By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos
Lagos State Government has inaugurated a Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance Unit on dislodgement of illegal abattoirs, seizure of stray animal, monitoring of meat transportation and regulation of veterinary premises.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Oluwatoyin Suarau who inaugurated the enforcement unit noted that the establishment of the unit is in fulfillment of the promise made by the state government to develop the red meat value chain, restructure and sanitize Abattoirs and Slaughter slabs in the State for improved operations and promote a healthy environment for red meat business.
Suarau stated that the State government is determined to ensure that products from abattoirs and slaughter slabs meet the global quality, safety and compliance requirements adding that the need to introduce forceful intervention to bring about healthy change in abattoir operations was what informed setting up of the Unit.
Said he “the responsibilities of the Unit will include monitoring of abattoirs and slaughter slabs in the State, dislodgement of illegal ones, monitoring and enforcing laws on transportation of meat and live cattle, control of stray animals and mobilization and enlightenment of private veterinary premises in the state”.
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.
He stated that the State government has zero tolerance for illegal slaughter slabs that are scattered across the State adding that a situation where the frontage of food centers are used as slaughter slabs is also not acceptable.
The Commissioner who reiterated the State Government’s resolve to prosecute owners of stray animals within the State metropolis noted that government would no longer fold its arms and allow the menace to continue.
“Apart from causing accidents on our roads, these stray animals could also spread contagious diseases such as anthrax, rabies, tuberculosis and other ailments that could lead to death”, Suarau said.
The Commissioner who charged Unit to swing into action immediately, counseled them to scrutinize the different aspects of meat supply chain in the state particularly in the area of sanitation of slaughtering facilities, meat handling and movement. He emphasised that Okada and Rickety Tricycles are completely banned for the transporting of meat carcases across the State.
Suarau added that the monitoring, compliance and enforcement task will involve the Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit, men of the Lagos State Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and Governors Monitoring Team as security back up for the Unit in carrying out its task.
The Commissioner immediately after inauguration led members of the Unit and Men of Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit to the Oko-Oba Abattoir and Lairage Complex to dislodged over 100 hundred shanties and illegal structures which have been reported to be harboring miscreants and causing insecurity in the area.
Re-affirming the commitment of the State government to bring development into the red meat value chain, he said that there is a growing recognition that the planned reforms is desirable to meet the State’s mega city status where the best practices of meat handling, environmental and facility hygiene is adopted to meet the international acceptable standard.
“This will not only ensure that we move from the traditional way of animal slaughtering to a mechanized system but will ensure full utilization of the abattoir in an efficient, effective and healthy way. This reform is focusing on food security, facility and environmental hygiene and processing protection”, he noted.