By Ese Awhotu
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has said that the Ministry is to construct a facility, to produce sterile male Tsetse flies, aimed at eventually eradicating their population.
Dr. Onu revealed this feat when he declared open the 35th International Scientific Council for Trypanosomiasis Research and Control (ISTRC) on Monday in Abuja.
Dr. Onu said that tsetse fly had posed very serious problems to livestock production as well as human health in Africa.
“its effective control has become absolutely necessary for us in Africa in order to attain self-sufficiency in livestock production as well as maintain human health”.
He affirmed the leadership role taken by Nigeria to eradicate the scourge of tsetse flies all over the continent. In his words, “Nigeria will indeed lead Africa in the fight against tsetse fly, we will work closely with African countries to reclaim our lands from these flies”.
“effectively controlling tsetse fly is a task that must be done, in view of the fact that Africa is made up of young people with an increasing population. Achieving this will help us feed ourselves, remain healthy, grow our economy and create jobs for our people”.
Dr. Onu expressed confidence on the outcome of the deliberations at the conference, to guide the adoption of scientifically based decisions and strategies, to control tsetse fly and trypanosomiasis.
He also called for synergy and coordinated effort by African nations to confront the menace, adding that tsetse fly and trypanosomiasis respect no borders.
He saluted African Governments for the establishment of the Pan African tsetse fly and Trypanosomiasis Control (PATTEC) initiative.
Earlier the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Mr. Bitrus Bako Nabasu, said the conference would aid with development of better strategies for improved resources, commitment and sustained political drive towards the control and eventual elimination of tsetse fly and Trypanosomiasis.
The representative of the AU commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Prof. Ahmed El-Sawalthy, said it was time to re-evaluate the achievements made to find lasting solutions to the challenges of tsetse fly eradication trypanosomiasis elimination.
He commended the efforts by the World Health Organization, to provide trypanosomiasis medication free of charge.
He added that “Successful application of Sterile Insect Technique on Zanzibar Island to eradicate the disease demonstrated the possibility of eradication.