Minna — The Pan-African Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign (PATTEC) in Nigeria has said that tsetse fly infest about 10 million kilometer square of fertile land spread across 35 countries of the African continent, noting that ironically most of the areas that are infested with tsetse fly are identified to be the most suitable areas for livestock and crop production.
Minister of Science and Technology Professor Ita Bassey Okon Ewa who stated this at a sensitization workshop and hands-on training for personnel of the National Park and Reserves on the eradication of the disease in the country in New Bussa, Niger State, said, "these areas, however, are today devoid of livestock and other agricultural productive activities due to the menace of tsetse vector and trypanosomiasis."
The minister who was represented by the Director of Physical and Life Science, Dr. Manasseh Gwoza, said that tsetse flies and trypanosomiasis have been a scourge to the African continent for several decades, adding that their negative impact on the political and socio-economic development of the country has been devastating.
He therefore, called for proposed budget of N10 billion for the total eradication of tsetse and trypanosomiasis from the North-Western and North-Eastern states of Nigeria within the period of three years, lamenting that the enormous expenditure on tsetse control efforts and medicaments for the treatment of trypanosomiasis is eroding the per capita income in Africa
Ewa then expressed optimism that one of the regional tsetse mass rearing centers being proposed by AU-PATTEC to be sited in Vom, Plateau State, will be of immense contribution to the activities of PATTEC-Nigeria in particular and AU-PATTEC in general.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Director General of the Nigeria Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research (NITR), Professor Mohammed Mamman, said successful eradication of tsetse flies would break the cycle of transmission and remove the risk of contacting African trypanosomiasis in livestock to human.