Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has called for urgent interventions of governments through a nationwide vacation of cows to curtail the outbreak of Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP).
The General Secretary of MACBAN, Othman Ngelzarma, made the call while briefing journalists about the disease outbreak in Bauchi and FCT on Wednesday in Abuja.
Mr Ngelzarma, who decried the devastating effect of the disease, said at least 2,000 cows had been killed by CBPP within the states in less than two months.
CBPP is an infectious disease of cattle caused by the mycoplasma mycoides bacteria, which causes inflammation and enlargement of the lungs.
The inflammation can lead to fluid accumulation in the chest cavity and destruction of lung tissue. The damaged areas of lung are often hardened interfering with effective breathing and cause cattle to die from lack of oxygen.
It is spread through the inhalation of airborne droplets from coughing or sneezing animals.
Mr Ngelzarma, who allayed fear about the devastating effect of the disease, however, emphasised that failure of the government to ensure prompt intervention through vaccination would amount to its spread to neighbouring states of Nasarawa and others.
Mr Ngelzarma said in Bauchi, almost all the local governments had been affected with at least 2,000 cows dying from the disease in the region within two months as reported by the MACBAN chairman, Abubakar Shanu, in the state.
He decried that pastoralists were silently losing their cows, day in day out due to the epidemic.
“In FCT, about 200 cows were killed and the disease is fast spreading across those areas that are affected. Our fear is that if nothing is done fast, it will escalate to Nasarawa state and most of the neighbouring states.
“It is a disease that if not checked immediately in few years time more than half of cows belonging to MACBAN members will perish.
“Surprisingly when such epidemic occurs, you can hardly find the states or Federal Governments coming to the aid of the herders.
“All the area councils in FCT have been affected, particularly in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), there is a problem at the moment in Takushara community where some cows were lost.
“In Gwagwalada, we discovered that over 100 cows died of this disease. In Kwali about 20 died and in Kuje, we lost about 15, in Bwali about 10 cows were also killed in a community called Tunape and some were also killed in Abaji.
“The disease is affecting neighbouring communities gradually, so very soon you will hear the spread in Nasarawa and most neighbouring states if nothing is done by the Federal Government and state government.
“So, we call on the Federal and state governments to come up with vaccination plan to check the spread of this disease and to come up with palliatives for those families that have been affected by this diseases and other crises,” Ngelzarma said.
The general secretary described MACBAN members as still suffering a vicious cycle of poverty due to insurgency in the northeast.
He said factors causing poverty were cattle rustling, banditry and kidnapping among others and emphasised that till date there were no interventions from governments for the affected members.
According to him, in spite of these crises and epidemic, none of the association members that lost their means of livelihood have enjoyed any form of palliatives from government or serious vaccination to their cows.
“CBPP have been consistent for almost three years because in the last two years, Yobe lost about 5,000 cows to this disease and sometimes when it happens, you discover a family losing their entire cows.
“The pastoralists have been dealing with cows throughout their lives, they know what to do when such things happen traditionally and medically by contacting the veterinary doctors.
“But where it is so serious for them to curtail, they will just be sitting and watching their cows dying because if you look at the spread of the disease right now, the rate is high.”