By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Government said it has concluded plans to float an insurance scheme as well as introduce mandatory uniform for butchers in the state. The scheme which is expected to cover all the accredited abattoirs and meat markets is part of the ongoing comprehensive reform of meat processing and distribution in the state.
The measure, the state government stressed was also part of effort to modernize and sanitise the Lagos Abattoir to be at par with what is obtainable in other countries, like Kenya and Botswana that operate highly hygiene and modern abattoirs spanning decades.
Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, who disclosed this at a meeting with stakeholders operating at the Agege Abattoir, said government was repositioning the abattoir to the next level as all forms of unwholesome meat supply to the consumers would be curtailed.
He declared that in line with the sanitization of the abattoir, all butchers who would operate at the various slaughter slabs within the abattoir would put on white uniform, while the slaughter slabs would be restricted to only accredited butchers.
According to Lawal, “There is no way 21 million Lagosians will be allowed to consume unwholesome meat again. We are trying to benchmark our food chain with what is obtainable in Kenya and Botswana.
“Kenya Meat Commission was set up in 1958 while that of Botswana was set up 10 years after that of Kenya. Our own abattoir was set up just in 1992 and it only work for two years. It is a challenge and we will face it and we are ready to sanitise the system.
”We want to ensure that the productivity of our butchers and meat merchants is highly enhanced. Some States are moving fast and we have to move faster than them. Our train has left the station and we are not going back to unwholesome consumption of meat in Lagos State.”
The commissioner also disclosed that five other slaughter slabs outside the abattoir had been lined up for rehabilitation to meet up with modern standard, adding that in the next few months, there would be a comprehensive reform of the abattoir as insurance scheme would be put in place for butchers.