By Salisu Sani-Idris
Abuja – The Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat of Federal Capital Territory Administration has expressed willingness to partner with the Area Council Authorities toward improving the state of animal slaughter facilities.
Mr Ibe Chukwuemeka, Acting Secretary of the secretariat, stated this when he met a team of officials from the Veterinary Services Department of Area councils on Friday in Abuja.
He said that the move was part of efforts by the FCTA to ensure the availability of wholesome meat for the FCT populace.
Represented by the Director, Veterinary Services in the secretariat, Dr Regina Adulugba, Chukwuemeka said this followed the directive of the FCT Minister of state, Dr Ramatu Aliyu.
He said that the minister had expressed concerns over the deplorable state of facilities and services at various slaughter slabs across the FCT.
He told the council officials that the FCTA envisioned proper and modern abattoir and meat Haulage System befitting its status.
He also reminded them of the provisions in relevant statutes which put direct operations of slaughter slabs under the purview of area councils with the FCT agric. secretariat providing monitoring and supervisory duties.
“As you are aware, the whole world is grappling with the devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and we cannot afford to further expose our people to risks of transmission.
“We have to start making changes to ensure that we upgrade our facilities with focus on enforcement of hygienic practices,” he said.
He restated the readiness of the secretariat to work with the area councils toward achieving the desired result.
He disclosed that the secretariat had engaged a Meat Haulage Company to ensure hygienic transportation of meat from slaughter facilities to market points.
He cautioned the area councils on the health risks associated with the use of tyres to roast slaughtered animals, urging them to encourage butchers to make use of gas blowers.
In their various responses, the council officials welcomed the initiative by the FCT administration, assuring the delegation that the area councils would do everything within their means to adhere to standard practices in abattoir operations.
They agreed that the slaughter slabs held great potentials of job creation through its value chain.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that highlights of the visit was the presentation of report conducted by a fact-finding team from the agric. secretariat on the state of area council slaughter slabs to the chairmen.