By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State government has concluded plans to begin demolition of over 80 abattoirs as well as monitor all veterinary premises across the state from Tuesday, September 1, in furtherance of the sanitisation and reform of the red meat value chain.
The state Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, who disclosed this at the weekend at the re-inauguration of the Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance, MEC, team of the ministry, added that the exercise would involve the monitoring of meat transportation as well as stray animal control.
She added that the dislodgement was necessary, especially as the state was particular about producing wholesome and healthy meat for its residents, while simultaneously ensuring that the streets were free of stray animals.
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Olusanya recalled that even though the exercise had been an ongoing exercise for about three years, the need to strictly enforce meat transportation using only the designated vehicles and stray animals control, which had lately become more rampant, cannot be overemphasised.
In her words: “The need for continuity and sustained effort against perpetrators of illegalities in the state informed the re-inauguration of the MEC Unit by the current administration.
“You will agree with me that the menace of illegal slaughter slabs is rearing its ugly head in the state again with attendant negative public health impact on the over 20 million populace of our dear state.”
Olusanya noted that the team would monitor and effect zero-tolerance to the existence of illegal slaughter slabs statewide and ensure proper regulation of veterinary activities statewide in conjunction with Lagos State Private Veterinary Premises Registration Authority.
According to her, ongoing rehabilitation works were being undertaken in the 20 approved slaughter slabs in the state in a bid to improve their present state to meet international standards by converting some of these slabs to semi-mechanised abattoirs.
Olusanya stressed that government had been enabled to monitor and regulate the affairs of premises where veterinary activities such as treatment of animals, sales of drugs and biologicals take place with necessary statistics gathered from the activities of the monitoring, enforcement and control unit of the ministry and ensured that premises, which do not meet up to the standard and have refused to upgrade are demolished.
Meanwhile, Chairman, Lagos State Butchers Association, Mr. Bamidele Kazeem, pledged the association’s full support for the demolition of Lagos illegal abattoirs.
He said: “My members in Lagos State are very much ready, in fact, we have been clamouring for the re-inauguration of the enforcement team because of the many illegal slaughterhouses in the state.
“We have to control the nemesis caused by these illegal abattoirs and sales of meat. Some people now have even taken laws into their hands; when the state gives a law about something, they do the opposite which our association is not happy about.
“That was why we appealed to the state government to revive the Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance Team so that these measures will be totally complied with.”
Similarly, the Secretary of the Lagos State Abattoir Concessionaires Forum, Mr. Hamzat Kareem, noted that the re-inauguration of the Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance Team would curb the menace of illegal abattoirs, as they pose a huge threat to legal abattoir operations.