The ‘Katsina abattoir’, located opposite the Katsina central market along the popular Dutsinma road provides the meat needs of thousands of people in the state but regrettably, the abattoir is not hygienic as animals are butchered on the bare floor with filth littering the place.
Sources close to the slaughter slab (so called because animals are slaughtered and butchered on the bare floor), told LEADERSHIP SUNDAY that no fewer than 150 small animals (goats and sheep), an average of 20 cows and 20 camels are slaughtered every day.
LEADERSHIP SUNDAY observed that these animals slaughtered in the open and butchered on the floor without regard to sanitary conditions of the area as the butchers perform the job with no respect to hygienic rules.
Butchered animals’ meat and heaps of refuse 'scramble' for space in the ‘abattoir’ even as the harmattan wind and dust blow over both, obviously depositing germs on the meat. Indeed, were it possible for most meat users to visit the slaughter slab and see first hand how the meat is butchered, chances are that most would not eat meat.
Our correspondent observed that due to the lack of functional borehole in the area, butchers resort to patronizing the local water vendors- mairuwa who have become regular features of the slaughter arena. Ironically, the federal government's multi-million naira modern abattoir built in collaboration with the Katsina state government, and fitted with modern gadgets,is yet to be put to use. It is located few metres away from where the butchers currently ply their trade.
It was gathered that the modern abattoir, described by many as one of the best in the country, cost the government N55 million to be built. The federal government was said to have contributed N30 million, while the Katsina state government contributed the remaining N25 million.
Findings revealed that the abattoir which has two sections, one for camels and cows, and the other, for small animals like goats, sheep, has two cold rooms with the capacity of taking over one thousand carcasses. A provision had also been made for borehole in addition to a new 500 KVA generator to supply light in the case of public power failure.
One other interesting feature of the multi-million naira abattoir is its sizeable lair-age, an area meant to accommodate animals pending their examination and certification by specialists before being slaughtered.
However, almost two years after its completion, government has not commissioned it so as to enable the butchers put it to use thereby making it inevitable for the butchers to use the open space in an apparent defiance to the health risks associated with open slaughter and butcher operations.
Speaking to our correspondent, the chairman of the State Butchers association, Atawu Halle said members had no option but to use the open place since government had not provided an alternative.
He listed lack of water in the abattoir as the major problem confronting butchers and appealed to the state government to sink a borehole for them, noting, “we buy water every day as there is no source of water supply here” even as he stressed the need for urgent commissioning of the multi-million naira government abattoir so that butchering could be done in line with best global practices.
“Where we currently use is not ours. The owner has given us quit notice more than thrice. We still cannot fathom why despite the fact that this abattoir has been completed and we have seen it to be in order, government has still not commissioned it so we can move in it. We humbly appeal to the state governor to kindly come and commission this abattoir”.
“At the moment, we are endangering both our lives and those of our customers and indeed, all those who use meat butchered from this place. Some of our customers who come here and see how the place is, no longer patronize us”, Halle added.
However, the Katsina state commissioner for agriculture, Musa Adamu Funtua told LEADERSHIP SUNDAY that the government was waiting for the official handing over of the edifice to them by the federal government “before it can be put to use” and said that the state government had written to the federal government in that regard.
Funtua said; “Information at my disposal indicates that the two cold rooms are not fully in order and the state government has concluded plans to put them in order as well as fence the area for effective use,” adding that the state government has made budgetary provisions for the procurement and installation of “all the accompaniments that are not functional because the abattoir was designed to be automated and must operate as such”.
While urging the butchers to exercise patience for government to finalize modalities for the handing over and takeing over of the abattoir, Funtua challenged them to “ensure utmost sanitary condition of where they currently use, pending the official commissioning of the new abattoir”.