The Federal Government has said over 3.5 million birds, in no fewer than 27 states, to include the Federal Capital Territory are currently infected by Avian influenza, popularly known as bird flu in the country.
The minister of agriculture and rural development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said the latest development have prompted neighbouring countries to propose a ban on poultry products to prevent the entry of the disease into their respective countries.
Ogbeh, disclosed this in Abuja for Tuesday at a consultative meeting with commissioners for agriculture/livestock, states directors of veterinary services and major stakeholders in the poultry industry.
“Recently, a new strain of the bird flu virus (H5N8) was reported in Kano. The new strain is believed to be very pathogenic and more devastating to poultry species and, therefore, it may further add to the burden of the H5N1 strain that is currently circulating in the country.
“The disease is transboundary in nature and also trade-limiting; some of our neighbouring countries have proposed to ban poultry and poultry products from Nigeria. This may undesirably lead to an egg glut in the country,” he said.
He recalled that “The disease which was first reported in 2006 and spanned to 2008 was controlled and eradicated through concerted efforts facilitated by the availability of resources through a world Bank sponsored project and the support of other development partners.
“Almost a decade later in December 2014, the disease re-occured in a commercial poultry farm and a live bird market (LBM) in Kano and Lagos States respectively.
Ogbeh lamented that there were already huge and unacceptable losses in the poultry industry and the nation as a whole.
He, therefore urged the agriculture commissioners of the various states to retrace their steps in order to provide safe food for Nigerians as well as ensure national self-sufficiency in food production.