Anthrax: FCTA to Vaccinate 1 Million Cows in Abuja

By: Zakari Aliyu & Wisdom Acka

No fewer than one million cattle are targeted for immediate vaccinated in the nation’s capital.

This decision is to prevent spread of anthrax into the FCT from nearby Suleja, Niger state.

Acting Secretary, Agricultural and Rural Development Secretariat, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Ishaq Sadeeq, stated this during flagg-off of the vaccination exercise on Monday in Paikon Kore Grazing Reserve, Gwagwalada, Abuja.

Ishaq expressed gratitude to FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr. Olusade Adesola for promptly approving the purchase of one million doses of the vaccine for mass vaccination of cattle in the FCT; assuring it was the most effective prevention against spread of the disease.

He called on livestock owners to co-operate with veterinary health workers for the success of the exercise, which would be carried out simultaneously across the 62 wards of the Territory in the next four weeks.

According to him, the Administration had, since outbreak of the disease in Ghana earlier this year, carried out series of sensitisation campaigns about the disease to all residents, particularly livestock owners and butchers.

The campaigns, he noted, availed them the knowledge of symptoms of anthrax and effective measures they could adopt to protect themselves and animals from contracting and spreading the disease.

On her part, Director, Veterinary Services in the Secretariat, Dr. Regina Adulugba, said that anthrax was a “fatal disease” to both animal and humans; adding that it was also an airborne disease that could be contracted through open wounds and consumption of infected animals.

Adulugba explained: “The best protection against the disease is vaccinating the animals and that is what we are here to do. It is deadly because it is zoonotic, meaning it can affect human and it can affect animals. So, it is dangerous, and it spreads by too many means.

“If you have a wounded skin, it can affect the wound and then infect the person, or it can spread even through the air, or it can spread from consumption of meat”, she said.

The Director, therefore, advised against slaughtering of any sick animal for consumption or sale; insisting that such sick animals should rather be allowed to die and tests carried out on it to determine if it is positive or otherwise.

On his part, Chairman, Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), FCT Chapter, Yahaya Isa, commended the FCTA for the proactive step; adding that the move would also save their investments and human lives.

“The entire Fulani herders’ community are happy and are fully prepared to comply with arrangement. Our people are ready to cooperate with the officials everywhere,” he reiterated.

“We have even mobilised in each Area Council some group of youths to back them up wherever they are going”, he said.