COVID-19: Lagos govt commences decontamination of animal markets

•To promote environmental health

Lagos State government at the weekend launched the Decontamination Exercise of Livestock/Live Bird Markets, Abattoirs and other Animal Related Areas in the state, saying it was committed to the promotion and advocacy of environmental health as environmental, human and animal health were inextricably linked and negative changes to the environment would ultimately harm human and animals due to COVID-19.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, gave the vow at the launch 3-week long exercise, in commemoration of this year’s World Veterinary Day celebration with the theme, “Environmental Protection for Improving Animal and Human Health.”

Lawal, who was represented by the Director, Veterinary Services Dr Rasheed Macaulay, at the semi-mechanized abattoir in Ikorodu, venue of the launch, stressed the roles of veterinarians as advocates of animal health and welfare by supporting the responsible use of natural resources, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change and assiduously working together to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 and other zoonotic diseases in the state.

“We are celebrating the World Veterinary Day and at the same time, commencing the flag- off of the decontamination of all abattoirs in the state, including the livestock and live bird markets in order to curtail the spread of COVID-19 as it is a zoonotic disease, originating from animals, and other zoonotic diseases of animal origin.

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“That is why we have taken it upon ourselves to decontaminate all animal areas in the state to commemorate the World Veterinary Day. This is a collaboration between the Veterinary Council of Nigeria and the Lagos State government,” he said.

The commissioner noted that the 3-week long continuous decontamination exercise would see to the decontamination of no fewer than 50 animal areas, including abattoirs, slaughter slabs, animal clinics as well as livestock and live bird markets.

Lawal, while noting that the exercise was not new to these areas, recalled that there were constant disinfection and decontamination of live bird markets across the state, adding that this had greatly influenced the fight against zoonotic diseases in Lagos.

“Even before this pandemic, the state government through the Ministry of Agriculture has been decontaminating all abattoirs, livestock markets and live bird markets across the state.

“It is not a one-off thing; it is going to be a continuous exercise. That is why we don’t experience any meat-borne disease in the state. It is because of the continuous decontamination and disinfection of all our abattoirs, live bird and livestock markets,” Lawal noted.

According to him, animal areas to be decontaminated include Ikorodu Abattoir, Sabo Cattle Market, Sabo Sheep and Goats Market, Owode Elede Sheep and Goats Market, Agege Abattoir, Agege Animal Market, Abattoir Second Gate Goats and Sheep Market, Ojokoro Sheep and Goats Market, Mangoro Sheep and Goats Market, Awolowo Live Bird Market, Mushin Main Live Bird Market, Cairo Live Bird Market, Bolade Live Bird Market (Arena), Olaleye Live Bird Market, Adebayo Live Bird Market, Ketu Live Bird Market, Mile 12 Live Bird Market, Surulere Clinics, Tejuosho Live Bird Market, Oyingbo Live Bird Market, Jankara Live Bird Market, Lagos Island; Pelewura Live Bird Market, Lagos Island; Animal Hospitals, Oja Oba Live Bird Market, Abattoirs 1 and 2 Live Bird Markets, Idera Live Bird Market, and Isaleoja Live Bird Market.

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Others are Adeniji Phase 2 Sheep Goats Market, Achakpo Semi- Mechanized Abattoir, Ajegunle Sheep and Goats Slab, Itire Slaughter House, Ejigbo Slaughter House, Matori Semi- Mechanized Abattoir, Alayabiagba Live Bird Market, Alaba Suuru Live Bird Market, Agboju Live Bird Market, Festac Live Bird Market, Ojo Cantonment Live Bird Market, Alaba Rago Live Bird Market, Okokomaiko Live Bird Market, Ejina Live Bird Market, Ikorodu; Sabo Live Bird Market, Ikorodu; Odongunyan Live Bird Market, Ikorodu; Ajah Veterinary Clinics, Ajah Live Bird Market, Sangotedo Live Bird Market, Epe Veterinary Clinics, T-Junction Sheep and Goats Market, Akodo Live Bird Market, Ibeju- Lekki; Arasi Live Bird Market, Epe; Ilaje semi-mechanized, Otto Awori Slaughter Slab, Igando Slaughter Slab, Badagry Veterinary Clinics, Agbalata Live Bird Market, Kabiyesi Olorun Cattle Market, Fibre Sheep and Goats Market and Agbalata semi-mechanized Abattoir.

Earlier, the President, Commonwealth Veterinary Association, Dr Olatunji Nasir, explained that this year’s event was unique in the sense that it related closely to the COVID-19 pandemic going on in the world right now, noting that without the health of the environment or the health of animals, human health cannot be guaranteed.

“The World Health Organization, (WHO), states that about 75% of human diseases are gotten from animals. So, we as veterinarians serve as an interface in trying to protect human beings from getting zooonotic diseases that are transmitted from animals to man.

“This is why we chose the abattoirs, livestock markets and live bird markets where they sell chicken to undertake the decontamination of these places because we know that these are places that are visited by multitudes of people; people are going to be consuming products that are coming from these areas so it is our social responsibility to make sure that we do this,” Nasir said.

He enjoined Lagosians to keep to the rules that health authorities had laid down, including maintaining social distancing, washing of hands, avoiding crowded places and above all maintaining good hygiene in the homes.

Chairman, Butchers’ Association of Nigeria, Ikorodu Division, Alhaji Taliatu Lawal, who spoke on behalf of the butchers and meat sellers, appreciated the efforts of the state government, even as he expressed his joy and gratitude for the decontamination exercise.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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