Rivers residents lament absence of state abattoirs, poor meat processing
Residents of Port Harcourt have decried poor standard of meat processing in Rivers State.
Most worrisome, according to former press secretary to Rivers State Government, Blessing Wikina, and a renowned veterinary doctor, Prof. Clement Alawa, is the absence of a central abattoir in the state and lack of veterinary doctors in the service of the State Government.
The Guardian learnt that make-shit abattoirs have sprang up in various corners after the State Governor, Nyesom Wike, demolished the State’s major abattoir located in Woji axis of Port Harcourt in September last year.
The state government had in a statement by Special Assistant to Governor Wike on media, Kelvin Ebiri, explained that it decided to demolish the Oginiba abattoir, popularly known as “Slaughter Market”, because of incessant cases of kidnapping, armed robbery and sexual assaults within the market.
He stated that the state has begun the construction of a modern abattoir with state of the art equipment in Mgbuosimini, Rumueme of Obio-Akpor council with the capacity to slaughter 400 cattle as well as 1500 goats and sheep per day.
However, nothing has been heard about the facility, while the vacuum has forced meat dealers to convert different makeshifts to abattoirs without proper examination and certification of animals by Veterinary doctors.
Worried by the development, Prof Awala said: “The number of Veterinary doctors in the service of the Rivers State government is grossly insufficient, to say the least. Very little meat inspection is done and it is even by incompetent staff.”
“Port Harcourt is a major town for meat consumption but it may have the least number of Veterinarians, perhaps next to Bayelsa State in the whole country. I have been ashamed and appalled at the situation of Veterinary services in the state, being a senior Vet myself, though working outside the state for over 34 years. I have tried to make a case but it hasn’t got a serious attention.”
Narrating his experience, Mr. Wikina said: “The sudden appearance of a camel, along the Woji/ slaughter axis of the Trans Woji road at about 10:18p.m., yesterday, caused a stir among motorists.
The camel, which was been herded towards the slaughter by Eze Gbaka Gbaka market, a make-shit abattoir, raised concerns that it may be slaughtered for consumption.
“More worrisome is the insufficient number of Vet Doctors in the state, that could examine meat before they are certified for sale and consumption. With the absence of a central abattoir in the Port Harcourt metropolis, many abattoir had sprung up in various locations, without facility for meat examinations, before slaughtering.”
He called on the state Ministry of Agriculture to investigate this scenario to avert future occurrence.
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