Lagos resumes clampdown of illegal abattoirs, veterinary premises

Moses Uwagbale

The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya said the state would resume  dislodgement of illegal abattoirs, slaughter houses, animal markets and other veterinary premises, as from April 19.

In a statement, on Sunday, Olusanya said the exercise was in continuation of the state government’s sanitisation and reform of the red meat value chain.

She said that the goal was to produce wholesome meat for the consumption of residents.

The commissioner explained that the exercise was a follow-up to the dislodgement exercise following the re-inauguration of the state’s Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance (MEC) Team in August, 2020.

She said the exercise was suspended as a result of the unrests that stemmed from the #EndSARS protests.

According to her, a total of 15 operational outings were carried out by the MEC team after its re-inauguration which resulted in the dislodgement of all illegal veterinary premises.

“We will all recall that in August, 2020, we re-inaugurated the new MEC  to commence  clamp down on all illegal veterinary premises.

“They include abattoirs, slaughter houses, meat markets and animal clinics; and subsequent arrests of illegal operators as well as confiscation of stray animals and carcasses.

“I can authoritatively say that the last outing was a huge success. A total of 15 operational outings were carried out where live animals and carcasses were confiscated.

“The live animals were returned to the owners after they were fined and issued stern warnings.

“While carcasses that were certified fit for human consumption by our veterinary doctors were donated to Boys Correctional Homes and government recognised orphanages.

“The exercise resulted in a lot of the erring butchers patronising government approved abattoirs and slaughter houses, while some are still recalcitrant.

“The operation had to be halted due to the unrest as a result of the #EndSARS protest which has given rise to the return of some of these illegal activities.

“It has been observed that animals slaughtered at these illegal slabs are not inspected by veterinary officials.

“As a result, the wholesomeness cannot be vouched for,  hence the need for the MEC team to go out again to continue the dislodgement exercise,” Olusanya said.

The commissioner noted that for this operation, there would be no option of fine on confiscated live animals, instead, all confiscated animals would be auctioned at the Mobile Court of the Task Force Office with all offenders duly prosecuted.

She urged residents, who breed animals within their residences, to restrain their pets and prevent them from roaming the streets.

The commissioner said that these animals not only constituted a nuisance to public health, but also destroyed the aesthetics created by the state government to beautify the city.

Olusanya also urged all animal health practitioners, cold room operators and meat shop operators in the state, to ensure that they were registered with the Veterinary Services Department of the ministry of agriculture.

She said  they were to obtain appropriate licenses to operate within the state, noting that quackery would no longer be tolerated.

“The Lagos state government, as a responsible government, has great concerns over the health of its citizens and  will put in all efforts to ensure that only wholesome and healthy meat products are sold in the state, to prevent the outbreak of diseases,” the commissioner added.