No fewer than 24 butchers and cattle marketers have been arrested for offences bordering on illegal operations in a clamp-down exercise carried out over the weekend against illegal abattoirs, slaughter slabs and cattle markets by the Lagos State Government.
Speaking with newsmen after the exercise, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Oluwatoyin Suarau explained that the exercise was carried out in Ikorodu and Badagry areas of the State by the State Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance Unit on Abattoirs and Slaughter Slabs, Stray Animals, Meat and Live Cattle Transportation and Regulation of Veterinary Premises.
He added that aside that 24 butchers and cattle marketers who were arrested for illegal operations, large chunk of unwholesome meat being processed with dirty stagnant water and live cattles were impounded in the raid.
According to Suarau, 10 butchers were arrested from illegal abattoirs by the enforcement team in Owutu Ikorodu while 14 butchers and marketers were arrested in the Badagry axis.
“The operation in the Badagry axis of the State, affected illegal slaughter slabs at Seme J5 Zongo, Iya Afin and Ajara; and illegal animal markets at Iberekodo, Limka and Toll Gate”, he said.
The Commissioner while stressing the need for monitoring, enforcement and compliance in the red meat value chain business added that the effort will help prevent spread of diseases, promote data collection for planning, promote good animal welfare and make Lagos a safe place for all inhabitants by discouraging environmental pollution and health hazards.
Reiterating that the State Government has declared zero tolerance on illegal abattoirs and slaughter slabs, illegal transportation of meat and cattles, unregistered veterinary premises and stray animals, Suarau noted that government will continue to close down abattoirs and slaughter slabs that are not established in compliance with the relevant laws governing meat slaughtering in the State.
The Commissioner stated that the State Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance Unit has the responsibility of monitoring the whole process of meat handling right from the Animal Markets to the Abattoirs including meat and cattle transportation, noting that government has handled significantly the transportation aspect the chain by introducing the ‘Eko Refrigerated Meat Van’ which is now used to transport meat rather than the former obnoxious meat transportation methods.