The Oyo State Government has begun what appears to be a crackdown on operators of illegal abattoir sites following the expiration of the ultimatum given to them to relocate to a central abattoir at Amosun Village, Akinyele, Ibadan.
The court’s sheriffs went round the city last Friday to enforce an interim order issued by the Oyo State High Court against “unlicensed” and “unauthorised” abattoirs in Ibadan.
The abattoirs sealed by the sheriffs include: Bodija market abattoir, Aleshinloye market abattoir, and several others.
A statement from the office of the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism on Wednesday quoted the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural and Natural Resources, Oyewole Oyewumi, as saying that the state government had constituted a taskforce to enforce the relocation of slaughter services by all butchers to the central abattoir at Amosun Village, Akinyele Ibadan.
He said this was to ensure that quality and standards were met for commercial animal slaughter to protect citizens from unhealthy practices.
Mr Oyewumi said the taskforce comprises: Nigeria Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, State Security Services, Ministries of Environment, Agriculture, Physical Planning and Bureau of Investment Promotions, with the responsibility to identify and enforce the provisions of the Meat Law of Oyo-State and other relevant laws.
He explained that the government decided to relocate the abattoirs in Ibadan to curb “the unhealthy process of slaughtering of animals, slaughtering of dead, sick and unwholesome animals in various markets, backyard slaughter slabs and many contraptions and make-shift slaughter houses in unhealthy environment with obnoxious practices.”
Mr Oyewumi added that government had in partnership with the private sector established a 3000 per day capacity mechanised slaughter facility at Amosun village, ”as a viable and state of the art facility for all abattoir services within Ibadan.”
The commissioner said that the government regretted that after giving the butchers four years to wind up without paying no taxes, some “unscrupulous” persons among the butchers union in Oyo State, rather than wind up, were establishing new slaughter locations in unhygienic environment.
“For the last five years, the Ministry of Agriculture has engaged all stakeholders in a bid to ensure cooperation of all parties with the new initiative meant to assure the populace of the quality of cattle meat and other animals offered for sale in our markets,’’ he said.
“The private sector Investment company, the Oyo State Government, Local Government Councils/LCDAs in Ibadan, and the National Butchers Association (Oyo State chapter) held several meetings over the last three years leading to the final take-off of this initiative by the signing of a global Memorandum of Understanding between the parties by which the equity participation of all stakeholders were agreed, implementation plans accepted and commencement confirmed.
“Earlier in 2014, the state government had given all abattoirs operating in Ibadan a year to wind up their activities and relocate their slaughter operations to the new state of the Art abattoir at Amosun village.
“Since 2014, the state had ceased to collect due rates and taxes from all abattoirs in Ibadan, in order to encourage compliance and ensure that the operators wind up and comply with the meat law of Oyo State which makes it illegal for anyone to operate any slaughter slab, abattoir or slaughter house without the authority and license of government.
“Regrettably, even after giving the butchers four years to wind up, paying no due taxes, the Ministry of Agriculture had observed that some unscrupulous persons among the Butchers Union in Oyo-State, rather than wind up, were in fact establishing new slaughter locations in unhygienic environment with no certification of government, no veterinary presence for inspection of animals for slaughter, nor approval of the said abattoirs by relevant authorities of government.”