77 Guidelines For Management of Sepsis In Children

17.02.20

By Bradley van Paridon


FOR many population, intervention, Control, and Outcomes (PICO) questions, the literature review failed to identify sufficient data to develop strong recommendations for children with septic shock or other sepsis-associated organ dysfunction.

An international panel of experts convened to develop evidence-based recommendations for clinicians caring for children with septic shock and other sepsis-associated organ dysfunction. The recommendations were published in Pediatric Critical CareMedicine. Despite some challenges stemming from relatively low-quality evidence surrounding most aspects of care, the panel believes these recommendations would provide a foundation for consistent care to improve outcomes and guide future research.

Sepsis is a leading cause of pediatric morbidity, mortality, and healthcare utilization. Approximately 1.2 million cases of childhood sepsis occur every year, of which more than 4% of hospitalized children require care in an intensive care unit.

Mortality related to sepsis ranges from 4% to 50%, depending on location of care, severity of illness, and individual risk factors. To address this, the Surviving Sepsis Campaign was formed in 2011, via a joint venture by the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, and the International Sepsis Forum. The first guidelines for sepsis were issued in 2011 and updated every 4 years subsequently; after the 2016 review, a decision was made to create a dedicated task-force panel for the management of guidelines for the care of sepsis in adults and children.

The panel was composed of 49 international experts representing 12 international organizations, along with 3 methodologists and 3 public members. The intended objective of this panel was the revision of sepsis guidelines for patients who were more than 37 weeks gestation at birth to those aged 18 years. The panel was divided into 6 subgroups covering recognition and management of infection, hemodynamics and resuscitation, ventilation, endocrine and metabolic therapies, adjunctive therapies, and research priorities.

Systematic reviews of population, intervention, control, and outcomes (PICO) questions were performed to identify the best available evidence and to statistically summarize the evidence; a total of 67 such questions were identified.

Next, the quality of evidence from each PICO question was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. Recommendations were then presented as strong or weak or as a best practice statement using an evidence-to-decision framework. For 13 questions in which evidence was not sufficient to give a recommendation but the panel felt that some guidance based on practice patterns was warranted, 10, “in our practice” statements were used.

A total of 77 recommendations for the management and resuscitation of children with septic shock and other sepsis-associated organ dysfunction were provided by the panel. Of these, six were noted as strong recommendations; one with a high quality of evidence. Of note, the panel highlighted nine pieces of guidance for best practices that were intended to be strong recommendations because the resultant benefit or harm was considered unequivocal, although the evidence could not be summarized or assessed using GRADE methodology. The remaining 62 statements were weak recommendations, as a result of a paucity of data. Further, 49 research priorities were identified.

The 77 guideline statements were summarized in 14 categories, eight of which did not contain any strong recommendations or best practice statements. These categories were: hemodynamic monitoring, vasoactive medications, corticosteroids, nutrition, blood products, plasma exchange including renal replacement and extracorporeal support, immunoglobulins, and prophylaxis.
The strong recommendations spanned several categories.

The first, regarding antimicrobial therapy and based on very low-quality evidence advised the initiation of antimicrobial therapy for children with septic shock as soon as possible, preferably within one hour of recognition.

In the category of source control, the panel strongly recommended the removal of intravascular access devices that have been confirmed to be the source of sepsis or septic shock after other vascular access has been established. However, they recommended evaluation of the causative pathogen and the risks/benefits of a surgical procedure and noted low-quality evidence support for this.

Regarding fluid therapy, two recommendations were made. Based on high-quality evidence from the FEAST trial, a strong recommendation was made against bolus fluid administration in patients who did not have hypotension and were being managed at institutions with no intensive care units because of the increased mortality risk compared with maintenance fluids only. On the strength of moderate-quality evidence, the panel also recommended against the use of starches in the acute resuscitation of children with septic shock or other sepsis-associated organ dysfunction. Although no studies have evaluated the use of starches in children, two large randomized clinical trials in adults demonstrated increased mortality risk, coagulopathy, and acute kidney injury in patients who received starches compared with other fluids.

For the topic of ventilation, a single strong recommendation based on low-quality evidence was made against the routine use of inhaled nitric oxide in all patients with sepsis-induced pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome. Inhaled nitric oxide therapy is primarily targeted to treating pulmonary arterial hypertension, which is not the pathophysiology of pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome. However, in children with documented pulmonary hypertension or severe right ventricular dysfunction, inhaled nitric oxide treatment may be considered.

Endocrine and metabolic recommendations contained one strong recommendation with moderate-quality evidence: the panel recommended against insulin therapy to maintain glucose target at or below 140 mg/dL. Instead, the panel reported they could not issue a recommendation, although they did reach a consensus that treatment should target blood glucose levels less than180 mg/dL. There was no consensus regarding the lower limit of the target range.

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All 9 best-practice recommendations were centered on antibiotic therapies.
The panel recommended implementing an institution-based protocol for the management of children with septic shock or other sepsis-associated organ dysfunction. Antimicrobial dosing strategies should be optimized based on published principles on pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics and with consideration of specific drug properties. The duration of antimicrobial therapy should be adjusted according to the site of infection, causative pathogen, response to treatment, and ability to achieve source control. Emergent source control intervention should be implemented as soon as possible after a diagnosis of an infection that is amenable to a source control procedure is made.
Further, the panel recommended obtaining blood cultures before initiating antimicrobial therapy, except in situations that would substantially delay antimicrobial administration. Antibiotic therapy should start with empiric broad-spectrum therapy with more than one antimicrobials to cover all likely pathogens. Once the microbe is identified and sensitivities are available, empiric antimicrobial therapy coverage should be narrowed. If no pathogen is identified, empiric therapy should be narrowed or stopped depending on clinical presentation, site of infection, host risk factors, and adequacy of clinical improvement, in consultation with infectious disease clinicians.
In addition, the guidelines highlighted that “[in] children with septic shock or sepsis-associated organ dysfunction who are receiving antimicrobials, we recommend daily assessment (eg, clinical, laboratory assessment) for de-escalation of antimicrobial therapy”
According to the investigators, “on review of these evidence-based analyses, it is clear that, for many PICO questions, the literature review failed to identify sufficient data to develop strong (or even weak in some instances) recommendations for critically ill children with septic shock or other sepsis-associated organ dysfunction.” The panel guidelines did, however, identify gaps that can inform future research, including 52 potential research questions: 29 were pathophysiology questions and 23 randomized control trials. This research can be used to develop future iterations of the guidelines and create a cycle in which growing bodies of evidence increase the number of strong recommendations.

Reference
Weiss SL, Peters MJ, Alhazzani W, et al. Surviving Sepsis Campaign international guidelines for the management of septic shock and sepsis-associated organ dysfunction in childrenPediatr Crit Care Med. 2020;21:e52-e106.

 

 

PDP Takes Over Bayelsa Amidst Violence

14.02.20

FOLLOWING the sacking of APC governor of Balyesa State last Thursday by the Supreme Court, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November 2019 governorship, Douye Diri, has been sworn in as the Governor of the State.

In its Thursday ruling, the Supreme Court directed the Independent National Electoral Commission to issue certificate of return to Diri immediately. It was issued Friday morning some hours before his swearing in ceremony.

The deputy governor-elect, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has also been sworn in.

CourtlyNews had reported last December that though INEC declared the governorship election of November 16 in Bayelsa conclusive, it was not yet settled as the former governor, Seriake Dickson, continued to insist that there was no such election in the state as declared by INEC.

“The reality in Bayelsa is that there was no election. It is an insult to the integrity of institutions and our people to refer to what happened on November 16 as an election,” Dickson said.

The November 16 election in Bayelsa was widely condemned for various irregularities. Election Petition Tribunal and Appeal Court upheld the results as announced by INEC. Their judgments were reversed last Thursday by the Supreme Court, leading to Diri’s swearing in.

After receiving certificate of return from INEC, his residence in Yenogoa, the state capital, was attacked by alleged supporters of APC. The state radio was also attacked by protesters of the Supreme Court judgment, said to be APC supporters.

The Peoples Democratic Party in a statement on Friday called on the Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Muhammad, to hold APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, accountable for the violence, alleging that the attacks were a response to his earlier threats by which he warned that no new governor would be sworn as a result of the Court ruling.

“Oshiomhole must be brought to book and stopped from the use of garrulity and clear misuse of language to cause a crisis in our country.

“He should, therefore, be pulled in immediately for prosecution for inciting violence and arson in the state,” said Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP national publicity secretary in a statement last Friday.

“The violence and arson being perpetuated in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state capital, on Friday, was in furtherance of the Oshiomole’s statement. It was a direct call for sedition and violent subversion of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the statutory authority of the Supreme Court and the mandate of the people of Bayelsa state,” the statement added.

Bayelsa State Police Command has announced a-three-day dusk-to-dawn curfew in the state.

An excited former President Goodluck Jonathan in his tweeter handle expressed confidence in the ability of the new governor to govern the state.

Jonathan said Diri had worked with him as a commissioner when he was governor of the state. “So I am without doubt that you will live up to the expectations of our people,” said Jonathan.

He called on the people of Bayelsa to be law-abiding, peaceful and embrace the transition in all sincerity, and work together towards a united and prosperous State.

 

 

 

 

No Gov Election In Bayelsa, Declares Dickson

02.12.19

THOUGH Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the governorship election of November 16 in Bayelsa conclusive, it is not yet settled as the incumbent governor, Seriake Dickson, has continued to insist that there was no such election in the state.

He told newsmen in Abuja last Monday that it was an insult for anyone to claim that there was election in Bayelsa State on November 16.

“The reality in Bayelsa is that there was no election. It is an insult to the integrity of institutions and our people to refer to what happened on November 16 as an election,” Dickson said.

The governor said that apart from the prepared election results by those he alleged were carefully selected before the actual election, the exercise was marred by violence. He said over 12 people were killed while about 93 people wounded and admitted to the hospitals with varying degrees of injuries.

“From hospitals’ records, we have for now account for 93 people, who were injured during the attack on the PDP supporters in Nembe and are currently receiving treatments in hospitals. At least 12 people died from that attack on the PDP supporters.”

He alleged that INEC moved materials to polling units and communities that were already deserted as a result of attacks on such communities.

“The story is the same in Southern Ijaw. Some SPOs have already approached us that they are ready to tell the story of how they were not allowed to do their jobs,” Dickson said.

He accused the military of unleashing violence on the people to aide rigging.

The November 16 election in Bayelsa was widely alleged to had been marred by violence and other irregularities.

 

 

 

 

Okowa thanks Deltans; restates confidence in the Judiciary

19.11.19

DELTA State Governor, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, has restated his confidence in the nation’s judiciary while commenting on the recent confirmation of his victory in the March 9 Governorship election.

Ogboru and his party, the All Progressives’ Congress (APC), had gone to the Court of Appeal challenging the decision of the Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which upheld the election of Okowa for a second term as governor of Delta State.

INEC had declared Okowa and PDP winners of the March 9 governorship election in Delta State, having obtained majority of the lawful votes cast in the election.

The appellants in 37 grounds of appeal filed by their counsel, Nicholson Ichekor, asked the Appeal Court to void the entire judgment of the tribunal on the grounds that the tribunal erred in law when it dismissed their petition for lack of merit.
The three-man panel led by Justice Suleiman Belgore, had in September dismissed Ogboru and APC’s petition against the re-election of Governor Okowa on grounds that the petitioners failed to prove the cases of irregularities and malpractices as claimed in their petition.

Governor Okowa in the recent statement said the petition was “needless,” as his re-election was incontrovertible.
In the appeal against the decision of the tribunal, Ogboru and APC argued that the lower court erred in law when it relied on the issue of over-voting instead of allocation of votes as canvassed in their petition to dismiss their petition.

The appellants in urging the court to nullify Okowa’s re-election, claimed that in some polling units, the total number of votes cast at the election exceeded the total number of voters who were accredited to vote. The appellants also claimed that there was non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act relative to accreditation of voters.

In response to the appeal, Okowa and the PDP urged the Appeal Court to dismiss Ogboru and APC’s appeal for being incompetent and unmeritorious.

In their brief of argument by Mr. Damien Dodo, SAN, and Mr Akinlolu Kehinde, SAN, for Okowa and PDP respectively, the respondents submitted that the appellants failed to prove their allegations of over-voting and non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

The respondents maintained that they had led cogent, credible and reliable evidence to show that they won the governorship election held in Delta on March 9.

They submitted that the appellants, on the other hand, failed to prove how their claims of over-voting and non-compliance affected the results of the election.

Adopting his brief of arguments, PDP’s counsel, Kehinde, faulted the claim of the appellants which they said was based on reports from the smart card reader.

“Regardless of the fact that the total number of accredited voters recorded on the smart card reader report is less than the total number of votes cast on the election day, the appellants have failed to prove their allegations of over-voting.

"The reliance of the appellants on the smart card reader report is fatal to their case and this Honourable Court is humbly urged to so hold and resolve this issue in favour of the 2nd respondent” Kehinde submitted.

Moreover, the lawyer argued that appellants’ case at the tribunal was one of over-voting and noncompliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act on accreditation.

PDP further claimed that appellants failed to prove their allegations of over-voting and noncompliance with the Electoral Act polling unit by polling unit.

“The appellants failed to prove that the allegations of over-voting and non-compliance with the Electoral Act substantially affected the result of the election”.

The appellants called a total of twenty (20) witnesses and tendered a total of 4, 523 documents in evidence during the trial, while the first respondent called seven witnesses and tendered 94 Exhibits. The 2nd respondent called three witnesses and tendered six Exhibits.

The 3rd respondent did not call any witness, but tendered two Exhibits.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Habeeb Abiru, the appellate Court upheld the judgment of the tribunal which dismissed Ogboru’s petition for lacking in merit.

Before its ruling on Friday November 15, 2019 in Abuja, the Court had earlier reserved a date for the judgment.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, on Friday in Asaba, the governor said the judgment was a confirmation of the popular mandate given to his party, the PDP, by the majority of Deltans. He thanked them for their continued support

The statement reads in part:
 “Let me congratulate Deltans and our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, for this great victory.
“This judgment is victory for democracy because, the Judiciary has always proven that they are just and always committed to the course of justice and equity.

“It is also a confirmation of the popular votes given to us by the majority of Deltans who voted in that election.
“Our administration will remain committed to the development of our dear state in spite of the litany of court distractions from a needless electoral dispute.

“Let us continue to pray for our dear state and our country because we believe that your prayers have continued to pave the way for our serial victories and achievements.

“Let us continue to have trust in the Lord, our God, to be with us in the time of our needs so that we will continue to remain peaceful and united as we strive to build a Stronger Delta of our dream,” Governor Okowa said in the statement.

 

 

 

Appeal Court reserves ruling on Delta governorship election

11.11.19

APPEAL Court sitting in Abuja on Monday reserved judgment in the appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Great Ogboru, against the second time election of Ifeanyi Okowa as Governor of Delta.

A five-member panel of the appellate court led by Justice Uzo Ndukwe-Anyanwu said it reserved judgment to a date which would be communicated to the parties.

Respondents in the appeal are Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Peoples Democratic Party and Independent National Electoral Commission (INE).

Ogboru and his party, APC, are challenging the decision of the Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which upheld the election of Okowa for a second term as governor of Delta State.

INEC had declared Okowa and PDP winners of the March 9 governorship election in Delta State, having obtained majority of the lawful votes cast in the election.

The appellants in 37 grounds of appeal filed by their counsel, Nicholson Ichekor, asked the Appeal Court to void the entire judgment of the tribunal on the grounds that the tribunal erred in law when it dismissed their petition for lack of merit.

The three-man panel led by Justice Suleiman Belgore, had in September dismissed Ogboru and APC’s petition against the re-election of Governor Okowa on grounds that the petitioners failed to prove the cases of irregularities and malpractices as claimed in their petition.

In the appeal against the decision of the tribunal, Ogboru and APC argued that the lower court erred in law when it relied on the issue of over-voting instead of allocation of votes as canvassed in their petition to dismiss their petition.

The appellants in urging the court to nullify Okowa’s election, claimed that in some polling units, the total number of votes cast at the election exceeded the total number of voters who were accredited to vote. The appellants also claimed that there was non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act relative to accreditation of voters.

In response to the appeal, Okowa and the PDP urged the Appeal Court to dismiss Ogboru and APC’s appeal for being incompetent and unmeritorious.

In their brief of argument by Mr. Damien Dodo, SAN, and Mr Akinlolu Kehinde, SAN, for Okowa and PDP respectively, the respondents submitted that the appellants failed to prove their allegations of over-voting and non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

The respondents claimed that they had led cogent, credible and reliable evidence to show that they won the governorship election held in Delta on March 9.

They submitted that the appellants, on the other hand, failed to prove how their claims of over-voting and non-compliance affected the results of the election.

Adopting his brief of arguments, PDP’s counsel, Kehinde, faulted the claim of the appellants which they said was based on reports from the smart card reader.

“Regardless of the fact that the total number of accredited voters recorded on the smart card reader report is less than the total number of votes cast on the election day, the appellants have failed to prove their allegations of over-voting.

“The reliance of the appellants on the smart card reader report is fatal to their case and this Honourable Court is humbly urged to so hold and resolve this issue in favour of the 2nd respondent” Kehinde submitted.

Moreover, the lawyer argued that appellants’ case at the tribunal was one of over-voting and noncompliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act on accreditation.

PDP further claimed that appellants failed to prove their allegations of over-voting and noncompliance with the Electoral Act polling unit by polling unit.

“The appellants failed to prove that the allegations of over-voting and non-compliance with the Electoral Act substantially affected the result of the election”.

The appellants called a total of twenty (20) witnesses and tendered a total of 4, 523 documents in evidence during the trial, while the 1st respondent called seven witnesses and tendered 94 Exhibits. The 2nd respondent called three witnesses and tendered six Exhibits.

The 3rd respondent did not call any witness, but tendered two Exhibits.

Ogboru has been consistent in contesting for Delta State Governorship election from different political platforms since 1999. He lost in each election, applied to the Election Petition Tribunals but also lost in each occasion.

 Source: NAN

 

 

BEDC To Carry Out Survey For Electricity Metres

09.10.19

THE Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), Tuesday, launched a new phase of Meter Asset Provider (MAP) in Delta State, promising to provide 200,000 prepaid meters for its customers in the State within in two years.

Executive Director, Mr. Abu Ejoor said BEDC’s partners would carry out survey to enable the company ascertain the actual number of metres to provide. The partners are: Inlaks Solution Limited, G-Unit Engineering Ltd and Turbo Energy Ltd.

“The whole essence of this briefing is to inform our customers that we are set to meet their prepaid meters need.

“And to further allay the fears of our customers and encourage them to enjoy electricity without tears.

“This is so, because the main objective of this scheme is to encourage the development of independent and competitive meter services in Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

“It also will help to eliminate billing practices that are not tuned with international best practices. “Thirdly, and most importantly, this scheme also helps to attract private sector investment for the provisions of metering services in NESI. It also closes the metering gap through the accelerated roll-out in NESI.” Ejoor noted that the scheme will also enhance revenue assurances.

He enjoined electricity consumers to attend to enumerators who would assess readiness of premises for metering.
“Our customers are required to complete the customer data and the survey forms, thereafter the MAP official will assess the customers’ premises readiness for metering.

“After a satisfactory verification to ascertain the right cables and wires are in place, a customer will then be advised on how to pay, which must be through the bank – the designated bank accounts.

He however noted that distribution companies would not perform any miracle if sufficient voltage is not transmitted for distribution.

“Our major challenges remain transmission problems, which has severally hampered our ability to receive power for onward sales to our customers across Delta North and Warri, as recorded 126 outages in the state in September alone. “The limitations of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and bottlenecks have been of a major worry for, especially in Asaba, Efurun, Afesere, and Oghara.”

 

 

 

Ngige Confirms emergence of Rival Group To ASUU07.10.19

THE Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has confirmed the emergence of a new union of university lecturers. He said the new union has applied for recognition and that “the Federal Government is studying” the application submitted by the new union.

He said the ministry will make a statement after studying the application.

There is the speculation that emergence of the new union is the making of federal government to curtail opposition from the established ASUU.

The splinter union, Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA) last Saturday announced its formation ostensibly to veer away from the dogmas of the established Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which many see as distorting academic calendar and frustrating students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria

Arising from their meeting last Saturday at Ile-Ife, lecturers from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; Ambrose Ali University; Federal University, Lokoja;  Kwara State University; and  Federal University, Oye-Ekiti; the new union said it was no longer comfortable with the approach of ASUU in handling issues affecting universities in the country.

According to the union’s national coordinator, , Dr Niyi Sumonu, the group’s first assignment was “a stable academic calendar” with a view to improving quality of education in the country.

“For standard of education to be very high, we need a stable academic calendar.  We need to be able to predict academic session.  We need to have innovation which is difficult without continuity.

In what seems an opposition to the traditional politicking of ASUU with the federal government over the years, the leader of the new government said there was the need to grapple with realities.

“We also need to be in tune with modern realities.  Our union will approach the matter of engagement with all stakeholders in an engaging manner to have a common ground for moving forward.”

Sumonu added that the new group was neither reactionary nor anti-government but emerged as a result of patriotic zeal among members to chat a better course for the nation’s universities.

“Our union is not anti-government, if government and by extension, administrators of universities are not doing well, we will let the world know and we will quickly knock them, provide alternative constructive criticism and take them to task where they are not doing well.

“We will not wait for them to make mistakes before we intervene. We have vision and will provide ahead what can be done to have better results. If that is done we are sure we will have a better way to move forward.

“Members believe we should have alternative ways of solving problems. Members have been contributing very well to the finance of the union. When we fulfill and do all that we need to do, financial constraints will be forgotten.

“We have been at this for over three years in Ife.  We have been waxing stronger and members from other universities have been experiencing what we experienced here, hence, the decision to come together to form a national union,” Sumonu explained.
National Publicity Secretary of the new union, Dr Nwoke Earnest, explained that members of the emerging group are no longer comfortable with ASUU’s ways of managing crises in the nation’s universities; adding: “we will redefine academic unionism in Nigeria and (the new union) is not ready to take issue with any (other) union.”

A Benin-based legal practitioner, Mr. Young Jacob-Okojie said there was nothing wrong in the emergence of another union in the nation’s universities. It’s about individual’s fundamental human rights. Just like we have NLC, TUC and the rest of them, 10 or more groups may emerge from the universities so long as they conform with extant laws. Even if it is obvious that they are formed to rival ASUU, it is lawful. I read that the union is net yet registered. I advise the members to apply to Corporate Affairs Commission for Registration,” Jacob-Okojie said.

Asked if it would still be registered if ASUU raises objection, the lawyer replied: “such objection may only be valid if CAC and other relevant institutions doubt the character and claims of the trustees as contained in the application for registration. Even if another union may suffer as a result of its (CONUA) emergence, good law encourages healthy competition. In life, we all strive to coexist.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poultry farming, season of mixed expectations

                        By Justice Okoh
WINTER is approaching; another freezing season. It is not a friendly season to poultry farmers except those who are quite experienced. Fear of a repeat of the terrific H5N1 influenza which invaded many farms in January 2015 is gripping many farmers across the country particularly in Edo and Delta states.

Going by reports in the past five years, winter has been a season of H5N1 Influenza Virus commonly referred to as 'Bird Flu' which affected 39 farms in 11 states in the country.
Within four days of its outbreak a total number of 232,385 birds were reportedly affected in 11 states while 51,444 of them were killed in seven states.

In January 2016, Mr. Kasim Obuseh, a popular poultry farmer in Benin, Edo state lost 423 turkeys out of a total number of 471 in his farm. He had earlier lost 29 during brooding.

In the same January 2016, Mr. Obuseh lost over 2000 laying hens to the outbreak of H5N1 Influenza.
Last year, he was so afraid of winter such that he decided to increase the frequency of antibiotic vaccination contrary to the advice of his veterinary doctor. The result was a stoppage of production by the birds which were at their peak of laying capacity.
It might seem an isolated case; not so really. Such cases were not reported as in the previous year. Mr. Obuseh told Courtly.ng.com that he knew of many cases in Benin and the experience was common in the months of January and February. It was exceptional in 2015 because of the numbers of the affected farms and birds killed.

“It's a recurrent problem. People heard of the case in 2015 because of the high number of affected farms. Winter period comes with mixed expectations to poultry farmers in the country,” Obuseh noted. “It is expected that we enjoy increased productivity because birds lay more during cool weather, but because of the attendant diseases, we are often afraid when the period approaches,” he said in Ika dialect of Igbo.

His birds did not die this year but he bore a similar loss. He disclosed that before he increased the frequency of medication early January this year, he was producing 135 crates from 4,715 hens per day, but the production gradually dropped to 102 crates per day within three days of the increased frequency of vaccination. The situation persisted for two months, but he incurred another loss as a result of panic measure.

“Before they returned to normal capacity, I had to sell about half the number ofl the birds as old layers,” he said, “and you know one thing about these old layer dealers: they price nonsense (low) if they perceive you are selling them out of distress.”

In April, he bought additional 1000 pullets, but he has to wait for about 19 weeks for them to begin to produce.

If he has to sell before next winter, the implication is that the birds may have produced for only four months by next January when they may produce at their maximum capacity. If he may have to sell them in December to avoid possible attack in January, he would be running at a huge loss. If he repeats overdose vaccination to prevent them from dying, they may never produce.

Asked what he would do, he expressed confusion but rather say: “I have been praying that it doesn't happen again. I want poultry farmers to join me in this prayer.”

However, he seems wiser now. Mr. Obuseh has insured his farm at high risk premium due to the high probability of loss in the business.

This is wisdom to which many other farmers are not exposed. Some of them who are exposed do not make sufficient returns to be able to pay high and regular insurance premium. 

Many farmers in Oyo State often act like Obuseh. They usually sell majority of their layers in December and do not restock until April of the following year fearing there might be another attack within the first three months of the year.

In December last year, while some of the farmers rushed to near-by eateries to dispose healthy birds at give-away prices in anticipation of total loss in the event of contraction of the dreaded disease, some others resorted to setting fire around surroundings to increase the temperature of the environment.

When it happened in 2015, a total amount of N145,145 million was approved by the federal government for payment to 39 affected farmers across the 11 states. They included Kano, Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, Delta, Edo, Plateau, Gombe, Imo, Oyo and Jigawa States.

After the first major outbreak the affected farms were destroyed, while health officials took over the management of sale points at various markets particularly in Delta State to quarantine affected birds and areas.

It is not known if the destroyed birds were among the 51,444 ones said to have been killed by the disease.
Some farmers continue to lose as farms are affected by yet unknown cases. Some of them are not exposed as to know how to mitigate losses.

For instance, Mrs. Martina Iwelumor in Achala-Igbuzor near Asaba told courtly.ng.com that she lost 280 laying birds in March this year but couldn't report to anyone because when it happened earlier she did not benefit from government support.
“We only heard that government supported those who lost their birds in 2015, but nobody came to us. It has been terrible every year but we don't see anybody,” she lamented.

A director at Delta State Ministry of Agriculture told courtly.ng.com that it was not feasible to reach everyone, particularly those of them who did not belong to cooperative groups.

For this reason, massive livestock safety campaign should be stepped up by the government and the stakeholders to avoid panic measures often embark upon by the farmers.

 

 

 

 

 

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Cultists on rampage; a threat to peaceful elections

By Doris Akpan

NIGERIA is in the throes of cult practices. In the past two decades, hundreds of youths have been killed while properties worth over millions of naira destroyed during clashes among various cult groups, common in the tertiary institutions.


Cultism in modern time could be traced to the advent of the Ogboni secret cult notable among the Yoruba, the Ekpe secret cult among the Efik, Ekine cult in the Delta region and Owegbe cult among the Edos.


The Ogboni has since transformed into a socio-cultural confraternity when the outcry against cultism in the country denounced the group.
Cultism in higher institutions is similarly traced to 1952 when a group of seven students from the University College, Ibadan, who called themselves ‘The Magnificent Seven’, formed the Pirates Confraternity. The alleged leader of the group, Wole Soyinka, has severally denied founding a cult group.


It is believed that the group was founded to counter certain denials suffered by indigent students in favour of wealthy students who were associated with colonial powers.


Between 1952 and 1972, the Pirates, who later registered as the National Association of Sea Dogs was the only confraternity on Nigerian campuses.
Another group, the Buccaneers Confraternity was registered as National Association of Sea Lords, an obvious rival to the Pirates. Its membership extended to students within and outside the campus.


Today, almost all tertiary institutions across the country have various confraternities otherwise known as cults. Academic activities are often disrupted on campuses harbouring the cult groups. Supreme Eiye Confraternity, also referred to as Air Lords is another which broke out from Black Axe. It emerged from the University of Benin. Its symbol of identification is a diagram of the skull and two crossed bones.


The Black Axe (Neo Black Movement of Nigeria) also emerged from the University of Benin and has an upright axe with a wide blade fixed to a short handle as its symbol.


There is also the Supreme Vikings Confraternity said to have been founded by a former member of the Buccaneer Confraternity and it has the inscription SVC as its symbol.


There is the Klansmen Confraternity also known as Eternal Fraternal Order of the Region Consortium. It was founded by students of University of Calabar and has “KKK” as its symbol, and the Two-Two or Black Beret, founded at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology.


Some other confraternities include Red Sea Horse, Second Son of Satan, Fraternity of Friends, Mgba Mgba Brothers and the Night Cadet Sonmen. Others include the Theme of Eden, Executioners, Dreaded Friend of Friends, Eagle Club, and the Black Scorpion.


There are also female cult groups which became pronounced in the 1990s in Nigerian campuses. Notable among them are the White Angels, Damsels, Viqueens, Daughters of Jezebel, Black Braziers, among several others.


The cultists often explained that the major reason for forming cult groups was to break the barrier created by the advantaged students. It is alleged that leaderships of some university unions such as ASUU and others sometimes solicit the help of cult groups to further their causes.


Unfortunately, cultism is now used to intimidate and harass peaceful and law abiding members of society.


Belonging to cult groups is a source of pride and power in such states as Edo, Rivers Cross River, Kogi, Ogun States and Enugu states. It is also a common practice in most of other states across the country.


Such major crimes as kidnaps, robbery and assassinations are often traced to cultists in many states.


Setting up anti-cult police operatives across the country has tremendously assisted in curtailing the menace of cultism in many states. For instance, Anti-cult police in River State recently announced it arrested about 227 suspected cultists on July 2, 2015. Not fewer than 437 have been arrested in Edo since January this year.


The Cross River Police Command recently said it also arrested 20 suspected cultists across the state between August and September. The state’s commissioner of Police, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa told Newsmen in Calabar that the suspects were arrested for carrying out illegal activities and engaging in violence.


He disclosed that the suspects were arrested on August 23 in Ogoja local council area of the state during a cult confrontation between the Vikings and Klans confraternity.


“Also, on August 29 2018, a team of patrol men from X Squad Unit of the State Headquarters during a stop and search in Calabar accosted a tricycle conveying two suspected cultists and they were immediately arrested. And on September 2 2018, we got a tip-off that cult members belonging to Skylo confraternity unlawfully assembled behind Union Bank in Calabar.

“Operatives of Special Anti-Robbery Squad swiftly raided the area and seven suspected cultists were arrested,’’ the police boss said.


According to him, the suspects confessed to belonging to Skylo confraternity. Police in the state are on the trail of some other members of the group who escaped immediate arrest.


Items recovered from the arrested 20 suspects include four locally made pistols, one live cartridge, three machetes, one dagger, one tricycle and others. He told Newsmen that the suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigation was completed.
Critics are of the view that no matter the arrests, cultism will continue to fester so long as politicians in the country use cult groups for election purposes. For instance, the senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki was alleged to have financed the operations of a group in the state. Members of the group were alleged to have carried out the heinous ‘Ofa Robbery’ in which over 30 people were killed.


Although police attempt to arrest Saraki was condemned as politically motivated, the senator has not been able to convince critics that he never purchased weapons for the dreaded group. Perhaps, this is a case in thousands across the federation.


It is feared that some judges belong to various cult groups who make efforts to protect interests of members during trials, while certain lecturers in the universities who belong to cult groups also protect students who belong to the same cult groups.


It is observed that cultism has been ominously extended to secondary schools in the country. A certain councillor in Aniocha-North of Delta State was said to have initiated hundreds of secondary school students in his ward. He is one in hundreds of other politicians who recruit teenagers into cult groups for election purposes.


In Asaba, it is alleged that the just retired principal of Government College Asaba arrested and expelled a female student of the college who specialized in luring other students of the college to West End Secondary School for initiation into various cult groups. The secondary school is said to be notorious for cultism in the city.


Investigation also revealed that cult groups are used by most politicians to cause confusion at polling zones if they perceive unfavourable polling trends. For instance, in Kogi State some election violent scenes in 2003, 2007 and 2015 were traced to members of certain cult groups.


Nevertheless, an Act of the National Assembly outlaws cultism in the country. Belonging to such groups is therefore made a criminal offence in the country. But no deterrent court verdict or jail term capable of discouraging prevalence is known.

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