Abuja’s Abattoirs Of Filth
Residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) enjoy eating many meat. But DAVID ADUGE-ANI in this report exposes the appalling state of abattoirs in the FCT, which will make some people think twice about eating meat anywhere in the nation’s capital
The stench immediately hits your nostrils several metres away as you approach the facility and progressively grows stronger to the point of nausea as you inch your way closer. Soon you are at the epicenter of the putrid cesspit – Karu Abattoir- with its warren of full, open gutters clogged with animal waste upon which wanton flies, large and small, whirl wildly.
Reputed to be the largest in the FCT, the Karu Abattoir is at Karu town, a suburb of Abuja in the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).
Although owned and managed by the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, this abattoir has no modern amenities to truly qualify it as one. Water vendors draw from a borehole and hand-dug wells in the premises for the butchers’ use. Because water is scarce and expensive at the facility, butchers here tend to watch their use of the commodity, sacrificing hygiene in the process.
Thus when LEADERSHIP WEEKEND called at the Karu abattoir, the butchers’ and their customers were reeling in animal waste dumped indiscriminately on the premises, with cow parts spread on the greenish dirty floor at the mercy of maggots and flies.
A butcher at the abattoir who simply gave his name as Adamu said: “You see, since we depend on water vendors for most of the washing and cleaning we do here. We are often forced to manage the little water we have. Most times we don’t have enough water, so we just wash the few things we can wash and wait for the next day”.
A meat dealer at the abattoir stated: “This is a very beautiful abattoir, if you compare it with other abattoirs in Abuja, but the problem is that the facilities here are not well maintained. We don’t have any other place to buy our meat, so we must come here,” he said.
The Dei-Dei abattoir, which is owned and managed by a private individual, also lacks pipe-borne water, which the butchers get from vendors drawing from a nearby well. A thick, horrible smell hung over the environment and it does not leave you until you make your way out and far away from the abattoir.
A customer, Mallam Hassan Yari, lamented the state of the abattoir, saying: “I don’t think the FCT administration realises the need for modern abattoirs. It is unfortunate that they have abandoned all the abattoirs in the territory thereby leaving consumers to buy meat from unhealthy environments. I won’t come here if I had a choice,” he said.
A similar situation exists at the Dei-Dei Abattoir in Bwari Area Council. Hundreds of cows are slaughtered daily on the stinking bare floor of this facility, upon which several colonies of flies hold sway. Meat parts for sale are also left lying on bare floor of the abattoir.
A meat seller who gave his name as Yahaya told LEADERSHIP WEEKEND that “although the owners of this abattoir are trying to keep the place clean every day, they need to do more because some of our customers are already complaining about the way the area looks.”
LEADERSHIP WEEKEND gathered that the task of cleaning the area was “contracted to some women who wash it on a daily base, but due to lack of pipe-borne water their efforts cannot be described as the best.”
The means of transporting meat from the slaughtering point to the sellers’ area at this abattoir also leaves much to be desired as chuncks of meat are hauled between both locations in carts, wheel barrows, rickety vehicles and, more appallingly, by porters using their heads or backs and leaving an unsightly trail of blood all over the premises.
Thick smoke also bellows behind the abattoir, produced by animal skin dealers using carcinogenic materials like tyres, which posed more hazards to all in the area.
The manager of the abattoir, who simply gave his name as Ibrahim, told LEADERSHIP WEEKEND: “If you even compare what we have here to other abattoirs in the territory, you would be surprised that we are doing our best in keeping this abattoir clean. You can visit other abattoirs and then make a comparison.”
Ibrahim however refused to speak further as he referred LEADERSHIP WEEKEND to the FCT authorities for further clarification on the issue.
An official of the FCT administration, who preferred to remain anonymous, agreed that all the abattoirs in the territory, including the one owned by the administration “are in a poor state and need urgent rehabilitation.”
“We know that the territory’s abattoirs lack modern facilities, but the administration is working towards putting up something better for the people of the FCT,” he said.
The official disclosed that the FCT minister would soon launch a N3 million ultra-modern private abattoir project in the territory.
“After that, other abattoirs in Abuja would be forced to key into similar designs and it would also serve as example for other investors in the abattoir business in the FCT,’’ he added.