The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Mr. Gbolahan Lawal, on Thursday, said the state government would push through its plan to regulate the method of meat delivery from the abattoir to every part of the state.
Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos, Lawal said it was necessary to make the process of distributing meat across the state more hygienic.
The initiative, tagged ‘Eko Meat Van Scheme’, banned unwholesome means of transporting meat from the abattoir to the markets and consumers, introducing the use of refrigerated meat vans. The directive has however been resisted by butchers who claimed that the vans were few and could be expensive to hire as they were contracted out to private operators.
A group of butchers also protested at the Agege abattoir on Wednesday, to press for the release of some of their members reportedly arrested and detained by the police.
Lawal however attributed the ongoing tussle over the issue to the butchers’ reluctance to embrace “change”.
He said, “Change for Eko meat van has come and we are not going back. People don’t want change and change must come. People used carts and okada to move carcass. Some people even put carcass on their heads; we are not going to accept that.
“We have had several discussions with them (butchers) for over two years and held stakeholders’ meeting. We are also working with law enforcement agencies to implement the directive.”
Lawal added that about 200 meat vans have been made available to transport meat across the state.
Reacting to questions on the “poor state of Agege abattoir”, Lawal said the state government would improve the condition of the abattoir before the end of the present administration.
“We are going to leave abattoir better than we met it. It is a multi-ministerial approach that we are using. We are working with LASEPA (Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency), LAWMA (Lagos State Waste Management Authority) and others,” he said.