By Cecilia Ijuo
The Federal Government has provided N13.9 billion for Pest, Migratory Birds and Zoonotic disease control programme in the country.
The government on Tuesday provided a breakdown of N13.9 billion Pest Control Fund recently announced by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono.
The Director, Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services in the ministry, Dr Alabi Olaniran, gave the breakdown, while speaking with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said the fund was approved not only to address pest control but for two other critical areas.
According to him, the fund was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on March 11, to address the control of migratory pests, control of animal and zoonotic or trans-boundary animal diseases and upgrade of abattoirs.
The minister had at the launch of the 2020 Dry Season Control of Trans-boundary or Migratory Pests on June 12 in Kebbi State, announced approval of the intervention fund.
Olaniran explained that, of the N13.9 billion announced by the minister, N2.8billion was for migratory pest control, N9.6 billion for control of animal and zoonotic diseases and N1.4billion for rehabilitation and upgrade of abattoirs.
He explained that the N2.8billion for control of migratory pests would be disbursed to 12 front line states of Kebbi, Sokoto, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Borno, Yobe, Taraba, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi and Zamfara.
He stressed that 12 Northern states were chosen because they were likely entry points for migratory pests from other countries.
He added that no state in the South was chosen because “we are bounded to the South by the sea or ocean, so nothing comes in from there.’’
Olaniran, however, explained that the N9.6 billion for control of animal and zoonotic diseases and N1.4billion for rehabilitation and upgrading of abattoirs would be for all states across the country.
“The N13.9 billion intervention fund was actually meant for intervention in three key areas, the control of migratory pests.
“The second area of intervention is the control of trans-boundary animal diseases, through vaccination and eradication of dog related human rabies.
“Because over the years we have been inundated with increasing number of animal diseases and some of these diseases are are zoonotic that can also affect human beings.
“And you know that Nigeria is endowed with very large livestock resources and presently diseases are affecting the production level of our animals.
“So, this is the first time really, that the government is providing intervention for the control of animal diseases,’’ he said.
He further said, “the other intervention is to upgrade abattoirs across the states. You will notice that most of the abattoirs in most states if you have taken your time to visit some of these abattoirs, they are in very deplorable states.
“We are trying to see if we can develop a model. The function is really for the state governments and local governments.
“We are just trying to see if we can build model standard abattoirs in the states so that the states can see and replicate.
“So that the meat that comes out of these abattoirs are really fit for human consumption.
“So those are the areas for this intervention. It is not only for pest control.’’
The director pointed out that, the essence of the intervention was to bridge the gap created by the annual budgetary appropriation, which he said would not be enough to address the three key areas.
He said the intervention, beyond tackling economic challenges, would tackle public health concerns, adding “some of the animal diseases are transmitted to human beings.
“Even the COVID-19 that we are dealing with, there is information that it might have originated from bats. So, we have so many of these zoonotic diseases around.’’
He assured that disbursement of funds for the project would commence as soon as they were made available by the Ministry of Finance.