Thursday, July 18, 2024

Butchers selling meat of dead animals in Enugu market, government official says

The Enugu State government has vowed to arrest butchers selling dead animals and uninspected meats at Afor Awkunanaw Gariki Market, Enugu South Council Area of the state

• July 5, 2024
Butchers[Credit: Daily Trust]

The Enugu State government has vowed to arrest butchers selling dead animals and uninspected meats at Afor Awkunanaw Gariki Market, Enugu South Council Area of the state.

Philip Ozoagu, director of the veterinary department at the Enugu State Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Industrialisation, made the vow when he led his team to the market on Friday.

Mr Ozoagu told the market’s chairman, Kojak Egbonnaji, and his executives that the department discovered that some people were selling uninspected and dead animals as meat to the public.

He said meeting the market leaders was important to prevent transferring diseases from animals to men through proper inspections.

Mr Ozoagu said the butchers had continued the sale of dead animals’ meat to the public despite the government’s attempts to stop them.

“Our findings showed that they pay some fees to you, and we are directing you to stop collecting these fees as Governor Peter Mbah’s administration is more concerned about the health of Enugu residents.

“We are giving you a final chance to stop them from coming to sell in this market.

“We built an abattoir for them to stay, and the purpose of the place is to inspect their meat, and those willing to sell wholesome meat can go to the place,” he said.

Mr Ozoagu warned that in any attempt to disobey the simple rules, perpetrators would be arrested.

Joy Onah, officer-in-charge of the veterinary department, Enugu South Council Area, described meats sold on roadsides as “condemned and unhygienic meats”.

She warned butchers engaging in the act to desist from it, saying their meats posed dangers to people’s health.

Romanus Ezeh, chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Enugu chapter, demanded butchers’ data in the state to differentiate real butchers from meat handlers.

Mr Ezeh, who is also a government agent for the collection of butchers’ licences, said information at their disposal revealed that roadside meat sellers sell cows that died in transit from the north.

“We have invited them for a meeting, but they have refused to show up,” he said.

Responding, the market chairman said the issue was a big challenge to the market, noting that it started during the previous administration.

Denying being paid to look away from sellers of unhealthy meat in the market, he said, “What we collect from them is e-ticket fees, but now I will stop.”

“However, the veterinary department needs to do its job by chasing them away from the market,” he added.

He appealed to the veterinary department to give him one month to address the matter with their leaders, calling them to order in the process.


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