Deplorable conditions of abattoirs in Ogun State pose a threat to the public health, especially amid COVID-19 pandemic believed to have originated from live animal marketplaces in Wuhan, China.
In a study conducted and published on June 8, 2020 by a lecturer in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Dr Olanrewaju Timothy Dada, it was found that in Nigeria, Ghana and other developing countries, “poor waste management is responsible for the environmental and health hazards associated with abattoirs.”
Dr Dada found that “Issues related to abattoirs pose challenges in many developing countries due to … unethical slaughterhouse, workers.… It’s not uncommon for abattoirs to dispose waste directly into streams and rivers. There’s no disposal management or treatment system. And, the meat is also washed in the same water. This is true in Ghana as well as Nigeria, among others.”
The conditions were factors considered when the Ibikunle Amosun government approved the construction of modern semi-automated abattoirs in Lafenwa, Abeokuta, and Ogere area of the state in 2014.
A representative of SCNC Abattoirs Services Limited, contractors handling the abattoirs, Mr Dapo Ademosu, narrated that the state government paid 70 per cent of the contract sum of the abattoirs based on the provision of Advanced Payment Guarantee (APG) and the bank (the guarantor) had been discharged because the 70 per cent had been done.
The facility would process over 1000 cattle daily, serving the whole of Abeokuta and its environs because the city currently consumes fewer than 1000 cattle daily, the contractor disclosed.
Ademosu explained that when the new administration came, a letter was written stating the history of the project since 2014, saying, “Two abattoirs were awarded at the same time. One at Lafenwa and the other one at Ogere.
“So, it remains just 30% work to be done. However, due to over one-year delay, most things have expired, and prices are not the same again. We are even working with a quotation of 2014. So, we are asking for 30% variation. And the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) responded, saying we should make the memo concise and we did that the following day.”
It would require about N254 million to complete, but nothing is heard from the government.
Breaking down the likely revenue the state could generate yearly, Ademosu said, “If we collect N2500 per cow and we process 500 cattle daily, we will generate N1,250,000. So, let us assume that for the butchers’ association’s subventions, staff salary and maintenance (diesel, repairs, waste evacuation, treatment of waste, etc.), 40 per cent is deducted daily.
“The balance is N750,000 generated here daily. Let us assume that the manager gets 20 per cent out of the N750,000. The government will get N600,000 and in a year (320 days), the government gets about N192 million yearly.”
Apart from the revenue generation, disease burdens on the state would be reduced because public health would be boosted. Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases would be minimised.
When contacted on how the state intends to avert impending public health dangers, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Samson Odedina, said the state was in control of the situation.
Odedina said, “In line with our agricultural agenda, the two abattoirs have been profiled for effective completion, take over and sustainable operations. The Departments of Veterinary Services and Livestock Services are monitoring these places, and are in full control. There is no cause for alarm.”