Lagos State Government(LASG) has banned the use of unauthorised meat vans from transporting red meat in and out of the multi-million naira Oko-Oba Abattoir and Lairage, Agege, Lagos; and all other certified abattoir locations across the state.
The government also outlawed commercial motorcycles, otherwise called Okada, from entering Oko-Oba Abattoir complex. The order took effect from Tuesday, August, 2017.
The move was contained in a directive issued by the Lagos Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, which described it as an action designed to enhance hygiene across the state.
According to the Commissioner for Agriculture, Lagos State, Hon Suara Isiaka Oluwatoyin, who issued the directive, entitled: “Full Compliant of the use of Eko Refrigerated Meat Vans,” the step was taken because of the need to align the sector with international best practices and guide against any health challenges that may occur in the event of lack of proper monitoring.
He said, “In line with the Red Meat Value Chain and Meat Hygiene Law, Lagos State, on the 8th of August, 2017, banned the use of Old Air Cool Meat Vans outside the abattoir and all other unauthorised means of carrying prohibited meat within and outside all abattoirs , such as nylon bags rickety vehicles and motorcycles, Okada, to various designated meat markets across the state, effective from Tuesday, August 22, 2017.”
The Refrigerated Meat Vans, Daily Times gathered, which are common features on Lagos roads, are being financed by Fidelity Bank Plc through a partnership with the government.
Some of the stakeholders at Oko-Oba Abattoir and Lairage include Harmony Abattoir Services Limited, Mayetti Allah Cattle Dealers, Lagos Butchers, Ifelodun and Irepodun Associations, among others.
The Daily Times observed that following the directive, which has been complied with by the affected people, the usual uncoordinated activities of Okada riders had completely disappeared, while hoarding and road side trading in and around the Oko-Oba Abattoir, had vanished.
Investigations showed that, a special task force had been despatched to the complex by the ministry, in conjunction with the Police to effect the order, just as stern-looking policemen from the complex were noticed maintaining law and order.
Business operators at the complex, however expressed divergent opinions about the government’s latest order.
According to Mr. Sule Isa, an Okada rider, “The ban on Okada was bad. This is the only business we do to survive; no jobs, nothing. You can see so many young boys hanging around here.”
He said customers would go through difficulty, since they would have to trek long distances to get into the main complex, and when it rains, the whole place would be in a mess.
But, Mr. John Adewunmi, a customer, said there was the need to bring ‘sanity’ to the complex.
He said, it is “unhygienic to transport meat in open , rickety vans; you even see people carrying red meat on their heads, whereas, this is supposed to be a modern society.”
He said government should find better alternatives to those affected by the ban, so as to enable them to survive.
According to him, “If the government fails to do that, then, they will be breeding more social miscreants and armed robbers in Lagos, and across the country, which we can ill afford now.”
Meanwhile, revenue collection at the complex would be drastically reduced, following the ban, as Okada riders and hawkers, who pay levies and dues to some firms and associations in the complex would no longer do so.