Despite protests by some members of the Oyo State butchers union, the state government said it will not rescind its decision to relocate all meat slabs to the central abattoir in Ibadan.
Some butchers had protested against the relocation to Amosun Village, citing insecurity and the challenges of transportation.
But the government assured that adequate security and transportation systems were in place for the sustenance of peace in the state, as well as to facilitate the ease of doing business.
The Executive Secretary, Oyo State Bureau of Investment Promotions and Public Private Partnership, Yinka Fatoki, in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday explained the government’s stance.
He said the decision to relocate to the central abattoir at Amosun village, Akinyele Local Government Area, was reached after a series of meetings and deliberations which led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the government and the National Butchers Union of Nigeria (NUBN), the umbrella body of the butchers.
Mr Fatoki said the state governor, Abiola Ajimobi, addressed various issues that were raised before the signing of the MoU.
He said the petition written by a few members of the union on insecurity was uncalled for as the government has reassured them of adequate security and “the MoU signed also addressed security issue.”
He noted that the state government was surprised by the actions of a few “disgruntled and recalcitrant” members of the butchers union and their resistance to government directives.
He said the government would not be deterred by “the fabricated excuses of insecurity to reverse its decision.”
According to Mr Fatoki, peace, security and safety are the foundations of the present administration in the state and the “interest of the general public supercedes that of a few members of the union.”
He added that the decision to move all abattoirs in Ibadan to the central abattoir was hinged on sanitary and health welfare of the people of Oyo State.
“The State Ministry of Agriculture had unlicensed all slabs or abattoirs in Ibadan for about two years (since 2014) on account of unsanitary circumstances of the major slaughter slabs at Bodija, Aleshinloye and Gege area among others,” he said.
“It was on this premise that the state government met several times with the butchers and the chairmen of the 11 Local Government Areas in Ibadanland to discuss the relocation to central abattoir and address issues raised.
“After the discussions, all parties agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that butchers in 11 LGAs of Ibadan should relocate to the central abattoir on the 4th of June 2018. On Monday, June 4, majority of the butchers moved amid fanrare and during the prayer session to commemorate the commencement of operations at the central abattoir, butchers represented by the South-west Coordinator of NUBN lauded the state government for the relocation, describing it as a welcome development and that the facility is the best both in Nigeria and Africa. It is now surprising that a few members of the union are proving recalcitrant.
“The present administration, being a responsible and responsive one, owes it a duty to protect its citizens against infection and diseases that can arise from unhygienic handling of meat. Hence, the steps to centralise abattoir operations by relocating them to the central abattoir with state of the art facilities that would be coordinated by professional veterinary officers to ensure that hygienic meat is produced for people’s consumption,” he said.
He also warned that government would not treat any individual who is bent on disrupting peace in the state with kid gloves.