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Anthrax: Stakeholders Seek Strict Supervision Of Abattoirs

Stakeholders have called on the Federal Government and state governments, to ensure strict supervision of abattoirs across the country to check the spread of Anthrax.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government had reported the outbreak of the disease in some neighbouring countries and recently in Niger.

The stakeholders who spoke with NAN on Sunday, called on the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that only healthy animals were slaughtered for the consumption of the citizens.

Mr. Isa Yeah, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, Nasarawa State, said the government had set up machinery in motion to ensure that butchers adhere to standard practice in all abattoirs in the state.

According to him, the state government was working assiduously to improve facilities at the two abattoirs in the state located at Karu and Lafia.

He said that abattoirs are under the control of the state government, and veterinarians are assigned to ascertain the health of animals.

Yeah said that efforts are being put in place to check the proliferation of unhealthy slaughter slabs across the state.

He said that proposals from private investors willing to construct and operate private abattoirs were being considered by the government.

Mr. Ezekiel Baba, a Lecturer with the College of Agriculture, Science, and Technology, Lafia, said that there are only two abattoirs in the state.

He commended the state government for ensuring that animals and their products are examined before slaughtering and selling to consumers.

Baba appealed to veterinarians to also ensure that animals taken to the abattoirs for slaughtering, were certified for human consumption.

Mr. Kuje John urged the state government to build standard abattoirs with modern facilities in all the 13 Local Government Areas of the state.

He said that the private sector should also be allowed to build and manage abattoirs to complement the efforts of the government.

Mr Ahmed Mohammed, a meat seller appealed to the state government to build more abattoirs in Lafia town, to cater to the ever-growing population.

Mr Salawu Tawara, Director of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture, Kogi said that before now, the state government had built abattoirs in all the 21 Local Government Areas of the state.

He said that the abattoirs are being manned by Veterinary Officers, who would certify the cows before they are slaughtered and sold to the public.

Tawara said that there are four abattoirs in the Lokoja metropolis that serve the consumers, adding that all are being manned by Veterinary Officers.

He said that any cow that is confirmed to be sick be killed and buried immediately.

The director said that any cow slaughtered outside the abattoirs without the supervision of the veterinary officers would be seized and buried.

“So, it is mandatory that butchers bring their cows to any of the approved abattoirs to slaughter so that they can be inspected by our vet officers.

“Any butcher who slaughters cow without the approval of our vet officers would be sanctioned and the cow would be seized and buried,” Tawara said.

He recalled that some butchers who slaughtered their cows outside the abattoirs in April 2022, were arrested and their meat was sized.

“We went round the markets to identify and seize those meat and buried them to ensure the safety of the consumers. Since then we have not had any issue of such in Kogi,” he said.

He said that the state government would always compensate butchers if it was discovered at the abattoir that the cows has diseases and it was slaughtered there.

“So, no butcher will be compensated for slaughtering a cow with disease in an unauthorized abattoir, rather the meat will be confiscated and destroyed”, he said.

Tawara advised the public to patronize and buy meat from authorized abattoirs where the butchers’ cows had been fully inspected and approved by veterinary officers.

“Buying meat at an unauthorized place is a great risk because most of such meats are not good for consumption,” Tawara said.

Dr Tolu Omotugwa, a veterinary doctor with the state government, said that all functional abattoirs in Kogi, are manned by veterinary doctors.

“The meat being processed at the abattoirs is of high quality for human consumption. This is largely due to veterinary doctors who are always on the ground to inspect the cows brought for slaughtering.

“I can tell you authoritatively that the meats being sold in the markets are healthy and very safe for consumption.

“Recently we intercepted some carcass from going into the markets due to the measures put in place by the government to checkmate unhealthy meat infiltrating our markets.

“The meat that is condemned, we do condemn them, and those meats that are healthy and safe, we allow them to pass to the markets, ” he said.

Tolu urged the government to complete the new abattoir with modern facilities for ease and seamless slaughtering of cattle.

Mrs Helen Momoh, a businesswoman, said that she had never had cause to be afraid of buying meat in any market in the Lokoja metropolis.

“I think we should commend the government and butchers in the various abattoirs in Kogi for their efforts at providing healthy and quality meats in our markets.

“Health is key, and any meat being sold must be safe for consumption by the populace, ” she said.

Mr. Victor Kunle said that besides the incident of April 2022, “we never had any cause to fear buying meat in the markets.”

Mr. Seun Babalola, a Sanitarian with the Kogi Ministry of Environment, said the ministry had put everything in place to ensure that the abattoirs were kept clean.

He said that the Kogi State Sanitation and Waste Management Board (KSSWMB) are collaborating with the Department of Veterinary Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, to ensure clean and safe environment at the abattoirs.

Babalola said that the team still embark on an inspection of some of the abattoirs located in Lokoja and that the same thing was happening in all the 21 local government areas of the state.

Dr. Adamu Ibrahim-Kato, Director of Public Health, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Niger, said that veterinary officials were always on the ground to inspect animals before slaughtering.

“These strict inspections help us to ascertain animals that are sick or infected so that we don’t kill them but place them on treatment for recovery.

“When they recover fully and are certified healthy and fit, they may be slaughtered for consumption. But if they have a relapse, we continue with the treatment, ” he said.

He further said that there were occasions where relevant authorities have compensated owners of such sick animals most especially when they (owners) did not know the animals were sick.

According to him, the compensation was not 100 percent, as the liability was usually shared between the government and the owners of the animals.

Ibrahim-Kato who expressed concern over the state of abattoirs in the state, said more is required to be done to improve on the status.

“As officials, we wrote to the last administration but unfortunately it couldn’t do anything before the end of its tenure on May 29, ” he said. (NAN)

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