By Salisu Sani-Idris
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has assured that it will stop the practice of unhygienic transportation of meat on rickety vehicles and motorcycles within the city and major towns of the territory by 2021.
Dr Idris Admoh, Acting Director, Department of Veterinary Services, FCT Agric and Rural Development Secretariat, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said the move was part of efforts of the FCTA to curtail practices that exposed meat to environmental pollution hazard and contaminations.
Admoh said that the Animal Disease Control Act of 1988, was very specific on the control of animal diseases, adding that the FCTA had the right to define how meat entering FCT should be inspected and certified.
He explained that the agric secretariat had come up with a policy direction known as meat hulage system, to make sure that meat getting to consumers were wholesome for consumption.
Admoh said that over the years, the system of abattoir operation in Nigeria, started as a tradition and so many things had gone wrong.
He said:”When you look at circle of slaughtering of animals and getting the meat to the market.
“At every chain it is our duty from the abattoir to make sure that after inspection, the meat passing from the abattoirs are wholesome and fit for human consumption.
“There is the hygiene aspect which is how do you handle the meat after slaughtering into the various conveyors down to transportation from the abattoirs to the market.
“The butchers will finish the slaughtered, then we will do an inspection for the process and all the engagements of transporting the meat from the abattoirs to the market is so messy.
“Over time you see people transporting meat in rikety vehicles, people transporting meats in okada not properly covered and protected.
“If we allow these to continue, that means whatever we must have done in abattoir is not having result because we are still exposing the same meat to pollution hazard and contaminations.
“By 2021, we want to assure you that in this city and in major towns in FCT, we will stop the issue of transporting meat in a very unhygienic situation.”
According to him, the rate FCT is growing, there is an ongoing process to document every area that meat is slaughtered.
“We have that information but we want to update it with the Area Councils because they have the power to give approval for people to open slaughter slabs.
“In the area of animal disease information, we are trying to harmonise our disease reporting system with the area councils.
“Where whatever is happening at the secretariat or area councils will be communicated to all areas,” he said.
Admoh said there were specific ways to transport the meat from abattoirs to the point of sale, adding that the FCTA would not allow use of any vehicle or container except the ones that were described in the policy.
He dislosed that the agric secretariat had inspectors in all the area councils and it was constantly communicating with the Area Veterinary officers in all the councils to monitor and ensure compliance.
He explained that the implementation of the meat haulage policy was going to be in phases, because the issue of logistics was not going to be easy.
“As we sit down here we are talking of Yaba and other areas that are not easy to be covered.
“By the time we start in phases, there are Area Councils that are going to be in the mainstream of what we are doing like the Abuja Municipal Area Council, the Gwagwalada Area Council and Bwari Area Council.
”By the time the policy is fully out, we are going to sit down with the major stakeholders in the area councils to brainstorm on how we are going to jointly work,” he said.