Locusts, birds from Niger Republic may attack farms in Nigeria —Ogbeh •Says food scarcity imminent if attacks go unchecked

Audu Ogbe

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, on Monday, said locusts and quelea birds from Niger Republic are massing up and may likely attack farms in Nigeria.

The minister said the locusts and quelea birds could ravage farms in hours or days if not controlled.

Chief Ogbeh made this known when the received the Commissioners of Agriculture of states in Nigeria to find possible solutions to the scourge.

He said if the quelea birds and locusts were not controlled, their attacks on farms could lead to food scarcity across the country.

Addressing the commissioners, Ogbeh said “there is warning that we have received that locusts and quelea birds are massing up in Niger Republic from where they normally attack us in Nigeria.

“We know how dangerous quelea birds can be and locust, if they arrive; within hours and days, they would have wiped out everything farmers might have put on the field.”

The minister also harped on the need to take steps to contain the recurring attacks of army worms in maize, which have been ravaging farms.

Chief Ogbeh also said efforts should be put in place to ensure that bird flu was put under control through the stop of interstate movement of affected birds.

He said that urgent steps would be taken by the government and the government of Niger Republic to ensure that they quelea birds and locusts were contained before it spread to farms across the country.

Some commissioners of agriculture from the Northern part of the country confirmed that the locusts and quelea birds have started their attacks in some local governments in their states.

Commissioners of Agriculture for Zamfara, Mr Lawal Jangebe and that of Jigawa State said quelea birds and locusts have started their attacks in the state, affecting seven local governments in Zamfara.

In Sokoto State, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Shaiubu Bankanu, said locusts have  attacked two local governments in the state, while quelea birds have ravaged seven local governments as farmers abandoned their rice farms.

The Commissioner for Agriculture in Abia State, Uzo Azubuike, said the quelea birds have longed attacked the state alongside army worms.

According to him, the cases had been reported to the ministry long ago.

States affected include Jigawa, Gombe, Bauchi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, Katsina Taraba and Kano.