The Lagos State Government has again activated advocacy campaigns against illegal abattoirs scattered across the State in continuation of the sanitation and reform of the red meat value chain.
It has therefore started moving to some of them to educate operators on the harmful impact of their operations.
At the commencement of the advocacy campaign at Igunnu street, Lagos Island, the Team Lead of the Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance Unit, Veterinary Department in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Gbolabo Kehinde who took time to educate some of the butchers seen slaughtering cows within the densely populated areas explained that the illegal slaughterhouses, without adequate water supply and proper waste disposal facilities pose high risks to the health of Lagosians, while some of the animals billed to be slaughtered may go haywire and cause harms to people and properties
Emphasizing that animals to be slaughtered are supposed to be inspected by certified veterinarians to ensure that diseased animals are not sold to residents, Dr Kehinde told the butchers that pending the completion of the abattoirs under construction at Simpson Street on the Island, they should make use of functional abattoirs and the Eko refrigerated meat vans.
“We have been facing this challenges of illegal abattoirs for sometime now and government has been on the move to ensure its eradication and to ensure those involved in the business meet and maintain the safety of meat in Lagos. At illegal abattoirs, we cannot ensure that there are adequate water supply, waste disposal among others and the Information we are getting from the people is they they are slaughtering bad cows and this cannot be defended but if they choose to do it at the approved quarters where officials of the State would monitor, then we are good to go.
In the past years we have gone on several enforcement and this year we are starting with enlightenment as Government says we should go out for advocacy rather than enforcement.” he said
At Tokunbo street, also on Lagos Island, where the team encountered those sharing meat reportedly bought from the abattoir in an unsanitary environment, Dr Kehinde who also took time to educate them on the dangers of such actions advised them to obtain meat shop permit from the Ministry of Agriculture if they want to continue selling beef within residential areas.
While thanking the Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance Team for the advocacy, the Secretary, Freelance Butchers Association of Nigeria, Mr Shehu Omoowo-Olatunji, said the association was formed three years ago during the Covid-19 lockdown and they operate in groups, with some of them processing meat during the week and others at weekends.
Mr Omoowo-Olatunji explained that they were aware of the requirements by governments and working to meet them.
“We have been going to Matori abattoir to slaughter our cows and come to sell around business areas, we now know that we are not supposed to sell in open places, but in meat shops, we are currently working on the process of securing meat shops” he said
Others who spoke during the interactive advocacy campaign urged the State Government to quickly complete the new Simpson abattoir to enable them conduct their businesses legally.
The State had in past years clamped down on illegal abattoirs and confiscated meat worth millions of naira, which were donated to motherless babies homes.