By Ijendu Iheaka
Aba (Abia) Sept. 14, 2020 An official of the Ministry of Agriculture in Abia, Dr Queenlilia Nwokocha, says it has become necessary for the state government to deploy veterinary officers to the cattle control post at Lokpanta to checkmate the influx of infected animals to the state.
Nwokocha, a Director in the Veterinary Services Department of the ministry, said this on Monday in an interview with the Newsmen in Aba.
He said that veterinary officers should be deployed to the post to monitor the health of Abia-bound animals.
She said that the absence of veterinary officers at the post was the reason cattle with diseases, including the dreaded bovine tuberculosis, easily found their way into Abia.
She said: “We have been noticing the disease from time to time but it became prevalent recently because of the lack of proper veterinary supervision at the post.
“The post is meant to control diseases in animals, which could be dangerous to humans.
“But here in Abia, it is not so because our presence is not there.
“The veterinary doctors are not at the post, which has made our work more tedious because we try to do our best to checkmate cattle diseases at the slaughter.
“The cattle control post has been handed over to contractors so we do not have power over their activities.
“It is very expedient that veterinary officers should be there to ensure that only healthy animals entered the state.”
Nwokocha said the presence of veterinary doctors at the control post would reduce the clashes between ministry officials and butchers.
She said that clashes always erupted when veterinary officers banned the sale of diseased cattle at abattoirs.
She cited a recent case where a decomposing cattle brought into the state was proscribed at an abattoir and the butcher involved made trouble and got the officers arrested for condemning his cattle.
She said the post should not focus on impounding trucks conveying cattle “and collecting money”, but checkmating diseased animals meant for Abia.
“We are supposed to be there to check and treat animals that are sick.
“The ones that are not very sound can be quarantined and treated before moving them to the market,” she said.
Nwokocha recommended the issuance of movement permits for animals that were certified safe and healthy to be brought and sold in Abia.
She said that such rigorous processes were important to checkmate the current bovine tuberculosis and other zoonotic diseases that could affect man.
According to her, over 80 per cent of diseases affecting humans come from animals.
She thanked Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu for his support to the ministry to enable it to have access to the cattle control post.
She regretted that the ministry had just returned from the handling of Tropical Swine Flu in the state when the bovine tuberculosis emerged.
“Allowing veterinary doctors to do their job would ensure that Abia residents consume healthy meat,” she said