15 June 2017

Nigeria: Flu Kills 13,000 Birds As Kano Farmers Lament Unpaid Compensation By Government

Kano — The Kano State Ministry of Agriculture yesterday confirmed that the avian flu influenza, otherwise known as bird flu had killed no fewer than 13,000 birds in nine farms across the state.

The Federal Government had raised the alarm of possible outbreak of the disease in seven states of Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Bauchi, Nassarawa, Plauteau and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

Besides, the fresh outbreak of bird flu in Kano came amidst farmers' agitation against unpaid compensation, which has accumulated for two years.

Director of Veterinary Services in the ministry, Shehu Bawa who disclosed the development told The Guardian that the number of fresh casualties only accounted for cases officially reported and documented at the ministry.

Shehu, who said the affected farms had since been depopulated to check further spread, insisted that the increase in the number of affected birds was due to the late notice it received from the farmers.

He pointed out that the state government in collaboration with the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) has begun a surveillance of farms and market places to decontaminate suspected cases of the disease.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Poultry Farmers Association (PFA), Umar Kibiya Umar lamented the failure of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to settle a backlog of compensation to farmers who had lost millions of birds to earlier outbreak of the scourge.

Umar said poultry farmers had suffered huge losses to the deadly disease without intervention from government in recent times.

His words: "The last time we received compensation in Kano was in 2015 and that was made in part payment and no money was paid in 2016, let alone the recent cases. In 2015 and 2016, 136 farms were affected in which over 1 million birds were lost.

"To set the records straight, the Federal Government paid N330m as part payment in 2015, leaving N437m to balance our members for the two years.

He said the Soviet International and Anadariya farms, among others, were badly affected two years ago.

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