Prof. Bello Agaie, the National President, Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA), has criticised local governments over poor handling of abattoirs and slaughter houses in the country.
Agaie told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that the councils had shirked their responsibility of proper management and operation of the facilities.
“One of the challenges we now have is that abattoirs and most of the slaughter houses by law have been returned to the local governments, and we all know how they operate in this country.
“Local governments do not have veterinary doctors. Usually, it is the state or federal government doctors that are posted to abattoirs to do the work.
“The man in the council is more interested in revenue generation. From each animal slaughtered he collects revenue that is his interest.”
NNN reports that most of the abattoirs and meat processing plants across the country are in poor state, in addition to ineffective meat inspection services.
This has become a major cause of concern to all stakeholders in the industry and the general public, who end up consuming unwholesome meat as a result.
Experts have linked the situation to the prevalence of communicable and zoonotic diseases such as Tuberculosis, Cysticercosis and Trichinoses, among others.
The NVMA president said the problem was compounded by “shortage of veterinary doctors” in the country and lack of enforcement of legislations guiding the practice.
“Across the country, there are states that do not have up to five vet doctors, yet they have many abattoirs and slaughter houses.
“In Rivers State for instance, there are just two veterinary doctors.
“With the number of abattoirs in Port Harcourt alone, can two vet doctors handle animals that are being slaughtered on a daily basis?
“We are not talking about other responsibilities like animal health management, quarantine services, laboratory diagnostic services, disease surveillance, among others.
“At the end of the day, it becomes very challenging to have an efficient system of checking some of these conditions we have been talking about,” Agaie added.
According to him, the dearth of professionals has opened the door to quacks, who operate without checks from relevant authorities due to failure in law enforcement.
Agaie said that for the nation’s quest for food security, safety and sufficiency to be realised, proper attention must be given to the veterinary practice.
He also advised tax revenues generated from abattoirs should be used exclusively to meet the cost of maintenance and operations.