The Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) says the livestock industry should be exempted from the current lockdown imposed by the government to halt the spread of coronavirus.
The NIAS President, Emeritus Professor Isreal Adu and the Registrar, Professor Eustace Iyayi, in Abuja said restriction will hamper the value of livestock.
They, therefore, urged that herdsmen/pastoralists should be allowed to graze their animals freely.
In a statement by the institute, it said: “We also call on the government to exempt operators in the livestock industry from the restriction in movement.
“The poultry industry for example with about 200 million birds and a total value of over N16 trillion cannot be allowed to collapse.
“Also related to it are the feed industry and hatcheries on which the poultry sub-sector depends. Personnel working in the livestock sector should, upon proper identification, be allowed movement across state borders and within the state,” it stated.
“The entire membership is awestruck with the way the coronavirus crept into the global community and the deadliness with which the COVID-19 pandemic has been ravaging the nations.
“We are particularly worried about the speed it has been spreading in our country Nigeria since the first index case was reported.
“We commend President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Government, the various state governments and other relevant agencies for the response and the mobilization of resources, both human and material to stem the tide so far,” the statement reads in part.
The institute said; “we have placed our members on standby nationwide to be called upon for voluntary services in time of need to save the livestock industry during a complete national lockdown and in states where these measures are currently being enforced.”