Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, has said that the State would on Monday, 19th April, 2021, resume the dislodgement of illegal abattoirs, slaughterhouses, animal markets and other veterinary premises.
Olusanya, who made this known in Lagos over the weekend, explained that the exercise was in continuation of the State Government’s sanitisation and reform of the red meat value chain with the goal of producing wholesome meat for the consumption of its citizenry.
The Commissioner noted that the exercise was a follow-up to the dislodgement operation subsequent to the re-inauguration of the State’s Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance (MEC) Team, which was suspended as a result of the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest, last year.
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 such as abattoirs, slaughterhouses, meat markets and animal clinics, and subsequent arrest of illegal operators as well as confiscation of stray animals and carcasses.
Her words: “We will all recall that in August 2020, we re-launched the new Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance (MEC) Team to commence a clampdown on all illegal slabs, animal markets, movement of unaccompanied animals as well as unregistered veterinary premises within the State”.
“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 slaughterhouses 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 slaughter 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”.
The Commissioner disclosed that during the next enforcement exercise there would be no option of fine on confiscated live animals, adding that all seized animals would be auctioned at the Mobile Court of the Task Force Office with all offenders duly prosecuted.
She enjoined all those who breed animals within their residences to restrain their pets and prevent them from roaming the streets as these animals not only constitute a nuisance to public health, they also destroy 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 are registered with the Veterinary Services Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and obtain appropriate licence to operate within the State, noting that quackery would no longer be tolerated.
“The Lagos State Government, as a responsible government, who is concerned about the health of its citizens 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 asserted.