From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
THE Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) through the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEBP), and the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat have described as ‘totally unacceptable’ sales of donkey meat in the territory.
It also planned to declare a State of Emergency on abattoirs in the territory as soon as the re-elected FCT Minister Mohammed Bello settles in office.
Mallam Baba Lawan, Director, AEPB said safety of the meat could not be guaranteed, as he condemned the meat sales.
“There is no guarantee of the health status of the meat brought in from the states, unfortunately the jurisdiction of FCT inspection and regulatory agencies do not extend to other states,” says Lawan.
“We are determined to protect public interest and not to run anyone out of business.”
In a statement issued in Abuja, the AEPB also criticised the state of unhealthy meat brought into the territory solely for purchase by the residents.
However, the AEPB director has ordered the Department of Monitoring and Enforcement to seize and destroy any fresh meat brought for sale from outside the territory.
His words: “We don’t want any economic loss to anyone but there is no going back. The policy has already been approved by FCT Administration. What we want is to upgrade the meat value chain.
“As a budding world class city and capital of Africa’s most populous nation, Abuja attracts a lot of local and foreign dignitaries, therefore, it deserves nothing but the best, especially in food quality.
“Thus, the meat that is consumed in the FCT must meet global food safety standards”.
In her reaction, Dr Regina Adulugba, Director, Veterinary Services, in the agriculture secretariat of the FCTA, also condemned the act describing it as ‘unacceptable’.
She said the territory should not be a dumping ground for unhealthy meats used for consumption. However, she emphasised that the FCTA would not be left behind while other states upgrade their Meat Haulage Policy.
“As soon as ministers settle down, the FCTA will declare an emergency in its Abattoirs and slaughter slabs to ensure that every animal slaughtered in FCT is healthy and safe for human consumption.
“Many of the butchers bringing in fresh meat into FCT today operated in the FCT before absconding to the states. It is quite disturbing that their movement out of FCT coincided with intensification of meat inspection and supervisory rules in FCT,” says Adulugba.
“They are free to operate in the states, but FCT should never be turned to a centre for dumping unhealthy meat. We won’t allow that.”