The Special Offences Court in Alausa, Ikeja has sent three butchers to prison for allegedly operating illegal slaughter slabs at Ajegunle area of Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
The butchers are: Muhammed Sani, 30, Badru Olabode, 34, and Abdulkabir Opeloyeru, 25. They were arrested by officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, accompanied by taskforce officials.
The suspects were charged to court where they pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge levelled against. The charge border on operating illegal abattoirs and constituting environmental nuisance in the area.
The three accused were granted bail in the sum of N200,000 each, with two sureties each who must be gainfully employed in Lagos State, with three years evidence of tax clearance.
The butchers were sent to Badagry Prison when they could not immediately meet their bail conditions while the case was adjourned till 12 November, 2013.
The butchers were arrested on 16 August for operating illegal slaughter slabs while unwholesome meat was also impounded, including the head of a cow found to be infected with tuberculosis.
The meat was impounded at Ajegunle, Ajelogo and Alapere areas of Lagos where illegal slaughter slabs have been discovered.
The meat impounded was brought to taskforce headquarters while the three people arrested were arraigned in court for allegedly operating illegal slaughter slabs.
“The head of one of the cows butchered was said to be infected with tuberculosis,” said the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture and Cooperatives, Dr. Funsho Nuraini, saying that such meat could be very contagious and dangerous to health.
He lamented that there were several illegal slaughter slabs across the state and that government was doing all it could to get rid of them, saying that many of the meat butchers normally escape on citing government officials.
“Government has made several efforts to dissuade them from engaging in this sort of business. Most of them continued to slaughter animals illegally. At least, about 80 percent of them engage in this unwholesome practice.
“We have been making efforts to track them down through the supply chain. Our borders are very porous, at least, we have about 17 points where cattle are being taking to Lagos State from outside the country,” he said.
Taskforce Chairman, Bayo Sulaiman, a Chief Superintended of Police, stated that government had been meeting with market unions where butchers operate illegal slaughter slabs to warn them not to allow it in their market.
“Imagine Lagosians that will buy this kind of tuberculosis meat. The public should be careful not to patronize illegal slaughter slabs. They should go to the real abattoir to buy meat. We will continue to clamp down on them,” he said.