The FCT Administration has inaugurated Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory as part of efforts geared towards delivering quality animal health care services and strengthening the capacity of the administration to respond swiftly to the prevention of emerging infectious diseases.
At the inaugural ceremony held in Nyanya, FCT Minister of state, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, noted that the livestock sub-sector provides enormous business and commercial opportunities that could help facilitate job creation and poverty reduction as well as the attainment of food security and improved livelihood for the citizenry.
She also lamented that the economic and social viability of the livestock sector was threatened by the increasing outbreak of animal diseases particularly those that are highly communicable and zoonotic by nature.
"Studies have shown that the majority of diseases that afflict animals are zoonotic, capable of causing not only huge fatalities in both animals and humans but economic losses as well.
"In Nigeria, we have witnessed notable zoonosis such as Anthrax, Monkeypox and Ebola. Other contagious diseases such as Rabies and Lassa fever, Avian Influenza, Rinderpest, Peste des Petits Ruminants amongst others".
The minister pledged that the FCT would leaving no stone unturned to ensure the sustenance of the sector through the implementation of innovative strategies to boost productivity and help enhance systemic capacity and preparedness to combat emerging and infectious animal diseases even before they occur.
She used the occasion to reveal that the administration has concluded plans towards establishing a special livestock industrial processing zone in the Paikon-Kore grazing reserve, aimed at boosting the livestock production and processing, while promoting peaceful, mutually-beneficial economic partnerships between herders and pastoralists, creating jobs, and enhancing food security.
The minister commended all those that have contributed to the success of the veterinary diagnostic laboratory, particularly the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, "on the milestone achievement of creating a vehicle for facilitating quick animal health care service delivery to the residents of the FCT, in line with the food security enhancement policy of the current administration".
On his part, the acting Secretary FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Mr. Prospect Ibe, also emphasised the importance of the project, stressing that the implementation of innovative programmes would help to reposition the agricultural sector towards increasing food production and improving the livelihood of FCT residents.