The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has called on the Federal Government to embark on a nationwide vaccination of livestock against anthrax.
Baba Othman-Ngelzarma, MACBAN National President, made the call in a statement, on Thursday in Abuja.
According to him, the outbreak of anthrax was reported in Niger and Lagos states in close succession.
“The outbreak even though reported in only two states, doesn’t mean it cannot spread to other states.
“Anthrax being a zoonotic disease and a national security matter due to it nature of spread and mortality must be treated with all the urgency it deserves.
“Therefore, the best solution in dealing with the problem, is to embark on a nation-wide vaccination exercise,” Othman-Ngelzarma said.
He said that Nigeria has more than 20 million cattle and 75 million sheep and goats, with various influx of other animals either for trade or transit from Chad, Niger, Ghana, Cameroon and Benin.
He commended the Federal government for the early detection of the anthrax outbreak.
But, he noted that the few risk-based vaccination exercise conducted by government in the affected areas does not amount to 2 pet cent of the livestock population in the country.
“Our members have lost over three million heads of cattle in the ensuing insurgency, banditry and cattle rustling across the states, we are not prepared to incur more.
“We, therefore, appeal to the Federal Government to take stringent measures to curtail the outbreak of not only anthrax but other livestock diseases like foot and mouth disease that has serious impact on the economic livelihood of our members.
“The fact that livestock constitutes about 37 per cent of the GDP in Agriculture and which also is a multi-trillion-naira business and a source of employment and creates high-quality jobs in its value chain, should not be allowed to suffer unnecessary shocks.”
He also applauded the Federal Government in its bid to reform the livestock production system by accepting the recommendations of the Ganduje Committee report which seeks to mitigate conflict between farmers and herders.
“We want to assure the Federal Government that we will be partners in progress in not only minimising the farmer/herder conflicts but in taking livestock production to it most desired place under the new administration.
“The association also commended the Yobe government for the procurement of anthrax vaccines and other vaccines and the vaccination of all livestock in the state.
“We appeal to other state governments to copy Yobe and do the needful to protect their livestock assets.”