By Stanley Onyekwere
To ensure the availability of wholesome meat for Abuja residents, the FCT Administration through its Agricultural and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS) has upped steps to strategise with authorities of the six Area Councils, aimed at enhancing the services as well as state of animal slaughter facilities across the FCT.
To this end, the Acting Secretary of the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Mr. Ibe Prospect Chukwuemeka recently led a team of officials from the Veterinary Services Department to interface with the Councils.
Ibe noted that the visit to the Area Councils became imperative following the concern raised by the Minister of State for FCT, Dr. RamatuTijjani Aliyu, on the deplorable state of facilities and services at various slaughter slabs across the FCT, with further directive for the Secretariat to take immediate measures to address the situation.
Represented by the Director, Veterinary Services in the Secretariat, Dr. Mrs. Regina Adulugba, the ARDS boss informed the Chairmen and officials that the FCT Administration envisions a proper and modern abattoir and meat Haulage System befitting the status of the FCT.
He reminded them of the provisions in relevant statutes which puts direct operations of slaughter slabs under the purview of Area Councils with the Agric Secretariat providing monitoring and supervisory responsibilities.
She stressed the need for the Area Councils to take the matter seriously as new findings have indicated the likelihood of Human to Animal transmission of Covid-19.
“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 stressed.
While restating the readiness of the Secretariat to work with the Area Councils towards achieving the desired result, the ARDS boss urged them to take advantage of the expertise in the FCT Veterinary Services Department to ensure that the aspects of meat inspection disease reporting and control are effectively handled.
He disclosed that the Secretariat has engaged a Meat Haulage company to ensure that hygienic transportation of meat from slaughter facilities to market points.
Dr. Adulugba also cautioned them 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 Chairmen welcomed the initiative by the FCT Administration assuring the delegation that the Area
Councils will do everything within their means to adhere to standard practices in abattoir operations.
In their separate remarks, they agreed that the slaughter slabs hold great potentials of job creation through its value chain.
Highlights of the visit was the presentation of report conducted by a fact-finding team from the Agric. Secretariat on the state of Area Councils slaughter slabs to the Chairmen.