Poultry farmers in Plateau and Bauchi states have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, for non payment of the agreed compensation to the affected farmers of bird flu of the said areas by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, calling on the Federal Government to as matter urgency come into their aid.
While pleading to Buhari and Ogbe, the farmers expressed confidence that the president administration being the government of change would get them out of their plight.
The petition which was signed by Godfrey Opara, on behalf of victims and made available to Journalists in Jos, explained that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture had in January this year agreed to compensate poultry farmers whom their birds were de-populated (killed) by the ministry’s directive having confirmed the infection (Avian influenza) in the birds at the National Veterinary Research Institute VOM in Jos.
Opara further narrated that the agreement entered between the ministry in conjunction with World Bank and poultry farmer was whoever his or her bird was avian influenza infected would be killed, and the ministry would pay N1450 per egg laying bird, adding that the ministry had promised since January to settle the farmers but yet to do that.
He said all the birds of the affected farmers were killed since then and lots of people were not compensated as earlier agreed.
Part of the petition reads, “even though after lots of complaints and protests by the affected victims regarding the issue , the ministry started paying the money with some received N1450 per bird while some N650, and some received N520 per bird without any explanation as to why some were paid less than the initial agreement with the ministry.”
He however revealed that out of the 167 affected victims in Plateau and Bauchi, only 104 people were paid so far, noting that about 63 people have not been paid. He explained that sometime in march this year, some farmers were compensated on the agreed amount of N1450 but some were subsequently paid arbitrarily by cutting down the amount to N650, and some even N520.
According to Abdulfata Ganiu, who is among the affected victims and hails from Bauchi told Journalists in Jos that about what he and other victims had been going through since January. He said, “all our bird were killed by the government and have been put out of business because we have not been compensated. We have invested all our money in the business and that is why we have lost focus.”
Another victim, Rabiu Usman, while expressing their plight on the matter said, “we are left in a difficult situation. Our families are experiencing lots of hardship where children school fees have become a problem to us because we are out of business. This is the only means of our livelihood. We are pleading President Buhari and minister of Agriculture to help us get our money so as to restart another business .Our hope lies completely on this government.”
When contacted for comment the Director Epidemiology Division of the department of Veterinary Control Service, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, as to why some affected farmers have not been compensated, he admitted that , ” yes, some farmers have not been paid because we don’t sufficient funds in the ministry and the payment depends on the availability of funds.”
But the farmers believed that the money should be available since the ministry had agreed to compensate them within a short period of time and that some affected farmers have already been paid while some yet to be paid, adding that they have been visiting the ministry in Abuja on different occasion but yielded no positive result.