The Lagos State Government Thursday decried the growing number of disease-infested animals, which it said, were being slaughtered for human consumption in different illegal abattoirs in different parts of the state.
The government added that it would continue to clamp down on illegal abattoirs operating in the state, which he said, became necessary in order to avert the incidents of consuming diseased-infected animals.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Mr. Gbolahan Lawal, issued the threat at a news conference he addressed after a meeting with the stakeholders in the industry yesterday in Oko Oba, Agege.
At the conference, the commissioner disclosed that almost all animals slaughtered at Illegal abattoirs and “are not hygienic and not in compliance with the relevant laws governing meat slaughtering in the state.”
According to him, realising that effective enforcement of the law is important in ensuring best practices in meat handling, this government has spare no efforts to enhance food safety control and work to ensure meat products are safe.
He, therefore, assured that the state government would increase its investment in agriculture and improve agricultural productivity “to make food more affordable. “The entire abattoir will be fenced to control unauthorised access to the abattoir.
“The slaughter slabs will also be fenced with modern wire mesh and only authorised persons and butchers who are fully clothed and protected as an interim measure while the mechanise production line at Oko-Oba abattoir will undergo relevant rehabilitation.
“The transformation of the abattoir from its traditional operations to modern standard operation is a process that must be taken gradually. We have started the reform and we are not relenting in our efforts,” he said.
The commissioner explained that meat transportation in the state “has undergone various stages of development in the last seven years, from the use of carts to the use of tricycle. From tricycle to air cool meat van and now to the use of refrigerated meat van, this is used to transport meat within the metropolis.
“About 200 refrigerated meat vans have been provided to replace the air cool for healthy distribution of meat. The Ministry placed an advert sometime last year with the intention of licencing private companies to covert a number of the existing slaughtering slab locations to mechanise process is ongoing.
“We are very much concerned about the implication of consuming unwholesome meat. We cannot toil with the lives of over 20 million Lagos residents. That is why the ministry led the stakeholders within the meat supply chain on a study tour of Kenya and Botswana Meat Commissions with the primary purpose of understudying the two countries and tapping from their wealth of experience in animal husbandry, meat production, and supply chain from farm to fork, food safety and control.”