases associated with livestock, particularly bird flu.
The decision, which was taken at the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, had members relieving experiences from the avian influenza, which hit the country in 2006 and how best to tackle emerging challenges in the poultry industry.
FEC later adopted a motion for unveiling of a Comprehensive Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for the industry.
BEFORE commencement of the meeting, Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, notified the cabinet of the death of Nigeria’s first Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi.
The Council then observed a minute’s silence in honour of the late great Anambra son, who died on November 1,2022 at 92 years of age.
Minister of Agriculture, Mohammed Abubakar, who later briefed newsmen on outcome of the closed-door meeting, recalled how the country lost over 1.2 million birds to flu in 2006.
He observed that the livestock industry had grown to harbour over 165 million birds over the years, averaging N1.6 trillion in revenue, with 70 per cent of rural dwellers actively dominating the trade.
His words: “Today the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development presented a memo on the Revised Comprehensive Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Nigeria.”
“If you recall, bird flu has been something that we see and hear about in Asia, but of course, in 2006, Nigeria experienced the very first one and at the time, we lost about 1.2 million birds.
“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 sickness. So the previous policy was put together by experts back in 2005 to contain any kind of outbreak. But the sector has grown so much with additional importation of maybe new and exotic birds.
“Hence the need to revise this policy and produce a new one that will conform with current happenings in the industry.
“So, the objective here is to make sure we have a robust preparedness plan for any outbreak.
“The addition to this new policy 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 FEC.”