From TONY JOHN Port Harcourt
The National Butchers Union of Nigeria (NBUN), Rivers State chapter, has raised the alarm over the smuggling of unapproved beef for consumption to serve members of the public in the State.
Assistant Public Relations Officer of the union in Rivers, Babajio Tanko, said some dealers have taken advantage of the closure of Trans-Amadi abattoir, by the state government to bring in unwholesome beef into the market.
Tanko said the beef transported into the State was not supervised by health officials, alleging that some already processed meat transported into the Rivers were preserved with chemical.
He expressed: “You see, due to the closure of Trans-Amadi abattoir, those people that we have been putting eyes on, are bringing in dead cows into the state.
They bring in donkeys, horses different kinds of meat that they killed in other states into Rivers State. The closure of the Trans-Amadi abattoir by Rivers State has encouraged them a lot because there is no one or authority to monitor them and control them again. They (dealers) would bring in poisonous meet rubbed with chemical into the state.
The Assistant Publicity Relations Officer of the union called on the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, to reconsider reopening the the popular Trans-Amadi Slaughter market to enable customers resume proper trading.
Tanko said life has not been easy for traders of Slaughter market 11 months ago, after the market was shut down by the state government.
He expressed: “The effect is not only on my people, but, also on Rivers people. Any dealer that could bring cow(s) into Rivers State, will like to sell it a exorbitant price. It would now be ‘you either buy, or leave’.
“So, when you look at it, you find out that it is very difficult to go and buy. This is because the Trans-Amadi Slaughter market is closed and the dealers that bring in cows cannot go to market because there is no place to offload the goods and no place to kill the cows”.
Meanwhile, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Fred Kpakol, has countered the statement credited to the Assistant Public Relations Officer of the union, Tanko, that the closure of Trans-Amadi abattoir led to the snuggling of uncertified cows into Rivers.
Kpakol, in a swift reaction to the claim, said the state government was committed to the health of residents of the state, adding that the Ministry of Agriculture has qualified veterinary doctors that ensure meat sold to Rivers residents is certified consumable.