The federal government has earmarked N145 million for immediate compensation of farmers who lost their birds in the outbreak of Avian Influenza.

This is just as the government announced that the outbreak of Avian Influenza, also known as bird flu, has spread to 11 states of the federation. The states are: Lagos, Kano, Edo, Plateau, Gombe, Imo and Jigawa, Ogun, Rivers, Delta and Oyo.

The minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, disclosed these yesterday in Abuja, during an emergency meeting with state commissioners on the control of the virus.To this end, the minister directed that compensation to all affected farms to be effected within 72 hours.

Adesina said the compensation would be paid to all 39 affected farms across nine states at the rate of N1, 450 per bird. The states are Kano, Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, Delta, Edo, Plateau, Gombe, Imo, Oyo and Jigawa state

According the minister, 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 per cent. The cases were found in Gwale, Kunbotso, Tofa, Gaya and Ungogo local governments.”

The minister noted that with the increasing number of affected states, birds exposed and the level of mortality, it has become necessary to trigger additional emergency measures to rapidly contain the spread of the virus. He however called for an intensified surveillance, depopulation, quarantine and decontamination of the infected farms and live birds markets.

While assuring the public that the country was not facing an epidemic, Adesina said  poultry product were still safe for consumption.

“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 Avian Influenza used during the last outbreak in 2006,” he stated.

He added that government would provide logistics for the distribution decontaminants, disinfectants, across all poultry farms, as he directed that the department of quarantine service both at the federal and state levels be activated to contain movement of poultry across states.  “We want to have a restriction within the affected states of at least 3km, so we have a total quarantine zone,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the government has created a centralised information system, with which all information from the states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are coordinated and reported to the federal department of veterinary service on a daily basis.

The minister directed state directors of veterinary service to provide daily report to the federal director of veterinary service, as the situation unfolds in their states.

“In the modern age that we are in today, we must be able to quickly diagnose and predict the probability of any influenza, so we would work to establish a regional diagnostic centre that can predict based on the migration of birds, infection and the progression of the disease especially during dry season, when outbreak of avian influenza is usually recorded.”

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