FULANI livestock body the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (Macban) has called for a nationwide vacation of all cows to curtail the outbreak of the highly contagious disease Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP).
Macban’s members have been accused of being responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Nigerians as heavily-armed Fulani herdsmen have ransacked villages in a violent orgy. President Buhari has come under fierce criticism for not clamping down on Macban amid claims that he is sympathetic to their cause being an ethnic Fulani himself who also owns cattle.
Earlier this year, President Buhari’s spokesman Mallam Garba Shehu said Macban is just a Fulani cultural association and it was right that the government should talk with them. However, other pan-cultural associations have refused to talk with Macban, saying it is no more than a trade association at best.
Now, living up to this role, Macban’s general secretary Othman Ngelzarma, said that following the outbreak of CBPP in Bauchi State and the Federal Capital Territory, the government needs to act. Mr Ngelzarma, who decried the devastating effect of the disease, said at least 2,000 cows had been killed by CBPP 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. This inflammation can lead to fluid accumulation in the chest cavity and destruction of lung tissue and the damaged lung areas are often hardened interfering with effective breathing and cause cattle to die from a 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 other neighbouring states.
Mr Ngelzarma said that in Bauchi State, almost all the local governments had been affected.
He decried the fact that pastoralists were silently losing their cows, day-in-day-out due to the epidemic.
“In the 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 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, while in Kwali about 20 died and in Kuje, we lost about 15, while in Bwali about 10 cows were also killed in a community called Tunape and some were also killed in Abaji,” Mr Ngelzarma said.