Kazeem Ugbodaga

At least 3,000 chickens have been killed in Lagos in order to check the spread of the deadly bird flu disease, even as the Lagos State Government says it has been able to curtail and bring the disease to an end in the state.

In February, 2015, bird flu broke out in Lagos and 18 other states of the nation, creating panic about an epidemic, especially less than a year after the nation battled with the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, EVD.

Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, disclosed this on Monday at a ministerial news conference in Alausa, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.

He said the disease was first discovered at a market in Shomolu, with lots of birds dying in rapid succession, adding that investigation carried out in conjunction with the Federal Government revealed the presence of bird flu.

According to him, the disease spread from Shomolu to Badore in Ajah and later to a zoo and Ikorodu, saying that at the initial time, 2,000 birds were destroyed while another 1,000 birds were killed to avert spread of the disease.

He stated that as at now, there is no new case of bird flu in Lagos as the disease has been halted in the state.

The commissioner said those whose farms were affected and had their birds depopulated to check the spread of the disease, would be compensated in conjunction with the Federal Government.

On the Rural Finance Institution Building Programme, RUFIN, Lawal said since the inception of the programme, 1,847 rural families had been linked to financial institutions for credit facilities as well as capacity building.

He stated that RUFIN was established in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organisation, FAO to improve farmers’ access to formal credit, saying that the programme covered 12 states of the six geo-political zones of Nigeria, including Lagos.

Lawal disclosed that N159.6 million has been disbursed to 1,317 farming families in the three participating local governments-Badagry, Epe and Ikorodu, saying that loan under this scheme was available for small holder farmers, fishermen and agro-processors in livestock, crop production, fisheries, agro-processing and marketing value chains.

He disclosed that in Badagry, N39.23 million was disbursed by BOWEN Micro Finance Bank to 378 families, while in Ikorodu, N27.02 million was disbursed by LAPO Micro Finance Bank and in Epe, N93.34 million was disbursed.

On the Agriculture Youth Empowerment Scheme, AGRIC-YES, Lawal disclosed that 300 farmers had been empowered, adding that as at today, the products from the 300 empowered farmers include over two million eggs per year; 520,000 broilers per annum and 600 tons of fresh fish per year, amounting to N99 million, N30 million and N20 million estimated income respectively.